Ajuntament de Barcelona Institut del Paisatje Urbà
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Forever beautiful

Some of the oldest commercial establishments of Barcelona boast a plate, set in the pavement in front of the entrance, with an inscription in which the Council acknowledges their long-lasting contribution to the city’s heritage. The plate is made of cast iron, with designs allegoric of different commercial activities and the year in which the shop opened. This is the Guapos per sempre (Forever Beautiful) plate, awarded by the Barcelona Urban Landscape Institute since 1993 to distinguish some old shops -and generations of shopkeepers- that have kept business afloat into a modern economy and yet managed to preserve the distinct character and the original artistic values of the establishment. Award winners all have more than half a century of continued activity within the original commercial sector and in the same neighbourhood and, most importantly, have all made an effort to preserve their original outer appearance. In 2004 up to 105 establishments had a Guapos per sempre plate on their doorstep: here is a selection of the Modernista awards.

La Rambla, 83 - Petxina,1s
In 1902 Jaume Figueras commissioned Antoni Ros, a painter and scenic artist, to decorate his shop, which manufactured and sold pasta. A whole team of artists worked with Ros, including the sculptor Lambert Escaler, the glaziers Rigalt & Granell and Mario Maragliano for the mosaics. The façade is a magnificent example of the integration of the different decorative arts, with its diversity of volumes and finishes: stone, symbolist sculptural relief, mosaics, leaded windows and wrought-iron. In 1986 the shop was taken over and restored by the reputed Escribà bakers.
Rambla, 74
Though the current café dates from 1929, it had been previously founded as Xocolateria La Mallorquina in around 1890. The main door has a wooden frame with carved natural motifs, combined with two marble door jambs. The interior is in pre-Modernista (Vuitcentista) style with use of cast-iron columns, painted cloth panels and mirrors with etched designs representing female figures from several operas.

