As one of Antonio Gaudí's most famous (and enigmatic) houses, Casa Batlló has now inspired a work of art that will go up for auction in May, in the form of an NFT created by the Turkish-American multimedia artist, Refik Anadol. It could fetch a seven-figure sum.
At the end of the 19th century, the industrial revolution led to the emergence of a new bourgeoisie in Barcelona. Josep Batlló, a rich textile industrialist, was part of that rising class. He acquired a building along the Passeig de Gràcia, which he asked Gaudí to renovate. The Catalan architect transformed it into a marine-inspired work of art, with a façade that combines stone, glass and ceramics.
The digital work "Casa Batlló: Living Architecture" pays tribute to the modernist and fanciful building designed by Gaudí. Refik Anadol created it using climate data from the city of Barcelona collected in real time and by showing ephemeris being celebrated on the building's façade. "Gaudí is an amazing inspiration for any creator, and Casa Batlló a dream work to dive into. From its organic architecture, inspired in nature, to the smallest details on its many mosaics, it is a privilege to reinterpret such an alive legacy and bring it to the 21st century, guided by Artificial Intelligence," the Turkish-American artist explained in a statement.
"Casa Batlló: Living Architecture" will be auctioned on May 10, at Christie's upcoming New York 21st century evening sale. This is the first time that a UNESCO World Heritage Site will go under the hammer in the form of an NFT, according to the auction house. It is estimated to fetch between £1 million and $2 million.
However, bids could rise quickly, according to Beatriz Ordovas, head of Christie's post-war and contemporary art department for the Iberian region. "It is a pleasure [for] Christie's to present this groundbreaking work by Refik Anadol, one of the leading digital artists in the space, in collaboration with Casa Batlló," she said. "La ‘Casa Batlló : Living Architecture' not only brings a new vibrant experience for the viewer but it has also created a new narrative in the NFT world. "
Before going under the hammer, "Casa Batlló: Living Architecture" will go on public display on April 30 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The people of Barcelona will also be able to see it on May 7 at Casa Batlló, 43 Passeig de Gràcia.