October 28, 2008

Mies (van der Rohe) In the Rain.

Now YOU have seen pretty much the whole pavilion too

The Barcelona Chair...not for sitting though!

Let me give you some advice if you are ever in Barcelona on a rainy day and are looking for a museum to see. Do not go to the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavillion. I repeat, do not go. If you are looking for a big building to walk around in and absorb some artwork and forget the rainy world around you outside do not go to the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion.

During college I took an industrial design class and learned about Mies van der Rohe and thought his work was interesting at the time so upon reading my Barcelona guidebook (thanks Mom & Dad!) which has every museum and sight possible to see here in this city I noticed there was (what I thought) a Mies Van Der Rohe museum. Well, it is not a museum. It is not a place to go when it is raining. It does not take more than 2 minutes to walk through. The chairs right upon entering the pavillion are NOT to be sat in even if it looks like a lobby; van der Rohe designed the “Barcelona Chair”,see photo above. It does have a good, but small, bookstore but with only one chair. And not a Barcelona Chair at that.

I don’t want to sound bitter because the idea of the Pavillion I think is a good one. It was a recreation/rebuild of the pavilion Mies van der Rohe designed for the International Expo here in Barcelona in 1929 and in the 80s was put back in it’s original location. Also, from what I have read, it is considered a great development in architectural style at the time and was also his last work before he moved to the US.

The Pavillion literally consists of a few straight marble walls sort of making one room, a sculpture (see above), a little pool of pebbles, and that’s it. I started laughing when I walked out of what I thought was just the entrance and realized that no, this was it. And that I was outside yet again. And could have really saved my 2Euros and really seen most of it from the entrance.

I am all for great architecture and maybe if I had known it would be pretty much ONE room then I would have had lower expectations but I went there in the rain thinking I could spend a couple of hours checking out some great pieces of three-dimensional work. Alas, I just spent 15 minutes in the bookstore reading a fantastic Barcelona-based design magazine I had never heard of and now can't remember the name.

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