Barcelona Photoblog: catalan art nouveau
Showing posts with label catalan art nouveau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label catalan art nouveau. Show all posts

February 08, 2021

Sant Pau Hospital: A History of Fervent Passion and Anonymous Endeavor

Sant Pau hospital detail a history of passion and endeavor
Amidst the weird silence imposed by this pandemic disgrace, these stone marvels strike us as significant reminders of past religious devotion, of saints like Santa Eulalia (hanging up there on this side of the Modernist compound of Sant Pau Hospital - Cartagena street façade), of the fervent passion and disinterested endeavor of women and men who invested their lives in that of others not only to seek salvation but out of pure love for their peers.
Sant Pau Hospital
Thanks to the skillful hands of Catalan artists who set out to venerate these acts of faith against the wrath of merciless plagues, against the paradox of so much suffering cast upon the human race, we can remember them and resume this endless fight on the very places where we once perished.  

From here we, your descendants. shall honor your lives and rise on our knees to overcome this Covid mess, just like you banished your misfortune one day, in unison and anonymously for the sake of our fellow men.  

January 11, 2018

Grand Luxury Hotel Casa Fuster Modernist Landmark of Barcelona

Hotel Casa Fuster Grand Luxe 5 Star Monument Leading Hotels of the World
Hotel Casa Fuster by architect Domenech i Montaner - picture by Carlos Lorenzo

Do you want to discover one of the top modernist landmarks in Barcelona? Come visit with me the Grand Luxury Hotel Casa Fuster, member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World group, a jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture.


Hotel Casa Fuster started being just a casa modernista but it was not any odd house indeed. This beauty was built by the matchless architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner who was commissioned by Don Mariano Fuster i Fuster, illustrious member of the Mallorcan high society apropos of his marriage to Miss Consuelo Fabra i Puig, daughter of the Marquis of Alella.

In fact, Fuster wanted to give this house to his wife as a wedding present and there were no limits for expenses. He put the house under his wife's name and dedicated a rose window to her, on the facade of Jesus Street where you can read her initials CF.

Domenech's work was the first house in Barcelona built with white marble and cost 13 million pesetas, a fortune that made it the most expensive in the city at that time, one year before La Pedrera by Gaudi, which is about 400 meters away down Passeig de Gracia.

Those were times in which houses talked a lot about the class of their owners. The history of this famous street is that of the war of egos among the powerful elite of wealthy businessmen and nobles on each side of the road. Can you imagine this magnificent white marble five story building, shining on top of the hill at the end of Passeig de Gracia? 1,920 square meters of property on the premises of an old chocolate factory demolished in 1905 stating clearly that it was second to none.

Hotel Casa Fuster Corner Tower
Corner of Hotel Casa Fuster facing Gran de Gracia street
The works began in 1908 and ended in 1911, the year in which the family entered to live on the noble floor, that is, the first one. The rest of the floors were for rent. This was very common in Barcelona. It really helped covering the ostentatious expenses.

What is today the main entrance of the hotel was the access for carriages that used to go through till the opposite side, a back alley in which there is a church. On the other hand, what we know at present as Café Vienés was the family events room in which there was a staircase to go up to the private floor of the family.

In the early twenties the family had to sell the house. It was impossible to keep such pace, not even by renting the upper floors. Nevertheless the flats remained for rent long after the owners left.

Over the years, businesses such as a barber shop and a grocery store were prosperous in the area of Cafe Vienes famous for its jazz concerts nowadays every Thursday from 9 to 11 pm. Another part of the building, what at present is the Sala Doménech i Montaner in the underground floor used to be a very popular dance hall in the middle of the 50s known as "The Blue Danube". It was a place of reunion for the different social strata in the city.

Famous Cafe Vienes in Hotel Casa Fuster

But that is not all. The house changed from hand to hand several times according to the historical ups and downs of the city so it was not strange to see the consulate of Hitler's Germany or the Italian Institute during Mussolini's dictatorship occupying one of the floors. Although not all was that fascist in its records! The same floor was taken by the POUM (Workers Party of Marxist Unification) to establish their headquarters in 1936. Also the Defense Committee of the Revolution by the Iberian Communist Youth was organized here. In 1939, once Republicans lost the civil war, Franco's Falange settled in the house and also their official Social Assistance institutions.

By the way, this was the house of the famous Catalan poet Salvador Espriu for 30 years! It is said that he did not want to abandon the premises until a leg injury impaired him and made it impossible for him to climb the stairs. 

