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Palau Montaner

Just off the Passeig de Gràcia, on the corner of Carrer Mallorca and Roger de Llúria, stands one of the few remaining mansions in the Eixample. It goes by the name of the Palau Ramon de Montaner, and is a curiously eclectic modernista building with an Italianate feel.

In 1889, the year after the Barcelona Universal Exhibition, the architect Josep Domènech i Estapà received the commission to design two luxury homes for the two owners of the publishing house Montaner i Simón. The project for Ramon de Montaner's mansion was begun by Domènech i Estapà but the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner took over from him at a later date. A mosaic at the top of the façade bears the completion date, 1893, surrounded by ornamental and symbolic motifs which give an idea of the sumptuous decorative elements inside.

Indeed, when you step inside the building, which comprises two storeys and an attic space, you will be immersed in a noble, sumptuous space. A grand staircase in the middle of the central courtyard, presides over an open-plan space beneath a spectacular stained-glass ceiling lantern, with its plant motifs. Marble mosaics decorate the floor, and medieval-inspired sculptures fill recesses and frame doorways, and panels with wooden overlays cover the walls and ceilings. The sumptuous decoration reminds us of other buildings by the same architect, who, on this occasion also worked with his usual team of associates, including the sculptor Eusebi Arnau and the stained-glass artist Antoni Rigalt. The building has been the seat of the Spanish Government in Barcelona since 1980.

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