#FindingAsia: Casa Bruno Cuadros, Barcelona

#FindingAsia: Casa Bruno Cuadros, Barcelona

Las Ramblas is one of the most touristy areas in all of Barcelona. Filled with tourist tat and scam artists, I would normally say to avoid such areas, but in this case, I say go.

Located along the Rambla is Casa Bruno Cuadros, known locally as Casa dels Paraigües or “the House of Umbrellas”. This shop, now a bank, was once an actual umbrella shop back in the day.

Barcelona - July 2014

Covered in Japanese design elements, many tourists snap photos of Casa Bruno Cuadros without ever wondering why they’re seeing Japanese art on the streets of Barcelona. The answer is Japonisme.

As Japan rapidly modernized thanks to the Meiji Restoration (1868), it quickly put itself on the world map– especially for a country that had been previously isolated for so many years.

Paris became a great commercial center for Japanese products, and Barcelona being only 24 hours by train quickly followed suit while pursuing its own cultural growth and development.

Catalan artists moved to Paris and continued to be inspired by the Japanese art they saw there. This Asian influence can even be seen in some of the greatest works by Picasso and Dalí.

It was during this time, when Japonisme was active in Barcelona, that architect Josep Vilaseca undertook the refurbishment of Casa Bruno Cuadros. He changed the façade to feature elaborate sgraffito work and covered the walls with umbrellas and fans made of cast-iron. Under the delicate Japanese-inspired decorations are painting of people that looks as though they were taken right out of traditional Ukiyo-e woodblock prints.

The most striking feature of Casa Bruno Cuadros is the giant cast iron dragon displayed on its corner. The dragon, with a large fan on its tail, holds a lamp with an umbrella below it. Used to advertise the original umbrella shop inside, even though that shop has long been gone, I’m glad they’ve decided to keep this subtle reminder.

Barcelona - July 2014  Barcelona - July 2014
Barcelona - July 2014
Barcelona - July 2014

When to visit: Anytime
Where to visit: 82 Les Rambles, Barcelona, Spain 08002
How to visit: Metro: L3 stop Liceu

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Have you experienced Asian culture outside of Asia? Tell me about it in the comments below or share your own photo on social media using the hashtag #FindingAsia!

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50 Comments

  1. March 4, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Such a gorgeous place and the architecture is awesome. I would love to visit someday.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 2:30 pm

      I hope you get the chance to!

  2. March 3, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    All of this looks so cool and refreshing! I wish I was able to experience something like this.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 2:45 pm

      It was! I never expected to see bits of Japanese culture in Spain.

  3. March 3, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    Barcelona! One day I wish to visit that beautiful place. I would be so overwhelmed with emotions when that day comes!

    • Beth Williams
      March 6, 2015 / 11:03 am

      Barcelona is such a hip city! I loved it.

  4. March 3, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    I’ve never been outside of the United States and Mexico. But what amazing beauty. I love the dragon cast. My husband would love to visit Asia. I would love to visit Barcelona personally.

    • Beth Williams
      March 6, 2015 / 11:05 am

      Both are excellent places!

  5. March 3, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    What beautiful photos! I’m definitely adding Asia to my list of places to visit!

    • Beth Williams
      March 6, 2015 / 11:20 am

      You should! It’s a fascinating place.

  6. March 3, 2015 / 2:23 am

    Oh my goodness, the details on those buildings are absolutely amazing. I’ve got a Pinterest board for Barcelona because it’s a dream of mine to visit. Thanks for sharing

    • Beth Williams
      March 6, 2015 / 11:44 am

      I hope you get the chance to someday!

  7. March 2, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    Positively beautiful. Lovely photos. Would love to visit there someday. Thank you for sharing.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 11:00 am

      Thanks Digna. Spain is a beautiful place!

  8. Eliz Frank
    March 2, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    What a gorgeous place and stunning architecture. Spain is truly beautiful; ditto many places in Europe.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:59 am

      Europe was so beautiful! In a very different way from other continents I’ve been to.

