Penguins meet and greet

(Penguins and art, no linguistic content to speak of.)

On the Plain of Teak at Ramona St., the presiding penguin, La Púrpura, greets the newest resident, Pingüino Gaudí:


La Púrpura was brought to Jacques and me in December 1985 by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky when we arrived at the beginning of my time in Linguistics at Stanford, a winter quarter we rented space in a house on Allardice Way in the faculty ghetto (before we found the condo on Ramona St. in downtown Palo Alto).

Pingüino Gaudí is the latest spheniscid arrival, brought all the way from Barcelona by Ned Deily and Lars Ingebrigtsen. He was created by the Barcino Designs company in Barcelona, which makes mosaic animal figures in the style of the Catalan artist and architect Antoni Gaudí, some in realistic colors, some multicolored in a style I prefer to think of as rainbow.

Above, the rainbow penguin; here, a mosaic king penguin:


All is not penguins. A Barcino rainbow frog:


About the mosaic art form, from Wikipedia:

Trencadís, also known as pique assiette, broken tile mosaics, bits and pieces, memoryware, and shardware, is a type of mosaic made from cemented-together tile shards and broken chinaware. Glazed china tends to be preferred, and glass is sometimes mixed in as well, as are other small materials like buttons and shells. Artists working in this form may create random designs, pictorial scenes, geometric patterns, or a hybrid of any of these.

Although as a folk art the method itself may be centuries old, the two most commonly used terms are both of modern origin. Trencadís, a Catalan term that means ‘chopped’, is the name for this method as it was revived in early 20th century Catalan modernism, while pique assiette is a more general name for the technique that comes from the French language. In French, pique assiette (‘plate thief’) is a term for a scrounger or sponger, and thus as a name for this mosaic technique, it refers to the recycled or ‘scrounged’ nature of the materials.

… The Catalan modernist architects Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol used trencadís in many projects, among which Barcelona’s Parc Güell (1900–1914) is probably the most famous. Gaudí’s first use of this technique was at the Güell Pavilions, where the sinuous architecture forced him to break the tiles in order to cover the curved surfaces.

Gaudí tended to create patterns with his trencadís work, and he leaned towards brightly colored glazed ceramic shards. He often used discarded pieces of ceramic tile collected from the factory Pujol i Bausis located in Esplugues de Llobregat, as well as pieces of white ceramic from broken cups and plates discarded by other Spanish manufacturers.

A mosaic dragon / salamader / lizard by Antoni Gaudí, in Parc Güell:


The Gaudí mosaics are wild, showy, and breath-taking; the Barcino mosaic creatures are carefully designed, cute, and ornamental. Two different kinds of mosaic art.

In any case, Pingüino Gaudí is a delightful addition to the household. He seems to be happy here.

One Response to “Penguins meet and greet”

  1. [BLOG] Some Saturday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky looks at some penguins from around the […]

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