Travels

The noucentista architect who designed furniture for independent women

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Facade of the Masó House in Girona on the Onyar River

In Gaudí's shadow it is not easy to make a name as an architect, and even more difficult is if most of your works are concentrated in the same town. But when the town is Gerona and you are as tenacious and multifaceted as Rafael Masó Valentí, the one that was your home, renovated and furnished with your own designs, ends up becoming the Masó House Museum, one of the most exclusive in the city.

And it is not that Rafael Masó (1880-1935) suffered with resignation the comparisons, in the execution of his works, with the master of the Sagrada Familia (Barcelona) or the Capricho de Gaudí (Comillas). On the contrary, he shared with the universal Catalan the repudiation of Modernism or Art Noveau and its rupture with the values, reinterpreted, yes, of the past with the integration of both men in Novecentismo or Noucentisme.

Cultured, Catalan, Catholic and modern, with a journalist father, Rafael Masó's family was the perfect breeding ground for the second of eleven brothers to face the beginning of the 20th century with renewal ideals in the discipline he loved most, architecture.

Biography and context of Rafael Masó, Casa Masó, Gerona

Rafael Masó, who with his poems, drawings and engravings would have been a Renaissance man having been born a few centuries before, searched all his works recover crafts traditions (in materials and designs) and join them to Europeanist tendencies (indoors).

That is why if we want see how one lived in a bourgeois house of 1920, how the spirit of Novecentismo permeated the glass of a lamp, then we will have to visit one of the buildings whose back is probably the most beautiful looking towards the Onyar River, the Masó House in Gerona.

The property exceeds in complication what we imagine, because it is composed of the union of four of the narrow buildings that are in the precarious space between the city wall and the river, in the Carrer de les Ballesteries. If we place ourselves in it, at the height of the number 29, and look up, the puzzle that Rafael Masó had to assume the work (which he carried out in several phases between 1910 and 1918) becomes clear that there are five different heights on the rooftops we have in front.

Dining room, Casa Masó, Girona

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