The iconic curvature and ornamentation of the works of Antoni Gaudí are deeply embedded in Spain’s cultural identity. Seven of the Catalan architect’s projects are UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Sagrada Família, a whimsical unfinished basilica in Barcelona, is one of the country’s most-visited monuments. It is set to be completed in 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
Gaudí is one of those architects whose work transcends the field, and today he is a household name. While other champions of the Spanish modernista movement may not have achieved the same global stature, their contribution to the country’s aesthetic identity were integral.
Today we’re taking a look at the present-day restoration and renovation of a structure designed by a close friend and colleague of Gaudí’s: Francesc Berenguer i Mestres, a fellow Catalan and key Spanish architect in the early days of the 20th century.
Casa Burés, a 6-story, 7,000 square metre structure in the stylish Eixample neighbourhood of Barcelona, was built between 1900 and 1905. Its name is derived from the original owner, Francesc Burés, a successful businessman in the textiles industry. This historic building, listed as such in 1979, was recently reinvented by Bonavista Developments, who commissioned Estudio VILABLANCH and TDB Arquitectura to create the interior spaces.
The 26 exclusive units (including 2 palatial residences, 3 lofts, and 21 flats) are a delicious fusion of old-world glamour and 21st century amenities. The teams worked diligently to breathe new life into the building, which had been abandoned for years (with some of its original elements, sadly, being vandalized along the way). While heritage status regulations stipulated that the Modernist-style building must be properly restored, the developers and design team valued its original bones regardless. Artisans were hired to restore the building’s ornamentation wherever possible. Today, details like ceiling friezes, mosaic tiles, and soaring stained glass windows harken back to the building’s rich past.
“The interior design project had two goals,” the team shares via press release. “To recover and highlight the building’s original decorative elements, and to adapt the housing to contemporary regulatory and functional needs in terms of distribution, technology, safety, accessibility, comfort, and community.”
The introduction of new materials was painstakingly strategic. No new, contemporary elements could overpower the historical ones.
“The team defined three interior design concepts for this residential building matching the intrinsic qualities of each existing space,” the release elaborates. “3 lofts and the basement common areas recovered their original industrial character; 2 palatial residences were carefully restored respecting the existing modernist elements, and 21 flats were conceived as contemporary residences with rich original elements.”
The lofts and common areas in the basement were assigned an industrial character in keeping with their historic functions; the ground floor and basement were once the home of Burés’ textile business. Today, these spaces feature high ceilings, concrete floors, iron columns, and exposed brick. In the basement, amenities like a pool, spa, gym, cellar, open kitchen, terrace, and event spaces create a sense of community in the luxurious building.
The apartments and attics, located on the upper floors, feature a combination of strong modernist elements and contemporary additions. Muted details like white walls and oak wood serve to highlight the more decorative details.
The true pièce de résistance (or, more appropriately, pieza de resistencia) is the work done in the palatial residences. Burés once resided on the main floor, which was then divided into two grand flats and boasted the building’s most spectacular decorative elements. These were thoughtfully restored, and today these luxurious units boast mosaics, marquetry, stained-glass windows, wall and ceiling frescoes, elaborate woodworking, and more. Any additions are minimalist and lacking in ornamentation so as not to compete or upstage.
Looking for your own slice of luxury living in Barcelona? Units start at 1.500.000 €.
Images via v2com.