By Lois Jones WHILE the Grand Hotel in Palma's Plaza Weyler, commemorates its 100th anniversary this year, the Fundació La Caixa celebrates ten years of innovative work based in this modernist monumental landmark. Linking up these key dates, a programme of events has been planned that will interface the history of the Grand Hotel with the activities developed at the cultural centre, modernism being the artistic link. This coming 28 July is the day selected for the inauguration of an exhibition that will unveil three different concepts. On the one hand, Un espai viu (A Living Space) provides a run through the history of the building from its beginnings until its reformation. One of the lesser known aspects of the history of the building, is that during World War II, the crew of an RAF Wellington bomber were interned there. The aircraft had crashed into the sea off the island of Cabrera and the crew were rescued. As a result of Spain's neutrality the crew were kept “prisoners” in the hotel for the duration of the war. One of the airmen died while a “guest” in the hotel and he is buried in Palma cemetery. Another aspect of the programme, “A history of 10 years” invites the visitor for a walk along ten years of activities pioneered by the Fundació La Caixa using the Grand Hotel as its base. During these ten years, the centre has attracted more than two million visitors and has held 68 exhibitions as well as 70 series of lectures and concerts. Many of the exhibitions, concerts and lectures are itinerant and have been seen in other parts of the Balearics. The Foundation also organises educational activities for schools and town and village councils. The last part of the July 28 programme, “The Stations of Modernism”, offers a journey around Europe and the most important manifestations of this artistic genre.

The same day, Amelia LLop will lead a dance spectacle Homenatge a Loïe Fuller and the Psicofonies Wind Quintet will give a concert: The Relationship between Architecture and Modernist Music. On 29 July a scenario will be presented entitled Viu el modernisme, a guided tour through the history of the Grand Hotel, artist Anglada Camarassa, whose works can be seen there and the modernist movement in the Balearic Islands. The three components can be seen in the atrium of the first three floors of the building, enjoying recuperated “space never before used for exhibitions”, according to Jaume Martorell, director of the Fundació La Caixa. The refurbishment of the building has won no fewer than five awards.
The Grand Hotel started its life with the intention of “kick-starting” the local tourist industry which in its embryonic stage had among its first clients artists and writers such as Joaquim Mir, Santiago Rusiñol and architect Antoni Gaudí. Miquel dels Sants Oliver was one of its principal promoters with the footwear impresario Joan Palmer, who had made a fortune in Montevideo. The building was designed by LLuis Domènec Montaner, who was also responsible for the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona.