The delicate balancing act of combining new-construction and building conservation in a city like Barcelona where there is a lot of historical heritage and the tourism industry forms an important part of the economy can be difficult to get right. While no-one wants the city to turn into a museum (like Venice) neither is the prospect of becoming just another soul-less urban centre very appealing. So when a project like Monument Hotel comes along it’s worth paying attention because this is an excellent example of how to juggle the past and the present.
Monument is a recently opened 5*GL hotel located on the corner of Mallorca and Passeig de Gràcia, the emblematic Neo-Gothic mansion built for the industrialist Enric Batlló between 1895 and 1896 was designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. Constructed at the height of the moderisme period the building façade is remarkable for its combination of materials; brick, stone, ceramics and wrought iron.
The architectural and interior design projects were carried out by Oscar Tusquets for the initial project and Carles Bassó with Tote Moreno for the construction phase, Mercè Borrell is responsible for the interior design (see also Hotel España). The interior patio has been respected and the rooms are furnished with local design icons, the most impressive aspect however is the ground floor.
The structural challenge of opening the entire ground floor area, other than the reception area, in order to open the lounge directly to the street represented the main architectural thrust. The solution constitutes a certain degree of structural gymnastics by replacing the previous beams with a cantilevered metal structure that resembles an upside down tree that frames a roof light directly over head. The various elements of the programme, the restaurants and cocktail bar are defined by furniture and partitions that allow the space to flow.