The Casa Calvet in Barcelona is one of Antoni Gaudí's earliest buildings and sometimes forgotten as it is one of his most conservative works but although it might look very different from the most famous buildings of the architect there are modernist elements that are typical from Gaudí.
The façade end in curve and the attic balconies seem taken out from a fairy tale, elements that are very particular from the architect and were part of his style from the beginning.
Casa Calvet was home of the textile manufacturer Pere Màrtir Calvet, who had also his business premises in the ground floor where now there is a restaurant located. Barcelona city council awarded in 1900 the prize of the best building of the year. Funny enough, this award was the only one he received alive and it came from the city council
Casa Calvet is built with stone from Montjuïc quarry and it shows an incredible ironwork in the balconies and a *Catalan baroque style. As any Gaudí building has some religion details on it, Casa Calvet is no exception having three busts that belong to Saint Peter the Martyr, Sint Genesius of Arles and Saint Genesius of Rome. All of these details are also related to Calvet's family making the building details a piece of the family spirit on it as well apart from the obvious religious meaning.
There are other symbols in the façade such as the olive tree -symbolizing peace-, Catalonia's shield and a cypress that meant hospitality, meanings and symbols everywhere, this is also typical from Gaudí. He blended in perfectly the essence and particularities of the owners with his own and with his special passion for nature that included natural shapes in his architecture.
Since Casa Calvet is located in the Eixample, Gaudí had to comply with the planning of buildings in the area that was planned by Cerdà. Buildings with rectangular base, double façade and a courtyard right in the centre of the building as some of the characteristics of those Cerdà buildings.
Calvet's family were owners of a textile company and as such it was important that this textile identity was part of the building as well. Gaudí had their iron knocker be forged in the shape of a greek cross and in the same entrance the columns remind us of reels of thread, emphasizing the textile business of the family.
The architect did also the design of the furniture and the decoration on the inside of the house, he used a modernist style on the decoration of the inside. The furniture that belonged to Calvet's living room it was fully designed by Gaudí and now it can be seen in the Gaudí House-Museum in the Park Güell.
In the process of working in Casa Calvet is when Gaudí reaches his artistic peak, his passion for nature arises, he perfects his personal style inspiring himself with the organic shapes in nature. Although it might not be the most representative work of Gaudí as it is not as colourful or as spectacular as others, we need to recognize that it was his first period and this house helped him define the style he has been known for.
In the same Gaudí building is located the restaurant Casa Calvet, they opened on 1994. They have a wide variety of dishes of national cuisine with an Asian influence. Prices are mid range, so you get an idea the daily menu is around 35 euros per person.