I really love text. I love it because I love words and stories and poetry. I love big ideas concisely and precisely evoked through the choice of exactly the right images, the right words. But I also love text visually. I love typography and the extension of typography into art, from advertising design to graffiti.
One of my favourite features of la Sagrada Familia is the set of doors you pass through as you enter the church. They are metal doors, hand-carved in Catalan with the story of Christ (at least, I think that is the story, as I don’t read Catalan), the words a perfectly imperfect texture both bold and modern, and artisanally human at the same time.
It’s hard to live in Barcelona without falling, at least a little, for the architect, Antoni Gaudí. The first time I saw la Sagrada Familia, it didn’t have a roof. The center of the nave was filled with scaffolding that rose and rose and became its own sort of ceiling, from which showers of sparks rained down as the workers hammered and filed and cut and constructed. The floor was littered with pieces of mosaic that were tagged and waiting to be assembled somewhere in the arches above.
Three years later, I had the chance to visit again. Though it is still under construction, the interior is enclosed and, I think, mostly complete.
Gaudi’s vision is astounding and beautiful. There are few interior spaces so large, so filled with the soft brilliance of natural light. Spaces so open to whatever you hold sacred.