The Pedrera coffee table is one of the Danish company Gubi’s hit products. Its modern design seems entirely up to date, but the name reveals something completely different in its background. The coffee table was designed in 1955 in one of Antoni Gaudí’s most famous buildings in Barcelona.
THE AIRY AND SCULPTURAL shape of the Pedrera coffee table is an impressive sight from every angle. The table, designed by the Spanish architect and designer Barba Corsini (1916–2008) in 1955, consists of a steel frame and a glass top with flowing contours. Corsini designed the table in the loft of the Casa Milà building, also known as La Pedrera, which was designed by Antoni Gaudí. Corsini designed the table for the renovated apartments of the building, for which he was chief architect from 1953 to 1955.
The story of Casa Milà began much earlier, however. Antoni Gaudí designed the house for a wealthy Barcelona couple, Pere Milà and Roser Segimón. Construction work began in 1906 and was completed six years later. The decorative and wavy facade of Casa Milà stirred conflicting feelings in the locals at first and came to be called La Pedrera, meaning quarry. The Milà family lived on the main floor of the building and rented out the other apartments and facilities.
Barba Corsini was commissioned to design a total of 13 individual apartments for the loft space of Casa Milà.
After becoming a widow, Roser Segimón sold Casa Milà to the Immobiliària Provença real estate company in 1946. The company later decided to convert the loft spaces of the building into apartments, and so they contacted Barba Corsini in 1953. He was commissioned to design a total of 13 individual apartments for the loft space of the building, which up until then had served as a warehouse and laundry room.
Corsini was also responsible for the interior design of the apartments. Corsini is said to have drawn inspiration for the undulating design of the steel frame of the Pedreda coffee table from the vaulted ceiling of the building. The shape of the steel frame is also repeated in the Pedrera floor lamps designed for the apartments. Their perforated screens were inspired by the cylindrical chimneys of Casa Milà.
In 1984, Casa Milà was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is now a popular place to visit on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona. The alternative name of the building, La Pedrera, is still used. The building changed owners in 1986 when the local bank Caixa Catalunya bought the building and began restoring it to its former glory. Today, there is an exhibition in the loft of Casa Milà where you can learn about Antoni Gaudí.
The Pedrera coffee table and luminaires are nowadays in Gubi's collection.
The Danish company Gubi launched the Pedrera coffee table in 2010, and the floor lamp designed by Barba Corsini was also included in the collection. The collection was curated with architect Joaquim Ruiz Millet, who had begun working with Corsini in the early 1990s. Millet had at that time visited the Casa Milà renovation site and rescued a lamp designed by Corsini. After his visit, Millet contacted Corsini and suggested a redesign of the lamp.
The aim of their collaboration was to preserve and make Corsini’s lighting designs known to future generations. In 2011, Gubi’s Pedrera collection also included the H20 table lamp designed by Millet and Corsini, and the ABC table lamp designed by Millet.
Who: Barba Corsini
- Barba Corsini (1916–2008) was a Spanish Functionalist architect.
- Graduated as an architect from the School of Architecture in 1943 in Barcelona and founded his own architectural firm in 1945.
- Responsible for the renovation and interior design of the lofts of the Casa Milà building (La Pedrera) from 1953 to 1955, which also won several international awards. The building was designed by Antoni Gaudí.
- Corsini’s major inspirations were the architects Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright.
- He also greatly appreciated the simplified and clear-lined Finnish architecture.
Text: Elina Tuokko Images: Gubi and Francesc Català Roca / Galeria H2O