The 'Carrer de n'Arai' is a small street, just off the Rambla, in the 'El Casc Antic' area, the old center of Barcelona. On number 3 you will find a five-story building that's build at the end of the nineteenth century. This building is a silent witness of different times. Among the first inhabitants were family members of the Brusi-clan (owners of 'Diario de Barcelona', one of the first public newspapers in Europe), the marquis Don José Ferrer-Vidal i Soler (who was at the same time the brother in law of the count of Güell, marquis and founder of one of today's largest banks in Spain.
A few decades later Ramon Horta, the founder of the brand 'Nenuco' moved into the building (he introduced worldwide the first baby-lotions on the market, the brand is now part of a holding).



Hugo Keizer

At the beginning of the twentieth century many drastic changes occurred on almost every aspect of life. At the coming of the terrible Spanish civil war these residents had already moved away gradually in search for a more comfortable staying in the residential districts of Barcelona and more working class men moved into the building.
Around 1970 there is little left of the former noblesse, except for the beautiful floors, the high ceilings and the majestic stairways. At that time some of the tenants run clandestine pensions or use the apartment as a shop floor for their small company. In wintertime there's bums and junkies sheltering on the stairways.



Hugo Keizer

During last decades the centre of Barcelona has become increasingly attractive for commercial tourism and booming companies as in almost every European city. Money rules, and as a result the rents rise to spectacular heights.

It has become almost impossible for the average tenant to maintain a decent living here. So it's hotels instead of houses.

Hugo Keizer

This is also bound to be the fate of Carrer de n'Arai 3. Leases aren't renewed, since the building has got to be empty to make it interesting for investors. Two apartments are cleared now, doors are blocked by steel plates to make sure no one can enter illegally. In a couple of years there probably will be yet another classy hotel, and the neighborhood will have lost again some of it's characteristic inhabitants.