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Enric Miralles’ unmade designs brought to life at last

An exhibition of furniture in Barcelona honours the talent of architect Enric Miralles, and brings new life to treasures from the past.

Enric Miralles’ unmade designs brought to life at last

A special exhibition, MIRALLES. Perpetuum Mobile at the Disseny Hub in Barcelona pays homage to Catalan architect, Enric Miralles. The exhibition promoted by the Fundació Enric Miralles with the support of the Barcelona City Council and the Generalitat de Catalunya, marks the 20th anniversary of the celebrated architect’s death.

Curated by his wife Benedetta Tagliabue and Joan Roig i Duran along with collaborators, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT architecture studio, the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura (ETSAB) and the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC), the exhibition showcases a lesser-known side of the architect, that as furniture designer.

As an architect in practice with his wife Benedetta Tagliabue, their practice, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, has achieved much success through myriad projects that include the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, the Utrecht City Hall in The Netherlands and the Renovation of the Market and neighbourhood of Santa Caterina among many others, and Tagliabue continues today creating outstanding design around the globe.

Photo by Giovanni Zanzi

MIRALLES. Perpetuum Mobile comprises of more than 20 pieces that also include sketches, photographs and unfinished Miralles’ designed lamps. Nine furniture pieces have been re-created with the help of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and reproduced in a selection of sustainable American hardwoods donated by AE Maderas.

Tagliabue searched through personal archives for Miralles original drawings for authentic reproduction of the furniture. The original designs have remained virtually the same, with just a few technical updates such as new hinges and connections for some of the pieces. The originals were made in timber however, for this exhibition, the designs have been interpreted through four underused American hardwood species –red oak, maple, cherry and tulipwood.

Photo by Mariluz Vidal

Many of the pieces were designed for the couple’s own home, an old warehouse in Barcelona, where walls were removed to leave a large open space. Miralles envisaged their home to be a ‘house in motion’ where there was no established place for furniture, so that movement would occur as requirement dictated and, as many of the furniture pieces also change shape, there is total flexibility of form and use. During the search for documentation a notebook was discovered with the drawing of a table that was never manufactured. Named Mistery, it is now included in the exhibition, produced for the very first time.

Photography by various

Photo by Lluc Miralles

Photo by Lluc Miralles

Photo by Lluc Miralles

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