In 1962 the company ENHER (the Ribagorzana Hydroelectric Company) bought the house for 11 million pesetas. The intention was to tear down Casa Fuster and start a more functional high rise building called Barcelona Tower. There was a tremendous campaign to defend this urban heritage, led by important personalities and publications such as Oriol Bohigas and Destino magazine.

As a result of the general protests ENHER, not only did not demolish the house, but promised to make a restoration of the building.

The Hotel

In 1999 "Casa Fuster" was on sale and in the year 2000 it was bought by Hoteles Center.

It is now the property of a group of companies called GRUPO NOGA (the initials of the name and surnames of the owner). The group's headquarters are in Granada, where the company opened its first hotel in 1992. There are others in Cordoba, Badajoz, Seville and Valencia.

Opened in 2004, Hotel Casa Fuster started attracting foreign and local clients alike. It was a privilege to sleep in such beautiful landmark not only because of the architecture but because of the history. This well deserved fame made it part of the most expensive hotels in the village. You may easily spend here more than 1000 euros per room although the standard ones are about 255 EUR (+VAT). Of its 105 rooms, only 67 are standard bedrooms. The rest are superior rooms, junior suites and suites. The company also owns Suite Center Barcelona apartments in Passeig de Gracia 128, some steps away from the entrance.

Grand Luxe Hotel Casa Fuster on Passeig de Gracia 132 - Front Façade
Hotel Casa Fuster Front Façade on Passeig de Gracia 132
The list of famous guests is countless but as you know a hotel like this strictly protects the privacy of its clients. You'd better Google them up.

Not only you can sleep in an enormous King size bed with a view of Sagrada Familia but you can enjoy the popular terrace from where Passeig de Gracia is all in front of your eyes right until Plaça Catalunya, 10 blocks away.

The hotel has eleven meeting rooms, a gym, a sauna and a massage room. There is the Galaxó Restaurant on the first floor which has an average price of 60 euros and has a menu called 'modernist' for 40 euros. Besides being a place to stay and find solace, Hotel Casa Fuster is much more. It is the central spot for all sort of events and activities, such as weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, bachelor parties, business meetings, congresses, cocktails, spots, name it.

Guests are pampered by hotel staff from the doormen till the last employee and that is perhaps what makes it so unique on top of the architecture and history.

The Architect

Lluís Domènech i Montaner was a prolific architect. His professional life began in 1874 with the pantheon project for Anselm Clavé, in Poblenou's cemetery in Barcelona, and ended in 1919 with Casa Domènech in Canet de Mar.

During forty-five years he produced more than seventeen buildings among other projects, of which 46% corresponds to housing, 25% to public architecture, 16% to funeral architecture, 6% to monuments, 4% to religious architecture and 3 % to industrial architecture.

Doménech i Montaner, also known for Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Musica, which he build in parallel to Casa Fuster was a modernist architect of international renown and a professor of architecture. In fact, Gaudi was Montaner's pupil in the school of architecture.

His style may look more sober than Gaudi's but it is by no means less solid as he was the father sort to say, of Catalan modernisme.

Check the images above and admire the impressive facades of Casa Fuster, in which the architect avoids the straight lines as much as possible with the intention of creating movement while highlighting representative ornaments of nature like flowers, plants and birds. Remember that Doménech i Montaner was also a botanist! This man was a genius overshadowed by the Messi of architecture, Antonio Gaudi.

December 03, 2013

Casa Comalat Backside at Carrer Corsega 316, Barcelona

Casa Comalat: Balcony and Windows

Casa Comalat is one of those secret places of Barcelona everyone would like to discover but sadly it is closed to the public. This Modernista house has two completely different sides which have been featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past. There is the front side, magnificent, full of adornments, but sober in comparison with the backside façade, at carrer Corsega 316, which I find much more interesting and attractive.

But before we start, you should know some facts: The building is named after the its proprietor, Sr. Comalat, a moneylender that commissioned it to architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull (1873-1954). Salvador Valeri built a house that is slightly different to other Modernista houses of the times, very rich in ornaments, very decorative, it became a perfect sample of Late Modernisme. Maybe you need a video to fully comprehend what Late Modernisme looked like and to discover what only a local Barcelona TV has unveiled, the inner secrets of Casa Comalat. The video is not in English but you really ought to watch it.

