Great coffee table books on Barcelona
Do you love displaying travel coffee table books at home? Coffee table books are a beautiful way to decorate the house, and provide moments of relax, beauty and joy, plus lots of interesting conversation opportunities. Specially when you have guests at home, they can be a wonderful ice breaker. So when I travel I try to buy one or two from my favorite destinations to add to my collection.
During my tours, my guests often have a quick look at them in the gift shops (here are my favorite museum shops, btw) but most of the time they won’t buy because they are so heavy to carry. Instead, more and more often they tell me they’ll be buying them on Amazon when they come back. And that gave me the idea for today’s post.
These are our favorite travel coffee table books about Barcelona:
Barcelona Atlas of Architecture
Barcelona is a city famous for its architecture. Gaudi’s architecture, of course, but also the works of his fellow competitors of the Modernism trend (among them Puig i Cadafalch and Domenech i Muntaner) that would have become the must-see if Gaudi had never existed. And what about the wonderful gems of the Gothic times such as the elegant lines of Santa Maria del Mar?
Plus after the Olympic Games in 1992 the city has clearly chosen to become an attraction pole for international contemporary architects, with the addition of new landmarks like the controversial AGBAR tower by Jean Nouvel, as well as projects by other well-known architecture stars such as Toyo Ito, Arata Isozaki, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and an interesting group of emergent young Spanish promises. This book covers all of them an more. A must-have coffee table book for any architecture lover. Available on Amazon (tip: the older issue is more affordable).
Barcelona (by Berta Marsé)
The perfect Barcelona coffee table book for photography lovers. The author has compiled a selection of pictures dating from 1870 when Modernism and the Industrial Revolution were starting to shape a new Barcelona, all the way to modern times, by some of the best photographers of all times: Cartier-Bresson, Erwitt, Avedon, Koudelka, Newton and Parr, as well as Spanish icons such as Catala-Roca, Colita, Pomés and Masats.
A unique way to go through over a century of Barcelona history and architecture through the curious eye of the best photography artists. Get it on Amazon here.
Catalunya Vista desde el Cielo (Catalonia seen from the sky)
Photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand offers one of the best bird eye overviews of Catalonia, approaching different aspects of the local geography, architecture and culture always from very unique points of view. Spectacular architecture, beautiful natural landscapes and even traditions such as the Castellers (human castles, learn more about them in this other post).
The texts written by Ramon Folch are both in Spanish and English. A book that will definitely make you want to come back and explore more of our beautiful land. Available on Amazon.
Spain (Exploring Countries of the World)
Maybe you were on a trip around Spain (or part of it) and you want to have a good memory of all the amazing places you visited? Look no further: this book will be the perfect choice to close your eyes and be back for a moment in Seville, Madrid, Bilbao or of course Barcelona, and to discover many more areas that will entice you to plan a second trip.
A fascinating journey trough the Iberian landscapes, culture and traditions that will show you the variety of a country that many identify with just some poor stereotypes. Get in on Amazon here.
Tapas: and other Spanish plates to share
And here is one recommendation for foodies! Because isn’t it that food is a very important part of the travel experience? I love trying new dishes, and if I can, making them at home again to bring back my memories from that trip. I love the pictures in this book that make my mouth water every time I look at it.
Plus it comes with a selection of over 100 recipes, some easier than other, some more traditional, some more innovative, but all delicious. Here is the most recent version on Amazon (there are older versions but the price difference isn’t specially remarkable).
AND BONUS! Is there any coffee table book about Gaudi I recommend? Here is a very important warning:
Best Gaudi Coffee Table Books
Not all the Gaudi coffee table books are equal, and actually some of them can be quite disappointing. And the reason is that the inside of the Sagrada Familia church, Gaudi’s masterpiece, wasn’t finished until November 2010. So any book published (or not updated) since before that date won’t be showing you pictures of the inside of the church. And quite a lot of them haven’t been really updated since then!
This is why here I must say that even if classics like Gaudi: The Complete Buildings by Rainer Zerbst and Antonio Gaudi: Master Architect by Bassegoda i Nonell have great covers and they will look so nice on your coffee table… I don’t recommend them anymore.
I’d totally go for the smaller paperback of Gaudi: Introduction to his Architecture from Triangle Editions, from 2011 (beware! there’s a hard cover with the same picture and texts by Eduardo Cirlot but it’s from 2002!).
Do you buy coffee table books when you travel or do you order them online?
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