La Rambla, 72
This outfitter’s was founded in 1890 and was managed until late 2002 by three generations of the Bonet family. On the façade a complete wooden cladding rises to the mezzanine, a space originally occupied by the workshop, with a display cabinet framed by two signs made of hammered sheet metal. The wood used throughout the shop is mahogany, with small floral decorations in the corners. In July 2002 Camiseria Bonet won the Commercial Tradition Prize awarded by the Generalitat (government) of Catalonia. It recently changed ownership.
Rda. Sant Pere,16
In 1909 the architect Manuel Joaquim Raspall carried out the design of this shop with the collaboration of artists such as Lluís Bru -who signed his mosaic decoration under the shop sign- and the Buixeras glaziers. The iron work adopts natural forms and provides the framework for the design, both in the upper part and at the side of the doors, and the result is a clear example of integration of the arts. The interior recalls the original business, a fine art supplies shop with painted signs indicating sections on architecture, painting and drawing. The premises are now used by an optician’s.
Consell de Cent, 362
This establishment was opened in 1910 as a cake shop, although in 1892 the Reñé family had already set up their chocolate factory, La Suiza-Reñé, in it.
The shop was redecorated by Enric Llardent using mainly two materials: marble for the skirting of the shop window and Cuban mahogany for all the joinery. In the interior he adapted the large display cabinets, also with wooden joinery, and the plaster decoration of the ceiling. In 2003, the establishment became a café-restaurant.
Rauric, 6
Since 1838 when the sculptor Escaler opened El Ingenio, this shop has specialised in items for parties and festivals. Escaler’s successors, the Homs-Cardona family, have maintained the traditional business and also preserved the decoration of the shop. At the entrance it has wood panelling featuring gilt wooden mouldings and medallion decorations.
Inside all the walls are lined with original wooden shelves and cabinets of simple design. The rear workshop can be visited on occasions.
Montsió, 3 bis
Casa Martí, by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1896, houses the bar-restaurant Els Quatre Gats founded by Pere Romeu and Miquel Utrillo, which remained open in this first lapse only until 1903. The interior of the establishment reveals the Neo-Gothic style of the building and the attempt to recreate a characteristically Catalan rural space with the ceramic decoration and floral and geometric forms, the stone frames and the different elements of wrought-iron.
Rambla Catalunya, 77 - València, 256
Farmàcia Bolós is a chemists’ shop situated on the ground floor of a building by Domènech i Estapà. On both the interior and the exterior it still has the original 1902 decoration by Antoni Falguera, according to a design by pharmacist Novelles himself. One of the main features is the main door, with straight lines at the bottom but crowned by a panel of undulating lines and floral motifs. The leaves on the leaded glass door are framed in a rich woodwork, and depict an orange tree together with the name of the former owners. The interior still has the original decoration; display cabinets, stained glass, mural paintings and a collection of pharmaceutical china and pottery containers.
Aribau, 91
Formerly Farmàcia Sañé and founded in 1901, this chemists’ shop maintains the original decoration on both the façade and the interior. The cladding of the façade has austere, geometric lines. The two entrances are made of wood, with simple garlands as a basic decorative motif, and bevelled glass etched with the same design. In the interior it still has the display cabinets and counter, though they have been adapted to present-day needs.
Muntaner, 83
Founded in 1902. At the entrance, iron is the basic element framing the stained glass windows with geometric forms. At the top the main features are the decoration of garlands and undulating lines, in contrast with the dominant straight lines of the central glazed panel, and at the bottom again the undulating iron skirting, characteristic of Modernisme. Important features are the branch-shaped wrought-iron handles and two pharmaceutical motifs etched on the side windows. In the interior the whole wooden display cabinet with floral motifs in the corners has been preserved.
Roger de Llúria, 74
This Modernista style chemists’ shop was founded in 1906 as Farmàcia Robert. In the interior, it still keeps all the wooden display cabinets with rich natural motifs, together with the counter and cash desk. Other outstanding features are the ceiling with a trompe l’oeil representation of a bandstand, and the plaster mouldings decorated with garlands. The name of the former chemist’s shop can be seen etched in the glass of the door
Gran de Sant Andreu, 306
Founded in 1896, this chemists’ conserves its Modernista elements practically intact. On the façade one can see the wrought-iron work with undulating forms as a decorative motif at the ends and covering the wood on the doors. These are now totally made of wood, though the lower part was originally marble. The yellow and blue ceramic work was manufactured in the Xumetra kilns in this same Sant Andreu district.
Comte Borrell, 133
On the corner of Gran Via and Carrer Comte Borrell we find two attached apartment buildings, with a chemists’ on the ground floor. The Farmàcia Madroñal was first opened in 1901 and still preserves elements from this time, such as the wrought-iron lantern , a typical element used to identify chemists’ in those times.
Ausiàs Marc, 31
The design of this chemists’ shop is attributed to the architect E. Catà, around 1905. Its outstanding features are the wooden panels with floral decoration on the façade, the wrought-iron work, and the stained glass friezes that crown both window and door. Inside one can still see the original furnishings with a predominance of undulating lines and floral motifs, particularly on the counter.
Mallorca, 312 - Girona, 125
This chemists’ shop is attributed to Marià Pau, who seems to have decorated it in 1913-14, together with a team of decorators including Francesc Torres, who did the oak woodwork of the frames, Pere Anglès who made the furniture and the Nogués brothers who fitted the marble skirting. Look out for the stones incrusted in the bevelled external glazing. Original objects -the gas lights, the ceramic pots and the furnishings- are still preserved inside.
Boters, 2
The current Monge stamp and coin collecting shop replaced the original lingerie shop, Llenceria Jaumà, in the 1940s, but kept the outer appearance intact. It features a decoration with carved wood and symbolic reliefs covering the door jambs, framing the sign with circular forms and covering the lower part of the façade with jointed panels. The original decoration of the shop dates approximately from 1904.
Girona, 73
This bakery was decorated in around 1898, and is striking because of the overall impression created by the wooden frames, which house the sign with curving lines and oval shapes that extend to the façade of the building. On the wall between the two entrance doors there is a shield showing a woman reaping. The sign is now printed, but could originally have been of leaded glass.
Escudellers, 8
Formerly known as Petit Torino, this bar occupying the ground floor of a previous Vuitcentista building was decorated in Modernista style by Ricard Capmany around 1902. The façade is clad in wood and features a central window crowned by a shield depicting a raging bull, the symbol of the Vermut Torino company. An interesting feature of the doors is the glasswork at the top. In the interior the display cabinet of sinuous lines with natural motifs and the two counters, one completely plain and the other with applied ceramics, have been conserved. Other outstanding features are the cast iron pillars and the painted panelled ceiling in the first section of the premises.
Sant Pau, 9-11
In 1903 the architect Domènech i Montaner was commissioned to decorate the Fonda Espanya, and his work won the City Council prize for the best establishment.
Inside some of the rooms have been conserved intact, with wood and ceramic wainscots with heraldic motifs, mural paintings of marine themes and other ornamental elements. One of the rooms features an alabaster fireplace made in 1901 by the sculptor Eusebi Arnau.
Bergara, 2-4
The Hotel Regina, founded in 1917, conserves a canopy from the time of its foundation which is a good example of Modernista decorative arts. The structure is of wrought iron with leaded glass decorated with natural themes. It is covered by a frosted glass vault. The polychrome stained glass shows the date of foundation and two initials, FR, belonging to the first owner, Francesc Recasens.
Roger de Llúria, 85
This shop was opened under the name “La Puríssima” in 1898 as a coffee roasters’, and it is currently a grocer’s shop under different ownership. All the exterior decoration has been conserved, the main features being the signs and the glazed advertisements, above all the traditional “Anís del Mono”. Slight modifications have been made to the interior but the cash desk has been preserved, as have the counter and the rear cabinets, all in Scotch pine with simple geometrical decoration.
Rda. Universitat, 20
The firm Mosaics Escofet, which specialises in hydraulic floor tiles, was originally located at Ronda de Sant Pere, Nº 8. In 1890, the shop was moved to the actual site, together with all of its original interior and exterior decoration, work of Josep Pascó (1856-1920), mosaicist and teacher at the Llotja art school.
The establishment has a cladding of artificial stone panels decorated with floral motifs and framed in wood. The Modernista motifs are concentrated in the sign and the upper railings, whereas in the rest a paving design by the same decorator is repeated.
La Rambla, 115
Viena is a local fast-food bar opened 15 years ago on the premises of the former sausage shop Xarcuteria Mumbrú, founded in 1889, and it still preserves the original decoration. Wood is used throughout to frame glass panels painted with floral motifs: on the wainscot, on the cabinets, on the two cash desks located beside the door as decorative elements and on the bar, which was created using the old counter. Outstanding features are the pictorial decoration and the geometric woodwork on the ceiling.