Exciting news this month: Italian Art Nouveau expert Andrea Speziali says he has discovered the elevator that used to be installed in world famous Casa Batlló, Barcelona.
The elevator was located in a villa in Palermo (Sicily, southern Italy). Speziali explains that the original owner of this cabin was “a Spanish businessman who, during the Franco regime, stole many pieces of art, including the elevator.”
The materials of this exceptional elevator are reminiscent of the materials used in Casa Batlló; the blown glass, the scenic forms, colored decorations and joints are the same as those found in the house designed by Gaudí. The wood (mahogany) and internal flooring of the cabin correspond with the wood used for doors and windows of the building. And also the metals employed for the handles of the cabin are the same as those used in Casa Batlló. Speziali is therefore 100% sure that this cabin comes from Casa Battló, Barcelona.
According to Speziali, the elevator was built by the Spanish Fuster i Fabra brothers in the style of Casa Batlló. Several Italian and Spanish art experts and critics agree, that Gaudí commissioned the design to Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The Italian expert says that both the outside and the inside of a building, including the elevator, had basically always the same design in those days. And from below photo we can easily see what he means.
Speziali reported that the current owner of the cabin, a wealthy collector from southern Italy who acquired the cabin lift a few months ago from a private holder, had no idea of the origin of the cabin. He contacted Speziali to obtain his expertise. It was then that Speziali made a comprehensive study of a month and a half and viewed more than 30,000 photographs of Catalan Art Nouveau buildings from all over Barcelona and Spain. And no other home came, stylistically, closer to the design of the cabin than Casa Batlló.
Speziali admits that “although there are many factors leading to Casa Batlló, there is no physical evidence. We would need to find a photograph of the elevator in those days; but who has such a photograph?” He intends to contact those responsible at Casa Batlló to verify the authenticity of the elevator.
Sources at Casa Batlló confirmed they have heard about Speziali regarding this issue and agreed that the decorations “really closely resemble the stained glass on the main floor” but that, however, “the wood is a little different from the wood Gaudí used”. The source added that this does not rule out the possibility that the elevator originates from Casa Batlló, but it would help if he had the exact measurements of the cabin.