On Passeig de Gràcia, right next to Antoni Gaudí’s La Pedrera, Casa Codina is a mixture of medieval inspiration and Modernist floral decoration. Maybe its most outstanding feature are the ample openings of the first two levels, which change completely the proportion of the facade.
Even today, not many buildings are designed which such generous windows in one single sheet of glass, and the galleries of Casa Codina make it definitely stand out, especially in beautiful contrast with the stone rails, profusely sculpted, the molding that frames the window and the coronation with hemispherical forged rail balconies.
Casa Codina was built in 1898 by architect Antoni Rovira i Rabassa, and there’s a certain resemblance between this project and the one just next to its left, the work of the same architect dating from 1894, resemblance explained by a family tie. The house built in 1894 was owned by painter Ramon Casas, and the Codina house – by his brother-in-law, engineer Josep Codina i Prats, who specifically asked for a similar design for his new property.
Codina house has a symmetrical design. The ground floor, formed by two openings of arched lintels, is of stone with smooth treatment. “As the facade rises, it is beautifully decorated, Catalan journalist Lluis Permanyer (1) writes in his column in La Vanguardia. On the upper floor, the volume rises from the rostrum although reduced to a simple central body, finished with the emblematic floral art of modernism. And it establishes an even more subtle yet effective relationship with the balcony on the last floor, which comes out ostensibly and unexpectedly. The interior decoration was performed by the accredited decorator, sketcher and set designer Josep Pascó i Mensa, as well as the neighboring house of his friend, the painter Casas, spilled a spectacular splendor in his hands.”
Today Casa Codina is the store of Rabat jewellery, and even though they do not allow pictures of the interior to be taken, they will kindly accompany you to the upper floor where you can admire the original ceilings with Catalan vaults finished in sgraffito, the mosaics or the interior, balanced staircase. A hint of the richness of this original decoration is right on the ceiling of the entrance:
The history of the Rabat brand (2) began in 1977 in Badalona, north of Barcelona. Esteve Rabat received a jewellery workshop as payment for a debt and that’s where the jeweller’s journey began. Since 2015, on Passeig de Gràcia, where the best brands of the world meet and the rent per square metre is around 2,700 euros, Rabat has a 2,100-square-metre store in beautiful Casa Codina, besides other stores in Madrid and Valencia. In spite of their remarkable sales volume and impressive brand presence, Rabat continues to be a family business and now Esteve Rabat shares the business with his son Jordi.
Antoni Rovira i Rabassa was architect, academic of the Fine Arts of Barcelona and professor of the subjects of shadows, perspective, gnomónica and stereotomy in the Superior School of Architecture of this city. He was the son of Antoni Rovira i Trias, architect and urban planner known for his radial plan of Barcelona – submitted for the contest won by Ildefons Cerdà – and author of several of the city’s markets, including El Born, Sant Antoni La Concepció and Barceloneta.
1. Lluis Permanyer, Catalan journalist, published more than 20 books on his hometown, Barcelona (I am currently reading his Biography of Passeig de Gràcia). He also has a column in La Vanguardia and here is the link to the complete article on Casa Codina:
2. Read more on Rabat on the officila website of Passeig de Gràcia where they also include some images of the interior of the house: https://barcelonapaseodegracia.com/en/members/rabat-jewelry/