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Gaudi

Decoration

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Arab Room of the Cafè Torino
(1902)
Passeig de Gràcia / Gran Via. Barcelona

On 20 September 1902, Italian businessman Flaminio Mezzalana opened the CafèTorino on one of the most prestigious street corners of the Eixample district of Barcelona. This was a luxurious establishment where you could drink Martini & Rossi vermouth, of which Mezzalana was the distributor in Spain. The new bar soon became a favourite meeting place for the city bourgeoisie. No luxury was spared in its building and Ricard de Capmany, its decorator had some outstanding collaborators including architects Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Pere Falqués i Urpí and sculptor Eusebi Arnau i Mascort. In spite of its initial success, the Torino closed shortly before its tenth anniversary.

Antoni Gaudí’s contribution was the decoration of an Arab Room, designing the motifs of the wooden wainscoting and wall and ceiling tiles. The tiles were made of pressed and varnished cardboard, a new technique developed by Hermenegild Miralles i Anglès, the printer for whose estate Gaudí was building a wall and entranceway at the time. 

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