5 Catalan Modernist smiths you should know

It happens very often that many people know the great Catalan Modernist architects, but not the brilliant Catalan Modernist smiths  who collaborated on their buildings. Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Domènech i Montaner… Everyone knows their names, but do we know who Manuel Ballarín, the Badia brothers, or Joan Oñós were? Do we know which buildings they collaborated on? Now you can discover great modernist forgers thanks to this selection.

Germans Badia Miarnau

Halfway between the Casa de les Punxes and the Sagrada Familia, at number 270 Carrer de Nàpols, Luis and José Badia y Mirarnau had their workshop, built by Gaudí. Regular collaborators of Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, one of their most famous works is the grille and balconies of La Pedrera, the Bellesguard door and the ironwork on the façade of Casa Batlló. Also the irons of the façade of the Palau Güell and its well-known heraldic shield, which they made still under the orders of their master: Joan Oñós.

Joan Oñós

A master forger, he taught the Badia brothers the art of modernist forging until his retirement. Also with a workshop near the Sagrada Familia, in Carrer Aragó between Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Roger de Flor, Joan Oñós collaborated with Gaudí in several projects. His works include the grille that surrounds and protects the family tree of Jesus Christ at La Sagrada Família, the grille of Casa Vicens, the doorknobs of Casa Calvet and the gas light fittings of the Palau Güell.

Salvador Gabarró

Also a collaborator of Gaudí, he carried out every work we know under the guidelines and orders of Joan Oñós, we know almost nothing more about his figure, but we do know that he collaborated with Gaudí at the Palau Güell.

Vallet i Piquer

Mr Vallet y Piquer was a forger who also collaborated with Gaudí. Although we don’t know many details of his works and life. We do know that he was in charge of manufacturing the well-known fence of the Güell Pavilions, with the incredible dragon’s wrought iron door.

Manuel Ballarín i Lancuentra

Finally, we meet Manuel Ballarín, Puig and Cadafalch’s most faithful collaborator. His workshop, Casa Ballarín, was located in Carrer del Peu de la Creu and was one of the largest and most important in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He had more than 20 workers in his workshop. Ballarín collaborated in ten of Puig and Cadafalch’s works, including Casa Macaya, Casa Amatller and the incredible Casa de les Punxes. He also collaborated in the famous Seats-Streetlights of Paseo de Gracia, from which he made the street lights, with the classic “coup de fouet”.

In 1900, Manuel Ballarín modernized and popularized the technique of forging by means of mechanized serial production and his own designs. This enabled him to drastically reduce the price of decorative pieces. The result of this revolution can be seen in the impressive decoration of Casa de les Punxes.

Forja Casa de les Punxes

So much for our selection of modernist forgers – do you know of anymore that we haven’t mentioned?