The Antigua Casa Figueras

One of the joys of wandering the streets of Barcelona is to suddenly stumble upon gorgeous art nouveau buildings sitting smack in the middle of nondescript shop fronts. The Antigua Casa Figueras is one such gem.

Located halfway down the Rambla, this former pasta factory was built in 1820 and decorated by modernist artist Antoni Ros i Guell in 1902. Occupied since 1986 by a branch of the Pasteleria Escriba, the Casa Figueres is as elaborately decorated as some of the decadent creations of fourth generation pastry artist, Christian Escriba.

Casa Antigua Figueras – Barcelona, Spain

The trencadis (mosaic) on the facade and the wrought iron and stained glass windows are exquisite as are the restored interiors. The biggest challenge here is to get a clear shot of the building through the throngs of tourists on the Rambla! The ones oblivious to this beauty, as well as those so enamoured by it that they will not budge from in front, for what seems like hours.

Embedded into the sidewalk outside the entrance is a metal plaque embossed with symbols of various trades. We had seen such plaques across the city and learnt that they are awarded as recognition to businesses that have been in the service of the city – and run by the same family – for more than a 100 years! They are engraved with the name of the establishment, date of inception, and the date the plaque was awarded.

I still haven’t figured out why the dates don’t tally. Seems to suggest a collaboration between the Figueras and Escriba families in 1986. Christian’s grandfather (the first Mr. Escriba) himself was the son-in-law of the original founder and his maternal  grandfather, the renowned French confectioner Etienne Tholoniat. With antecedents like that, we had no doubt that the contents of this pasteleria would be as pleasing to the senses as its beautiful exterior. I can vouch for the fact that they indeed were!

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

88 thoughts on “The Antigua Casa Figueras

  1. First thing i felt when i saw these shots was bliss. and awe.
    beautiful Pictures,its must be even more stunning when seen through the naked eyes..
    loved the write up 🙂

    1. Had no idea San Juan had art nouveau buildings like this! Must be lovely. Nice to meet you Estivalpoet 🙂

  2. I was ever so lucky to have stayed in the Rambla and wandering and wandering and wandering, one of favorite trips ever years and years ago…this brought back all those memories, thank you, the post, the pictures and the information is stunning 🙂

    1. Really? We were SO glad we didn’t stay on the Rambla!!! Detested the crowds in fact and only returned early in the morning or mid afternoon to check out the sights in peace 🙂 Glad to have stirred fond memories, and happy to meet you 🙂

      1. I was alone on my maiden trip to Spain and without accommodation until a very fine and gentlemanly receptionist at Le Meridien called Pedro offered me a suite (fit only for lords and masters) at the cost of a single!!!! Yes it was crowded but I was charmed by the view of the streets from that suite with all those fabulous burlesque costume processions for a festival that was on! I loved it! And waking up to the smell of coffee brewing from all those spaces depicted on your post had me holding on to my cup in a dream!

  3. Wow- fabulous. I had the chance to visit when on holiday with my daughter many years ago – I wish I had. I’ll add to my list. 🙂

  4. Madhu, it’s gorgeous! Honestly, i don’t remember it. There were a lot of distractions the summer of ’72, but I’ve no excuses for several subsequent visits, except perhaps it’s beauty was covered by a few generations of grime?

    So, thank you for showing me something that had been under my nose so many times:) I particularly love looking into the glorious timber ceilings through the fanlight. Fabulous shot. They’re all great shots, but I do like that one – I do love timber.

    1. That’s my favourite too! The sights on the Rambla are easy to miss unless you are particularly looking for them. Wish I could have taken some interior shots, but it was jam packed by the time we went in and we barely managed to grab some goodies from the fast emptying shelves!!

    1. Lovely isn’t it? There are loads of pretty buildings like this. If I had time I would go armed with a list and check out each one 🙂

  5. breathtaking…they just don’t craft things today like they used to (at least here in the states); true artistry;o)

    1. Oh, I loved it! Just checked out your site Rufu and am amazed at the amount of traveling you have done! Will have to browse through it at leisure. Thank you for dropping by.

  6. Such intricate, colourful detailing! Love this post (and how appropriate that almost always , after reading a post of yours, do I get “the urge to wander” around the globe as well!)

  7. What a treasure of a find! Gorgeous pictures! I also love these special little gems that are just waiting to be discovered on a trip.

  8. Madhu, you are so lucky to have stumbled across this jewel. Thank you so much for taking the time to shoot some photos and share this beautiful building’s history. I love this type of artsy architecture with all of the lovely colors, intricate tile work, and marvelous stained glass windows, complimenting the completed facade. What a treat! Of course, I’ve come to expect nothing less than a treat from you. Once again, you’ve outdone yourself. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  9. Hi,
    Absolutely magnificent, the colour of the shop front really does stand out, such a great look, and a lot of history attached as well, very nice.

    1. I love the fact that that they reward the conservation of buildings and trade. Wish our city planners could be taught that 😦

  10. One of the things I love about European cities, is their penchant for preserving their old buildings; they add charm and provide us with a glimpse into true architectural design. Great post!

  11. I always think of the Gaudi architecture for Barcelona, these are great pictures. It’s on my list of places to visit!

  12. I would love to go back to this city and take it all in again. Such a wonderful place. Thanks for the memories.

  13. We didn’t see this one while in Barcelona! It’s beautiful! And like most of the Art Nouveau buildings in Spain – even MORE beautiful CLOSE UP! Fantastic shots as always, Madhu!

  14. Gorgeous photos. I loved wandering down Las Ramblas – could have spent hours enjoying the wonderful views along the walkway. The architecture is so creative, colourful and inspiring. Love how well it has been preserved.

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