Through the offices of architect Joan Martorell i Montells, in February 1878 Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by Barcelona City Council to design a model lamp post to provide gas street lighting. The following June Gaudí, recently graduated, presented his project with two proposals for lamp posts, one with six branches and the other with three. Although the lamp posts were planned for several sites across the city, in the end the council only erected the six-branched version in the Plaça Reial, inaugurated in September 1879. Eleven years later, four more were installed, all with three branches, two in Pla de Palau and a further two in Passeig Nacional. The latter pair were taken down in the early twentieth century.
Gaudí’s lamp posts have a marble base and cast iron structure with interesting use of polychrome in golden, red and blue tones. The young architect enhanced the monumental aspect of the lamp posts by giving them symbolic elements like the shield of Barcelona in the centre of the wood, with inverted crowns on top in the three-branched versions, and on the six-branched post, a snake with a winged caduceus, symbol of Mercury the god of commerce.