L’Auditori de Barcelona restores Rafael Moneo’s lantern, which contains murals by Pablo Palazuelo. The project includes replacing the glass panes in the structure, as some have been damaged and the panes need to be modified to comply with current building regulations. Work began on 1 February and is expected to be completed in September.
When all the glass has been replaced, the mural paintings will be restored. With the support of Barcelona City Council’s Directorate for Heritage Resources and following the guidelines laid down by the Pablo Palazuelo Foundation, great care has been taken to ensure that the paintings are a faithful reproduction of the original work, from mapping the lines that define the work to a laboratory analysis of paint samples, with painstaking research into the documentation detailing the construction of the building, so that the same system of painting can be used.
As part of the project, the lighting system will be modernised with more sustainable LED lighting and conservation work will be carried out on the stripped metal framework.
La Llanterna is a focal point in L’Auditori de Barcelona. Conceived as a monologue in a setting where there was no possibility of dialogue, the lantern is the brilliant result of the autonomy and intimism that underlie Rafael Moneo’s project. Rising in the hollow centre of the building it acts as a hub between the two concert halls and the Museu de la Música, which share a single external foyer.
La Llanterna is also the result of cooperation between two exceptional artists: architect Rafael Moneo, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and painter, sculptor and engraver Pablo Palazuelo, winner of the National Award for Plastic Arts. This is their second joint project, after the lobby of the Bankinter building in Madrid, and comprises a series of mural paintings on eight sheets of glass, suspended from the main structure of the L’Auditori building. With its vertical rhythm and crystallographic appearance, it contrasts with the discrete modernity of the rest of the building.
The maximum budget for this project is 1,123,000 euros (including VAT). Work is being funded by a subsidy from the Government of Catalonia’s Ministry of Culture and a contribution from Barcelona City Council’s Municipal Investment Plan.
While work was in progress, plastic artists Eloise Gillow, Mina Hamada and Carla Fuentes have produced three large murals on the walls surrounding the site, based on the trilogy of themes in the current L’Auditori seasons: Creation (2020-21), Love and Hate (2021-22) and Death or Return (2022-23).
As well as work on the lantern, other improvements are being made in L’Auditori’s infrastructure and measures to increase sustainability are being introduced: the heating and air-conditioning system is being changed, internal and external lighting is being replaced by LED lights, and solar panels are being installed on the roof of the building.
L’Auditori, the work of architect Rafael Moneo, was built between 1990 and 1999. During this period, Palazuelo experimented with calligraphy designs incorporating lines that extended to the edges of the page. For the eight glass panels in the lantern, the painter developed a complete family of graphic designs, reticulated repetitions that he named “Concert”. They are the result of a series of mutations that give rise to a set of light coloured oblique interwoven lines of varying thickness, ordered by the use of indigo shading. Although it was originally proposed that the lines should be metal strips, it was finally decided that lacquered paint should be used.
The design was centred on the transition area between the two large blocks containing the concert halls, an open, quadrangular space with huge glass panels. Although Palazuelo’s work is bounded by this space, it transcends the walls and transforms the suspended, diagonally displaced glass case into a jewel, a beacon that pays tribute to music.
Aleix Palau | 28 April 2022
The works will be completed this summer and will restore the original appearance of this unique architectural feature.
Three temporary murals by artists Eloise Gillow, Mina Hamada and Carla Fuentes surround the lantern and will remain in place while work is in progress.