The hotel is small but the design is elaborate. It was a passion project, too: the owners of the property, which is located along Barcelona’s tony Passeig de Gràcia, doubled as the interior designers. The design brief called for “contemporary Modernista style,” says Jordi Cerqueda, one of the owners. “In other words, bringing a contemporary feel into a historical, antique and listed building.”
The building in question was erected in 1906, so renovations to it were met with care. “Everything that was retained had something to do with the original artistic and historical elements of the building,” says Cerqueda, noting the façade, carved-wood features, stained-glass windows, bronze and brass decorative features, parquet flooring, elaborated plaster and carved wood ceiling, ceramic fragments covering masonry, chandeliers and lamps, an antique elevator and two staircases.
Modern touches introduced include domotics, entertainment technology and energy-saving lighting systems.
Unique touches also abound, such as retro-illuminated panels of corian and art nouveau designs taken from original decorative elements of the building, “which speak a lot about this marriage between antique and contemporary that was at the center of the project’s concept,” says Cerqueda.
The hotel’s six double suites measure 1,600 square feet and are notable for their aesthetic, which is achieved through the use of modern and contemporary furniture by designers such as Eames, Saarinen, Platner, Jacobsen, Van der Rohe, Starck and Citterio. “The suites proved to be very effective in building up a relaxing atmosphere that incorporated the original antique features,” Cerqueda says.
Plaster ceilings from the Modernista period in Spain were retained resulting “in the contemporary Modernista style, which was behind our thoughts,” Cerqueda continues.
Sustainability was also top of mind for the owners/designers from the get-go, particularly for a city like Barcelona where “the people are highly concerned with water and electricity waste rates,” Cerqueda says.
El Palauet knows who its customer is. “The target is a client concerned with issues of historical preservation,” Cerqueda says. “He or she wants a unique European architectural environment without renouncing the comforts and luxuries of the 21st-century.”