Espai Xavier Corberó – Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Espai Xavier Corberó

Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain

A surrealist labyrinth and museum of contemporary sculptures. 


This extraordinary private art foundation on the outskirts of Barcelona known as Espai Xavier Corberó is an immense and labyrinthine house museum. All devoted to the memory of celebrated Catalan sculptor Xavier Corberó.

Corberó is best known for his monumental public sculptures and was also the designer of the 1992 Summer Olympic medals. In 1967, Corberó acquired an old farm called Can Cargol in Esplugues de Llobregat, a peaceful village known for its historic mansions, ceramic factories, and medieval monastery. Corberó envisioned a great project for the house and its surroundings. He transformed the street alongside it into one of the most picturesque alleys in Catalonia. In the former orchards of Can Cargol, he erected his lifelong dream, an enormous workshop.

This fascinating complex was intended to be the sculptor’s headquarters, an exhibition of his private collection, and a residence for talented young artists. The architectural masterpiece is composed of nine interconnected buildings, 12 courtyards, and more than 300 archways. An oniric world reflecting Italian Futurism and Surrealist fantasies.

At the entrance, an ensemble of basalt sculptures welcomes visitors. At the heart of the complex is a majestic square, a metaphysical dialogue between gigantic and enigmatic sculptures. Under the square, there is an astonishing cavern-like space that hosts concerts. Once used as a garage, it’s now known for its exceptional acoustics. The buildings encircling the square offer infinite possibilities, from imposing towers with splendid views, to intimate galleries featuring a contemporary chimney.

The most restricted area in the foundation space is a subterranean microcosm, Corberó’s tribute to the history of the village Esplugues de Llobregat. Corberó conceived this area as his residence around an inner courtyard with different levels, which illuminates the rooms like a kaleidoscope. The mysterious chambers are a true sanctuary and a cabinet of curiosities preserving Corberó’s legacy. These include, exotic artifacts, Biedermeier style furniture, Gaudí chairs, personal relics, and memorabilia from the sculptor’s life.

The final surprise is Corberó’s own museum that displays a selection of works from throughout his career. It’s the best testimony to the Catalan genius, whose works can be admired in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. 

Know Before You Go

The private house museum can be visited by appointment only by contacting the Esplugues de Llobregat city council culture department. 

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September 2, 2020

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