Although this early work of Gaudí's can only be viewed from the outside, the exuberance of its facade and form makes the trip well worth it. The architect accepted the commission for a summer residence from the tile manufacturer Manuel Vicens i Montaner in 1883, making the Casa Vicens one of the first examples of Art Nouveau not only in Barcelona but in the whole of Europe.
Since the house was designed to be an exponent of Señor Vicens's business, the entire facade is covered with florid, vividly colored tiles. At the time, Gaudí was deeply influenced by North African and Middle Eastern architecture, and this can be seen in the building's form. Its overall opulence and exoticism, with minarets and corbels, is reminiscent of the Indian Raj style. Inside, Ottoman, Koranic, and Andalucian influences can also be seen in eccentric touches such as the Turkish-style smoking room. The residence, on a narrow Gràcian street, is owned by descendants of Vicens and still a private home (although they seem to have no objections to camera-flashing tourists). The interior, however, has been well photographed and is always featured in books on the architect.