A detail of the modernist Barcelona building called a "Jewel of Modernism", designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was commissioned by Francesca Morera i Ortiz to work on the Lleó i Morera House in 1902. On Passeig de Gràcia, 35 (Barcelona) there was an old building, called Casa Rocamora, built in 1864 by master builder Joaquim Sitjas. Lluís Domènech i Montaner designed a complete remodel of the existing house using a variety of materials. The project lasted until 1906.
Francesca Morera i Ortiz inherited that building from her uncle, Antoni Morera i Busó, but she died before seeing the finished work. It was her son, Albert Lleó i Morera, who took charge of the house, giving it the name by which it is known today, Casa Lleó i Morera.
Lluís Domènech i Montaner remodeled the previous building, making it a truly modernist work of art. The house’s owner commissioned him to demolish and rebuild the façade, add three galleries and stone balconies on the different floors, and to design the interior. In order to complete this modernist piece of work, the architect was surrounded by a large group of master artists and craftsmen who were renowned for their creativity, like the sculptor Eusebi Arnau, mosaicist Mario Maragliano and cabinetmaker Gaspar Homar, among others.
The façade and the mezzanine were decorated with different types of ornamentation, of which the sculptures by Eusebi Arnau depicting two couples of female figures were the most notable, although they were destroyed in a remodel of the house's ground floor in 1943. On the façade are repeated allusions to the family's surname Morera (which means mulberry in English) represented through the use of different materials, and symbols of 20th century inventions. The façade is crowned by a tempietto that exceeds the height permitted by the Barcelona City Council, so the builders had to ask for the necessary construction permit.
An explosion of modernism is found in the interior, which is one of the best preserved in the city: stained-glass windows, mosaics, ceramics, sculpture, wood, marble, sgraffito... The vestibule and staircase show us the different modernist applied arts that the artists and craftsmen were able to create based on the architect's ideas and instructions.
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