- Open Air
A mosaic by the versatile avant-garde Joan Miró has decorated the pavement of the Ramblas since 1976.
Joan Miró was one among the major abstract Surrealist artists to achieve international recognition. Painter, sculptor, illustrator, and designer, his works are essentially abstract, although they often feature different figurative elements which lend them an added symbolic value.
In 1968, he was commissioned to create a mural for the Barcelona Airport, which the artist wanted to complement with two additional works, so that he could help the city welcome visitors arriving by land, sea, and air. The airport mural took care of air travel; the sculpture Woman and Bird, installed in the Joan Miró Park, welcomed visitors arriving by land; and the mosaic on the Rambla was designed to welcome those traveling by sea.
The mosaic can be found in the Plaza de la Boquería, in the heart of the Rambla, and was executed by ceramicist Joan Gardy Artigas, with the collaboration of Escofet studios. It was inaugurated on December 30, 1976 by mayor José María Socías.
The work is made of terrazzo tiles created with a mixture of white cement dyed with crushed glass, and takes the shape of an irregular circle measuring 8 meters in diameter. Its principal colors are white, black, blue, red and yellow. As per Miró’s instructions, its surface was not coated with any protective layer, and so it’s stepped on countless times daily by pedestrians, just like any other piece of pavement. That said, it’s suffered no major damage, due to the excellent natural qualities of the materials.
The site was tragically witness to the Jihadist terrorist attack that took place on August 17, 2017, which killed 13 people and injured hundreds. In the days after the attack, Miró’s mosaic was covered in flowers and memorials laid by the people of Barcelona to remember and honor the victims.