Restaurant Casa Calvet is located in Casa Calvet, a building created for a textile manufacturer by the Catalan Architectural genius Antoni Gaudí.
Its accounting offices, management and boardrooms have been converted into semi-private dining rooms where we have preserved taste and elegance to the delight of our customers.
Restaurant Casa Calvet is a unique and exclusive place where dining becomes a sensual experience which blends the state of the art of cuisine with the beauty of Gaudí’s work.
Antoni Gaudí, 1899
In 1898 the widow of the textile industrialist Pere Màrtir Calvet i Carbonell entrusted Gaudí with the task of designing a family house on the site at no.48, Carrer de Casp.
Although the plot was an undistinguished one between party walls, it was located in the heart of the Dreta de l’Eixample district, where the city’s haute bourgeoisie of the time lived. I have no idea why Gaudí decided to make this his most conventional and least audacious work (indeed, an uninitiated passer-by would probably not even notice its façade), although in view of the architect’s uncompromising personality, it is inconceivable that he would have done so under pressure from his client, as certain malicious tongues would have us believe.
The façade, consisting entirely of partially roughhewn ashlars, is surprising in that this was the only occasion on which Gaudí cultivated symmetry. The rhythm established between full and empty spaces, between smooth stone and ornamentation, strikes the observer as very balanced and functional. The gallery on the lower part of the façade is its most outstanding element, a daring piece clearly intended to be noticed by virtue of its fruitful combination of wrought iron and stone which trace out historiated decorative elements, treated realistically and allowing us to recognize a cypress, an olive tree, the coat-o-arms of Catalonia and horns of plenty. One must look upwards to the top of the building, however, to discover its most spectacular feature, in the form of a double pinion which breaks the predominantly linear arrangement. It is precisely here that the architect placed the building’s most original balconies, with their corresponding gins to hoist furniture, which anticipate those of the Casa Batlló. Crowning the façade are a number of decorative elements closely linked to the personality of Calvet, since they feature the heads of Sant Pere Màrtir, Sant Genís Notari and Sant Genís Còmic, the three patron saints of Vilassar, the owner’s home town. Further personal allusions include the columns framing the main entrance, sculpted in the form of bobbins which evoke the family business, and the mushrooms above the gallery balustrade which pay tribute to the pater familias’ favourite hobby.
The vestibule is an impressive complex beginning with the large crossshaped door knockers which when used strike a bedbug, the embodiment of Evil. The parapet tiling, the well-turned spiral columns, the paintings on the ceiling, the bench, the mirror, but above all the lift, an astonishing sculpture in wood enriched with wrought iron, all figure among the major attractions of Casa Calvet and are magnificent and humbling examples of Gaudí’s prowess as a designer, which we appreciate both in small details such as the spyholes and door handles and in the avant-garde furniture created formidable pieces of organic, sensually curvilinear furniture in oak wood, manufactured by the highly credited Casas & Bardés firm of joiners, some of which can now be admired in Gaudí’s museum-house in the Parc Güell. It is only recently, however, that we have been blessed with the good fortune to be able to savour a space which had hitherto been strictly private: the owner’s offices which occupied the whole of the building’s ground floor. This exquisite space, meticulously designed by Gaudí, has been preserved intact and recently transformed into the Restaurant Casa Calvet, whose proprietors have respected and potentiated such a striking ambience with a cuisine thoroughly in keeping with its setting. Outstanding in the dining area, for example, are the benches in the lobby, the double benches against the wall, the joinery separating the different areas of the former office, the counter, the door handles, the beams, etc. Professor Joan Bassegoda i Nonell tells us that the furniture is dovetailed, that is, fitted together without a single nail.
Pere Màrtir Calvet i Carbonell and his wife Juliana Pintó i Roldós had three children, Pere, Eduard and Elisa. The two sons continued the cotton textile business and lived and worked in this same house. Eduard Calvet i Pintó also entered politics; indeed, besides occupying posts relating to his industrial activities (Spanish industry representative of the associations of cotton thread and textile manufacturers and president of the Foment de Treball Nacional), he was also the Partit Nacionalista Republicà candidate at the Solidaritat Catalana elections (the partner Antoni Utrillo produced a magnificent propaganda poster for him). Furthermore he was elected Court Deputy for Arenys de Mar and, subsequently, Senator for Tarragona. Eduard Calvet was born in 1875 and died in 1917.