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Impressions: Xavier Corberó’s surreal Catalonian estate

Rarely are buildings considered self portraits of their creators. One of the few exceptions to this rule is Xavier Corberó’s estate in Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona – an exquisite example of a structure that directly reflects the artist who imagined it. This edifice became a home to Corberó as well as a residence to countless artists, and throughout decades of continual development it evolved into an idealised form. Its very existence shows the illustrative possibilities of architecture and the magnetism of art lived in. 

Corberó was born in 1935, just preceding the years of Spanish Civil War, and grew up in a family of metalworkers and silversmiths in Catalonia. His childhood experience of Catalonia and his families ties to artists informed his direction as a sculptor and eventually came to inspire his decision to acquire the property on the outskirts of Barcelona. An eternally curious individual, Corberó’s crumbling masia is a tireless exploration of structural limits; moreover, his friendship with surrealists such as Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp can be seen to inform his kaleidoscopic and ethereal composition. Nine pre-existing facades have been revived and now form a labyrinth of rooms, studios, galleries, workshops and living spaces that attest to Corberó’s philosophy that everything worth creating should attempt toward poetry. 

Though we can’t all inhabit Corberó’s sublime estate, in considering his creative philosophy we can transfer elements of poetry and self portraiture into our own homes. His mantras encourage us to think of things in themselves – objects should not be “reasonable” but spring forth from life itself. In Corberó’s estate this is exemplified in the rays of light that dance through the windows and the vast rooms filled with sculptural forms and chairs placed just so, for their essential poetry. Although Corberó’s structures are surreal they are grounded in the natural – their materials and colors tie them to the surrounding landscape – and so his creations feel simultaneously familiar and foreign. To find objects that allow you to live more dynamically in your space is to live as Corberó did. 

Hero Image Credit: Salva López
"An eternally curious individual, Corberó’s crumbling masia is a tireless exploration of structural limits. "