  9. March 2, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    So pretty, I really like the architecture! I’ve never been to Asia, it is on my list.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:58 am

      I hope you make it to Asia someday. If not, these plenty of little pieces of Asia all over the world to explore! Like this one in Spain ;)

  10. March 2, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I would have never thought you could find such beautiful Asian inspired architecture in Spain. And what lovely pictures!

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Who knew, right? I was surprised, but in a good way!

  11. Kristen
    March 1, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    that is so interesting. that their is Asian art in Spain! But I guess people were traveling all over the place back when. I love learning about cultural influences.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Yeah, I never really thought about all the trading before. Pretty cool when you think about it– esp with the lack of technology back then!

  12. Catherine S
    March 1, 2015 / 7:28 pm

    All the pictures are amazing and the architecture is just wonderful. I would love to see this in person one day.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:56 am

      I hope you get the chance Catherine. Barcelona has a lot of great architecture.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:55 am

      I hope you get the chance to Michelle!

  13. March 1, 2015 / 9:39 am

    This one’s interesting. Spain and a lot of the countries in Asia have had lots of history + I heart anything Japanese ( so after reading your post, I intend to read more about Japonisme ).

    I would love to visit this place one time. I like the intricate details on the building – shows that it has a lot of story to tell. I gotta give to folks who put effort to restore such gems in cities because they give travelers like us something to look forward to when we visit a city. I’ve so much respect for ’em.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:55 am

      Thanks Russ, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I’m sure you know it, because I also love anything Japanese. :)

  14. Zoey McCluskey
    March 1, 2015 / 4:48 am

    I have not really seen to much Asia stuff. But when I do it is beautiful!

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:54 am

      It is, isn’t it?

  15. February 28, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    I’m in love with Barcelona! I have been there twice and I know this house, however I never paid attention to the Japanese details. This is good info, thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:53 am

      Jealous!! I hope to go back some day. And if you go back, be sure to look for this!

  16. February 28, 2015 / 10:31 pm

    How interesting this is! I’ve been to Europe, but never to Spain. It is on my list, though, so I’m sure I’ll get there before too much longer!

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:53 am

      I hope you make it there someday!

  17. February 28, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    What beautiful architecture! I had no clue that was there. I love the dragon with the lamp as well as the gorgeous shells outside the windows. http://prettyloved.com

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:52 am

      There was so much detail!

  18. February 28, 2015 / 10:25 pm

    What beautiful architecture. I had no clue they had that there. I really like the dragon with the lamp underneath him. If I ever visit I’ll be sure to look for this.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:52 am

      You should! Let me know if you find it.

  19. Stephanie C.
    February 28, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    How interesting! this is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:51 am

      It was really beautiful! Very unique!

  20. February 28, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    I too, was wondering why were seeing Japanese art on the streets of Barcelona – it’s because of Japonisme – I never new! So very beautiful and interesting –

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:50 am

      Well, now you know! :D

  21. February 28, 2015 / 11:20 am

    That’s so cool! I love Asian architecture, food, AND culture. It’s all so fascinating.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:50 am

      It is! I was really surprised to see this in Barcelona!

  22. Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    February 28, 2015 / 10:03 am

    That looks absolutely gorgeous. My good friend lives in Barcelona now and posts photos from this area all the time on facebook.

    • Beth Williams
      March 5, 2015 / 10:50 am

      Jealous that she lives in Barcelona! Such a wonderful city.

  23. December 11, 2014 / 6:09 pm

    This is really interesting, thank you! I’ve walked along La Rambla SO many times and haven’t spotted this before. Will keep my eyes firmly peeled next time!

    • Beth Williams
      December 19, 2014 / 12:18 am

      Definitely keep your eyes open and let me know if you’ve spotted it ;)

  24. December 11, 2014 / 4:47 pm

    It’s one of my favourite buildings in the Rambla area :)
    Lovely photos, interestingly depicted dragon ;)

    • Beth Williams
      December 19, 2014 / 12:16 am

      It was such a cool building! I was so surprised when I saw it :)