My visit to Barcelona was so short that I walked on the famous shopping street of Passeig de Gracia only once. It was incredibly hot, in the upper thirties. As I waited for a traffic light to change, I noticed this wonderful wrought-iron lamp-post next to me. Below it was bench decorated with the irregular ceramic mosaic called trencadis in Catalan. Was it by Gaudi? The bench could have been, but I thought the iron-work didn’t look like his style.
Later I found that the design of the whole ensemble, bench and lamp, is due to another Catalan architect, namely Pere Falques i Urupi. He is the man responsible for the current open look of the Placa de Catalunya, by clearing up, in 1889, the hodge-podge of buildings which had accumulated there. Falques was a municipal architect from 1888 to 1914. His lamp posts on Passeig de Gracia were installed in 1916. The iron-work was done in the workshop of another famous Barcelona modernist: Manuel Ballarin i Lancuentra, who was Falques’ brother-in-law.
In one of the world’s first smart-cities, this hundred year old lamp-post seems to be a relic. Next to it you can see a modern lamp-post with LED lights. If you look carefully at that post you can see a box which contains a communications hub for traffic and pedestrian sensors on the road.