The old 20th century building of the ‘Gran Hotel de Palma’ is now home to the cultural center ‘CaixaForum Palma’. It is the most emblematic Modernist building in the island capital Palma de Mallorca. Renovated by ‘Obra Social La Caixa’ – a social work project by a local banking institution -, the cultural center opened its doors in 1993 and now provides a room for temporary and permanent exhibitions, concerts and conferences. Modernism has become a part of the cultural center’s identity. Not only because it is located inside a Modernist building, but also because it features an important permanent exhibition of the famous modernist painter Hermen Anglada Camarasa.
The building was designed by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, a famous architect during the Modernist era and scholar of Gaudí. After the building opened in 1903, it was one of the most luxurious buildings on the island and also the most extravagant hotel in Spain for many years. In fact, the ‘Gran Hotel de Palma’ is seen as a pioneer of tourism on Mallorca. The hotel closed in 1941 and the building was bought by the Spanish State afterwards. In the early 90ies, the local banking institution La Caixa bought the building and renovated it, conserving and recovering its old Modernist style.
It is a five story building and standing outside, you will already be overwhelmed by the Modernist artwork and sculptures on the building. The front is decorated with sculptures and ceramics typical for the Modernist era. You will see ornaments with zoological and floral pattern and a huge ceramic artwork towards the top of the building. You will be impressed by the decorative windows with stained and colourful glass, which give much illumination to the interior of the building. Also the stained windows grasp the floral motives and feature lilac lillies. The whole building manifests elegance and luxury at the outside as well as in the inside. So, do not just run inside to see the exhibition, but take some time and explore the modernist front of the building.
When entering the building, you will be greeted by the huge and prestigious staircase, leading from the ground floor to the other four stories. The temporary exhibitions are always located in the ground floor and extend towards the first and sometimes even to the second floor. Temporary exhibitions always have a certain theme, are about a concrete art epoque, featuring a collection of various artists or the exhibition may be about one single, famous artist. You can find huge oil paintings, small pencil drawings, sculptures or photography art, it depends on the current theme and the current artist(s). As the CaixaForums exist in various cities around Spain, the exhibitions move around from one cultural center to the other. All the exhibitions are accompanied by educational activities, guided tours for schools, families and the general public as well as a regulars’ table to discuss the exhibition.
In the first floor you will also find the permanent exhibition of the Catalan painter Hermen Anglada Camarasa. He lived in the first half of the 20th century. His work are a demonstration of his adventures during his life and the important historic moments he lived through. He is a scholar of the Barcelona Art School and his paintings show a plasticity and sensuality which are symbolic for the Belle Epoque and Modernist era. During World War I, he lived on Mallorca, for which the permanent exhibition is dedicated to him.
Take the bus route number 3, 7, 15, 25, 46 or 50 and get off right in front of the building.