The distinctive designs of modernist architect Antoni Gaudi can be seen all over Spain, and are admired and studied by artists, architects, and the general public alike. His passions were distinctive in his creations, but arguably his love of nature and organic, fluid design is the most visually obvious influence in his work.
In 1905 while staying in Lillet to build the chalet of Catllaràs, Gaudi was the guest of a textile magnate who owned the magnificent estate Font de la Magnèsia. When the chalet was finished, he decided to reward his host for the hospitality by designing him his own Gaudi masterpiece, the Artigas Gardens.
Never one to lean towards minimalism, Gaudi went all out with his generous parting gift. Integrated with the natural environment, the gardens were rife with his signature style – intricate stone work, organic catenary arches, Christian symbolism and the obligatory artificial grotto. A winding path took visitors through the gardens like an inanimate tour guide, delivering the guest up to overlooks, down and across bridges, and around corners to a stone fountain. Statues depicting symbols from the four gospels created the shape of a cross, and one path took the form of entwined snakes.
In the early 1970's, the gardens were all but abandoned, but the Reial Catedra Gaudi supervised a restoration and the area, now owned by the municipality, is open for the public to enjoy.