Sunday 6 September 2009

The Texidor shop has been saved! - La Vanguardia (Oct/1995)

The following appears in La Vanguardia on 10th October 1995 (rough translation by Oliver Slay) - (this article is also framed at the back of the opticians which now occupies the premises)...

(Photos by Oliver)
The Texidor shop has been saved
by Lluis Permanyer 
"I confess that I went on my holidays with the fear of seeing, on my return, the destruction of another memorable shop; one more, and those that survive are few. It was that the historic Casa Texidor, on Ronda Sant Pere, 16, has been closed recently; the scaffolding and the tarpaulins forebode the worst to me. 

However, against all odds, it has been lovingly preserved, even given that there has not only been a change of ownership, but also of content. In effect, it has changed from drawing and paperwork to optics.
We must remember the merits of a true flagship shop. 
Its author is not exactly a nobody, but a relevant architect who enriched modernism: Manuel Joaquim Raspall. In Barcelona there is this shop, El Molino, the house that makes bevelling at Balmes, 149, and the house at calle Ample, 35; although the most representative of his creativity were done in a number of villages of Valles, like Granollers or Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, but especially in La Garriga, in virtue of his status as municipal architect. 
The business dedicated to Articles of Drawing and Painting was founded in 1874 in calle de Regomir by Jose Texidor i Busquets. It was inherited by his son, Emilio [Texidor i Torres], who died prematurely. His widow and his son, also called Emilio, decided to move to Ronda Sant Pere, 16 and they opened on the last day of 1909. 
Although the space was small and he treated it with an intervention that was not structural but basically decorative, Raspall accomplished a dazzling integration. We understand that he was very sensitive to the applied arts, which he used profusely and with perfect mastery in the houses that he designed, and besides it was a shop that also supplies drawing materials to architects. 
The front and the interior are a beautiful example of the integration of the arts, which in this case is concretised in the mosaic, the wrough ironwork, the stained glass and the joinery. From amongst the artesans who left here a delicious example of their mastery - Raspall drew his as he wanted directly on the wall - I only know the name of Lluis Bru; I failed to find any documented proof, but simply discovered his signature below the 'r' of the name 'Texidor' which graces the formidable sign, a ruse already used by the said artisan, with address and everything, on the facade of the Palau de la Musica. 
It is unfortunate that a part of this ensemble was somewhat mutilated in 1947, in a rather unfortunate alteration. 
This same shop has now been opened as an optician. It'll be worth checking out whether they establish a good coexistence between the legacy of the architect Raspall and the inevitable current intervention. And since when there is a destruction or mutilation it informs us the names of the guilty, it is just that in the opposite cases we also know to whom we owe for the preservation. 
The owner of the optician is Arense Jurado and he himself decided to conserve this modernist gem; such a view, unfortunately somewhat rare, is due to the beneficial influence exercised by his father, a lover of the city and of its historic, artistic and sentimental heritage. 
Hopefully, it will be a similar respect, instead of cultivating the destructive pick which opens up to aluminium, plastic or so. And, also, it is important to remember that a similar respect should be cultivated by private initiative, since when it comes to interiors and uncatalogued interiors, the coercive intervention of the City Council is not possible.


kar said...

i really liked that place!

Oliver Slay i Texidor said...

Please tell me more... I did not have the fortune of seeing it when it was run by my family...