Antoni de Moragas i Gallissà
Moragas was one of the major promoters of the renovation that Spanish architecture underwent in the postwar years. He created pioneer objects of modernity, pieces now considered classics of design. Antoni de Moragas Gallissà was born, studied, and worked as an architect in Barcelona, at a time of intellectual backwardness and material shortage. In 1949, some professionals interested in getting in touch with the European and American avant-garde created Club 49. That same year, the Architect’s Association of Catalonia invited Italian architect Alberto Sartoris to give a lecture, and called a competition with the aim of finding ideas on how to solve the housing problem. These circumstances gave rise to the development boom that led to the rapid development of design in Spain in the following years. Moragas won the above mentioned competition with other colleagues. This competition made him aware of the economic and political issues that the housing problem involved. He then began an architectural and designing activity that was really aware of such problems, through various institutions, like the Architects’ Association or the FAD.
Moragas created Grupo R with some colleagues, with the intention of undertaking a reform of Barcelona’s architecture. In 1957, they started to make the first contacts to promote industrial design in this city. In 1960, after an unsuccessful attempt, Moragas and others such as Miguel Milá, André Ricard, Bohigas, Cirici Pellicer, Manel Cases, and Rafael Marquina founded the ADI-FAD (Industrial Design Association), a section of the FAD, of which Moragas was the first president. He also began to assume other collective responsibilities, and wrote articles on modern architecture, such a “Diez años del Grupo R de arquitectura” or “Revisión de valores” (gathered in the first volume of Santa & Cole’s Design Classics collection.)A brilliant architecture, Moragas also did some industrial and furniture design, which can be seen in his project for the competition to dignify popular housing (1954); in his own house (1957), with the Moragas standing lamp, armchair and pouf; in the Architects’ Association of Catalonia, with the Moragas table lamp; or in the furniture at the Brusi-San Elías building in Barcelona (1967-1970).
As for his architectural projects, some of the most outstanding are the reform of the Fémina, Kursaal, Arenas, Spring and Liceo movies theaters, and various livings in Barcelona.Moragas assumed the principles of Rationalism, that he softened with an architectural organicism in order to give warmness to the relationship between form and use. His pieces are nowadays considered classic pieces of design. When planning them, Moragas already thought of their industrial production, even though at the time they were only made in limited series for concrete clients that came to him because they could not find commercial models that adjusted to their new ideas. “Crafts have died and given space to Design. Craftsmen modeled following their instinct, while industrial designers plan according to reason,” he wrote in 1961 in his Cuadernos. Más información: www.antonidemoragas.com