With regards to the Barcelona photo of the day, Casa Comalat Backside, you can appreciate the elaborate  ceramics on balconies and windows by artist Lluís Bru i Salelles and the over-undulating shapes framing wood blinds for the first time in Modernisme. Rigalt i Granell, a renown company at that time, was in charge of the stained glass works. Certainly, never backsides were so much better than front doors.

Previous posts:
Art Nouveau Balconies

January 17, 2011

Modernist Lamp, Casa Amatller, Barcelona

Modernist Lamp, Casa Amatller, Barcelona

This is a detail of one of the art nouveau style lamps at Casa Amatller on Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona. Of course the original is more beautiful but I hope this is enough teaser for you to visit the famous house and take a good look at it.

More about Casa Amatller in this previous post: Casa Amatller Modernist Stained Glass Ceiling

October 31, 2010

Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, Rambla Catalunya 54, Barcelona

Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, Rambla Catalunya 54, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Rambla Catalunya in Barcelona is splattered with architecture jewels of different styles and periods, most of them illustrious samples of Modernisme or Catalan Art Nouveau. In fact, there are more here (over 20) than along neighboring street Passeig de Gracia. One that I specially admire is Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas that dates back to 1903. The distinguishing wood and glass gallery and the floral motifs on the façade are worth mentioning. Here is an interesting link to many representative buildings in our city where a small pic shows a front view. As you see the original is rather sober in appearance so I decided to add some infrared color that highlighted the glass panes and the wooden framework of the gallery. Maybe you are interested in other works by this artist like: Casa Bruno Quadros or the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomf)

April 26, 2010

Modernist Building at Plaza del Sol, Gracia Quarter, Barcelona

Modernist Building at Plaza del Sol, Gracia

At Plaça del Sol square in Gracia quarter, the most bohemian neighborhood in Barcelona, there's a modernist building that really stands out due to its wonderful preservation. I have seen it in hundreds of pictures but I wanted to show my own version.

These pastel colors are real so imagine what a feast it was for my eyes to be able to contemplate this beauty from a terrace table across the square in the company of friends and chatting over some beers.

Buildings like this you have a gazillion in the city and believe me my friend, you don't need the beer to get a sudden break of emotive architectural admiration cause the sober ones seem to have the same expression of awe before most of them.

Come join us, it is fun, cultural and educational! By the way, you can even sit on the very floor of the square to have a pleasant chat or enjoy the best local paella at L' Envalira (Catalan link) next door. Envalira (Link from monopolizing travel company Tripadvisor)

March 19, 2010

Casa Macari Golferichs by Joan Rubio i Bellver - Eixample Civic Center, Barcelona

Casa Macari Golferichs by Joan Rubio i Bellver [enlarge]

Another good example of modernista houses in Barcelona is located in Gran Via de les Corts 491, next to Viladomat street. Casa Macari Golferichs maybe is not that relevant if compared to other renown houses in the city but it is certainly interesting and worth the visit. It dates back to 1901 and was built by Joan Rubio i Bellver, the same architect, assistant to Gaudí for 12 years, that created House Roviralta (1903), the Escola Industrial (1912) or participated in the reconstruction of famous Casa dels Canonges. Beyond the pure architectural attraction of this house in L'Eixample Esquerra (left side of the 'Ensanche' quarter) we must say that at present its premises include a civic center, a library and a cultural area devoted to photography (Espai Català Roca) although to be exact the main building holds the Carles Pi i Sunyer Foundation. It was great to capture this beauty and I was specially captivated by this blend of Art Nouveau, Gothic and Neo Medieval elements.

February 23, 2010

Casa Ramon Oller, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 658, Barcelona

Casa Ramon Oller, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 658 [enlarge]

Modernista balconies are authentic Barcelona hallmarks. Catalan Art Nouveau is everywhere, in every detail and displayed in full splendor. Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, one of our main arteries holds very good samples of this art such as this apartment building at number 658. The place you see here is a restoration made in 1900-1901. The original house dates back to 1871 and had been designed by Eduard Fontseré. The reform was carried out by architect Pau Salvat i Espasa (1872-1923) later on. Notice the magnificent ironwork especially on the tribune and the leaded glass panels.

