Few streets in the world concentrate as many architectural jewels of European Art Nouveau (Modernism in Catalonia) in such a small area as Barcelona’s Avenida Tibidabo. When the walls of central Barcelona came down in the middle of the 19th century, the city expanded, awakening the creative genius of Antoni Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch and Domènech i Muntaner among others. A modernist revolution exploded in a golden age where bourgeois families fought for the honour of being considered to have the most beautiful and original house. So it was that the wave formations of La Pedrera, the neo-Gothic castles of the Casa de les Punxes and the naturalistic outcrops of the Modernist Enclosure of Sant Pau came into being.
One of the architects behind this whole movement was Doctor of Pharmacy Salvador Andreu. Dr. Andreu’s famous pills healed the coughing fits of thousands of patients. Dr. Andreu, also a patron of art and architecture, in 1899 formed S.A. Tibidabo, together with a group of illustrious colleagues including Román Macaya, Teodor Roviralta, Ròmul Bosch and Manuel Arnús. Together they would urbanize Avenida Tibidabo.
The avenue is still the preserve of a majestic tower, La Rotonda, an old hotel, Dr. Andreu’s own house, designed by Enric Sagnier, a small auditorium for Enric Granados, and most importantly, the Casa del Frare Blanc.
Here’s a secret: the house at number 32 served as inspiration for the writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón in his highly successful novel “The Shadow of the Wind”.
Over the years, the avenue would lose its residential feel, and its occupants would hand over the keys of their homes to schools, institutions and companies.
All homes are beautiful but ours, located at number 29, has stolen our hearts. In 2009 Gebro Pharma S.A. moved to what had been the house of Dr. Andreu’s notary, Adrià Margarit i Coll. In 1907 Number 29 was commissioned to be designed by the architect Miquel Madorell i Rius, whose most unique buildings are the Tevre Tívoli, the Tomàs Vendrell House (on Sants Street) or the Bayer Factory (on Viladomat Street).
Adrià Margarit did not see his dream fulfilled. He died in 1908 and it was his widow, Antònia Duran, who entered the house in the Land Registry in 1909. It became the House of Widow Margarit.
The building, inspired by the Novecentista school of architecture, was conceived as a single-family house with two main floors and attics, detached and surrounded by a garden. Between 1925 and 1942 it passed through the hands of several families until in the mid-50s it was acquired by a heritage company. The 80s saw major reforms and once the works were finished the building became the headquarters of the Casadevall Pedreño & PRG company in 1992. A few years later it belonged to Publicis and by July 2009 it was our home.
The Arxiu Fotogràfic (Photographic Archives) of Barcelona preserve photos of what life was like in our house back in 1913. We like to say that we work in a house, that our meetings are held around a chimneyplace, that surely where we now do yoga and zumba there was once a pantry, that our offices were bedrooms where lullabies could be heard, or that where we now sign contracts, bread was baked.