S  P  A  N  I  S  H     H  I  D  E  A  W  A  Y

Florid Andalusian baroque palaces inspire this authentic Spanish tapas bar located at the West Manor Courtyard of Chijmes, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore

An Andalusian character prevails at Ocho. Rich velvet draperies, faiance mosaics and spider lillies abound.

Ocho has closed October 2005

 Photos : Poole Associates Private Limited and Edmund Ho

Custom wallpaper by Willy Baet, San Jose California



The History of Architecture in Andalusia 

an excerpt......

By : Patricia Espinosa De Los Monteros and Francesco Venturi

Rizzoli Books

Translated from Spanish by Caroline Phipps



The Architecture of the great houses and palaces of Andalusia is closely related to the historical events that took place in the region. After the violent period of the Reconquista, the Castilian sovereigns - Don Rodrigo, Don Pedro, Dońa María, Isabel and Ferdinand, Don Carlos - gradually realized the magnificence of the legacy left behind by the Muslim culture. In triumph or defeat, alone or with their retinue, on horseback or in carriages, they all passed through Andalusia's towns, from Cordoba to Jerez, from Antequera to Sanlúcar. They lived in the Moorish palaces, drank and ate the produce of the land, commanded their armies, were happy or unhappy, wrong or right, and they were the men and women who also contributed towards the making of Andalusia. The noble families - the Guzmáns and the Mendozas and the winemakers of Jerez - let their mark on Andalusian art and architecture by building a hospital or a church, lovely houses or imposing castles.

The Moorish style, its aura and its decoration, nevertheless lingered on for centuries, long after the towns were conquered. The Castilians, Asturians, Leonese and even Basques and Galicians, recently arrived with the troops or laborers, summoned by their lords to repopulate this dazzling and rich new land, perceived the Moorish influence everywhere. It was evident in the newly-built churches, many still facing the quibla as the mosques had, in the busy narrow streets, in the red pavings, and in the glazed tile friezes and clay pots the settlers found in their new homes - which, of course, had once been Muslim houses.

In these houses, the new artisans learnt the secular skills of the Arab craftsmen. They carefully studied the details of a carved wooden ceiling, of a painted peacock and of the curved pistils on a piece of chipped tile work, or of the fragile arabesques of a broken lattice shutter abandoned in a corner. The Moorish echo is a constant, muted resonance that came to life in the skilled hands and sensitivity of a young Renaissance apprentice studying to become master of his craft. And, curiously, the further the Christian conquest receded in memory and in time, the more marked the arabesques in the tiling and in the coffering became. The bays of the arches became more loop-shaped, intricate laceries appeared in the wooden ceilings and colorful tiles enlivened loggias or the embrasure of a window. The dazzled owners of the new houses demanded Moorish ornamentation and the craftsmen skillfully complied: Andalusian art started taking shape........

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