Nicole Jewel from Interior Design Training is our honorary guest writer on CoolBoom.net, who is going to share with us some extraordinary protects, starting with the Caixa Forum in Madrid.
Madrid is an easy city to love. It’s got a great climate, active nightlife, fantastic cuisine and rich history. But I always feel as if it is missing a little something. What would that be? The striking beauty of other European capitals.
I don’t mean that Madrid is ugly. It’s got more than its fair share of old world charm and yes, it certainly meets the qualifications of a great European city. Ornate fountains? Check. Magnificent cathedrals? Check. Majestic palaces? Check. However in comparison to other European capitals, Madrid is a little lacking in the classic beauty department. It just doesn’t have that romantic glow of Paris, the sexy pulse of Rome, or the shiny vitality of Berlin.
But Madrid does have is its own unique, artistic style; an understated type of polish and refinement that makes it an enchanting city. Yes, Madrid has its visitor landmarks which you should definitely see. But the secret behind the city is that Madrid is filled with hidden treasures of beautiful plazas, gardens, and architectural gems. You just have to know where to look.
One such hidden jewel is the Caixa Forum along Madrid’s Paseo del Prado. Heavily overshadowed by its famous neighbors in the Golden Triangle of Madrid’s world renowned Prado and Thyssen- Bournemisza museums, the Caixa Forum is on a nondescript little corner that is easily missed.
At one time a power station in the late 19th century, the Herzog & de Meuron architecture studio began a seven-year renovation of the building in 2001. The Caixa Forum opened in 2007, having been completely transformed. The industrial exterior was restored entirely by hand and is almost completely original, aside from the concrete base that surrounded the previous building.
After taking in the beauty of its angular, rusted steel façade, you might notice that the building appears to be hovering. Yes, it floats above ground gently daring visitors to enter its dark and sinister underbelly. And of course, just to further confound the senses, this enigma of a building is settled adjacent to one of Patrick Blanc’s living walls. It’s really an attractive display of contrasting designs between modern rehabilitation and natural growth.
With seven floors and over 8,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Caixa Forum was designed to be a “live space”. In stark contrast to its outward appearance, the building’s interior is modern and glossy. The first floor features dramatic neon lighting, creating the impression of a futuristic cinema house. Different levels are connected by a brilliant white staircase, leading to large, spacious rooms that house a variety of classic, modern, and contemporary art. The space also offers a multimedia library, and an auditorium for concerts, poetry festivals, and educational workshops.