December 13, 2009

Casa Enric Laplana or Casa Mundó, Passeig de Sant Joan 6, Barcelona

Casa Enric Laplana or Casa Mundó or Casa Estapé by Bernardi Martorell i Puig - Late Modernisme, Passeig de Sant Joan 6, Barcelona

Last Saturday I went for a walk down Passeig de Sant Joan to test my brand new Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX lens. I stopped before this building attracted by the beauty of the balconies. I did not know the name which I found later when I got home.

After some research online, I learned that it is called three different ways Casa Enric Laplana or Casa Mundó or Casa Estapé and was build by Bernardí Martorell i Puig in 1907.

This Catalan architect born in 1877 belonged to a wealthy family and received a good education. Got his architecture degree in 1902. He worked for some time in the Sagrada Familia and was a friend of Gaudi's.

His work is considered part of late Catalan modernism but some of his buildings have a touch of historicism. Many of his works were religious buildings like the Església de Sant Agustí in Sabadell, Convent de Valldonzella in Barcelona, Església dels Escolapis in Sabadell, Església i Convent del Santíssim Redemptor de les Oblates de Bellesguard in Barcelona or the Col·legi de les Teresianes in Tarragona.

Bernardí was influenced by English neo-gothic and also had a passion for oriental art and architecture. He died in Hospital de Sant Pau in 1937 of acute myocarditis.

But I leave you watching the elaborate ironwork, the orange stucco façade with serigraphed flowers mixed with the bare bricks in the upper floor. In the picture you cannot see the ceramic tile cupola on top or the stone gallery of the first floor but you can follow this link to see the full view of Casa Enric Laplana or check it on the map. The lens worked out fine by the way although I'll save it for street photography.

November 01, 2009

Hospital de Sant Pau: Modernista Turret

Hospital de Sant Pau: Modernista Turret in Modernist Complex or recinte modernista de Sant Pau

To welcome the new week enjoy this beautiful modernista turret inside Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau many times featured in this blog.

If you want to know more check previous posts by using Sant Pau label below

July 20, 2009

Sant Pau Hospital: A Touch of Fresh Air in Architecture

Art Nouveau ventilation turret in Sant Pau hospital Modernista complex

If you want to see a good sample of Catalan art nouveau take a walk inside Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

I have mentioned this jewel of modernist architecture before in many posts. I just want you to stop and take a look at the details.

There are some small ventilation towers or art nouveau chimney stacks that do deserve some of your time.

Adorned in a very similar way to nearby cupolas with overlapped fish scale-like tiles they carry some extra decoration that makes them stand out from the rest of motifs on the roof and part of the façade. Notice the use of tiny gargoyles to deviate water from the duct and bigger yellow tiles to embellish the box where the vents are. I particularly like those two stars which give it this sort of bizarre look.

These turrets were made just for ventilation purposes because the heating, water, gas and electricity services are installed in the open.  

Domenech i Montaner, the architect behind these magnificent buildings, made emphasis on the human factor, on the well being of patients so fresh air, obtained thanks to this innovative system of natural ventilation, was a priority within the isolated, one-storey pavilions surrounded by gardens. In fact, pavilions are connected by underground corridors that were used to transport patients and for some medical services thus keeping the atmosphere on the surface much cleaner and less noisy.

October 21, 2006

Catalan Modernisme: Old Pharmacy and Laboratory

Modernist Lamp

It is late and I am very tired but I don't want to let my window to Barcelona closed tonight, so I leave you with this modest but beautiful sample of Catalan modernisme, a street lamp on the entrance of this old pharmacy and laboratory, near the city center. 

Pharmacy Viladot, as such is the name is located on the corner of Ronda de Sant Pere, 40 and Bruc, 8 in Barcelona. There is not much left of the once rich interior except for part of the cabinetmaking work such as the central column lined with noble wood, the small counter or the stained-glass windows that decorate the windows inside. The exterior of the building is still almost intact with these beautiful flower decorations and the modernist lamp.

Architect Felix Cardellach was commissioned by lawyer Francesc Xavier Palomas i Bons that in fact gave the indications himself of how he wanted the establishment to be, and its decoration. This was the year 1905.

But Dr. Joan Viladot i Cardona who bought the pharmacy in 1925, commissioned the renown ceramist Lluís Bru, to add some panels made with ceramic mosaic, with the words "Farmacia Laboratorio" that you can read nowadays.

The business was kept by the Viladot family until 1987.

Notice the elaborate ironwork and specially those little floral adornments on the metal stems along the wall. Here are two more images, a close up of the lamp and a general view from the middle of the street. Nice weekend everybody!
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