Fusion Art Deco
A must-see house in the Eixample
La Casa China – formally known as Casa Ferrán – was unveiled in 1930 and immediately slated by critics, receiving even greater opprobrium and mockery than Gaudí had three decades earlier. Designed by Valencian arquitect Juan Francisco Guardiola Martínez, it was variously described as ridiculous and kitsch.
Guardiola also designed, among others, the Casa Judía in Valencia and his style is quite distinct from the Catalan modernista, reflecting the international Art Deco movement that was reaching its pre-war apogee at the time across Europe and the Western hemisphere. It is, if nothing else, a striking building, with a pagoda-like central turret incorporating Moorish elements.
Sitting triumphantly on the xamfrà junction of Consell de Cent and Muntaner, its base of tall classical Ionic columns with art nouveau embellishments supports a colourist façade with incongruously green-shuttered galerías and typical Eixample balconies projecting from it. It is a mishmash of cultural influences and artistic movements and, kitsch or not it’s a bold and, to me, delightful statement of unapologetic fusion architecture and well worth a visit.
The building is private property and is not open to the public.