In my first feature on an icon of mid century modern design I decided to eschew the more obvious choices (we can come back to the big names later don’t worry) and focus on a lesser known architect and designer. Having lived in Sitges near Barcelona for the last 7 years we are taking a hiatus and are back in the UK while my daughter goes to sixth form college in Brighton. While it’s fun to explore our lovely new city, we are missing our beloved home in the sun very much. And it was while living there that I came across the work of a wonderful mid century modern Catalan architect called José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat.
Born in Barcelona in 1913, José was the eldest son of the head engineer at the Port of Barcelona. In 1942 he set up his own architecture office in Barcelona and initially worked on several holiday residences in Sitges. He gradually became more committed to the new modern style of architecture. In 1951 he designed the Ugalde House in Caldes d’Estrac and this was a milestone in the development of his unique aesthetic and the first that channelled his own take on the mid century modern landscape. It seems to emerge organically from the landscape and capitalises on the stunning coastal views from it’s privileged position overlooking the bay.
In 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright singled out Corderch as the most interesting architect working in Spain; high praise indeed!
It was around this time he designed the pumpkin like DiSA lamp. He said of it: “The main problem for us was the project of an ambient light lamp. Once it was made, we saw that the light that it produced gave intimacy and resembled a hearth fire” You can buy one today – for €752.62 – here.
During the 1960’s many more houses followed in his typical style which only grew stronger and more defined.
“This is a house designed to live all year round. The terrain was very complicated due to its unevenness. The house’s highlight is its utmost adaptability to the terrain” wrote Coderch about the Güell House, and the fabulous news is the Güell House is available to rent for holidays on Airbnb.
Or perhaps you are so sold on the work of Corderch that you’re ready to commit and buy a house? If that’s the case take a look at this one in a gorgeous location near Tarragona. It feels just like the French Riviera here – think pine trees and rocky coves – and this house sits just above a beautiful beach. Currently on sale for €850,000 here
Hope you liked the works of the lesser known mid century modern architect from Catalonia, JOSÉ ANTONIO CODERCH DE SENTMENAT. I recommend a trip to Catalonia to learn more!