This is not an exaggerated intervention, but it has given a new shine to what was the first glass showcase in Zaragoza. The Foral Deputation of Zaragoza has restored the facade of the old Zorraquino confectionery, at number 44 Calle del Coso, which today houses the workshop store of the Muel School of Ceramics and the cultural council of the Fernando el Católico institution. To be situated in the basement of the Sástago Palace, the place is protected as a Property of Cultural Interest (BIC). jobs cost €22,700 and they focused on recovering the wood and other materials that make up the facade, restoring their original splendor.
“The wood that makes up the facade was not in good condition due to the passage of time and the degradation caused by the weather”, explains the head of the management section of the restoration works of DPZ, Manuel Sofí. “The restoration work, which lasted a month and a half, allowed restore this beautiful facade to an optimal state of conservation commensurate with its relevance and uniqueness within the heritage of Zaragoza“adds Sophie.
The store is located on the left side of the lower floor of the Sástago Palace, hence its cataloging since 1974 as Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) in the category of artistic historical monuments. According to experts, the facade of this place is “eclectic in style”, “neo-baroque inspired”, and is essentially made of carved wood and artistic glass on top. It also has an important value for having been the first glass showcase in Zaragoza, according to the HERALDO chronicles of decades ago. “The oldest firm in this part of the arena is surely that of the Zorraquino house, founded in 1884to which, as I discover, Zaragoza owes some imports”, wrote the novelist (then editor of the newspaper) Milagros Heredero, in a 1969 column.
What were these things? On the one hand, the aforementioned glass showcase, since the owners of the shop were in Paris and from there they brought the idea of exhibiting their genre at the beginning of the 20th century. They also say that the Zorraquinos were the first to dress their office in white jackets and bring hitherto unknown products to the store. “Our house was, in principle, half bakery and half grocery store. We brought to town the first oysters that were eaten here, the first bananas, pineapples, custard apples. And we also brought live pheasants, to attract people’s attention”, said the heir to the saga half a century ago now.
From this time the Coso is remembered as the main street of the city (courtesy of Alfonso Street) but it still took a long time to be paved until the 1920s and, also, that Zaragoza evolved well and quickly thanks to the impetus it received with the Hispano-French Exhibition, of which -among many other traces- the Provincial Museum or the School of Commerce still survive.
Back to the present, the recently restored facade is mainly made of wood, glass, sheet metal, silicones, varnishes, dyes and paper, also degraded, although to a lesser extent. For this reason, restoration work has also focused on remove rust and all the waste resulting from the pollution and the clogging of the cracks of these materials, which made it possible to find the original colors of the showcases. The upper windows were in good shape so just had to be cleaned. “This splendid decoration was executed in 1922 on the order of Victoriano Zorraquino for his already veteran and accredited establishment”, can we read in his Heritage service file.
The façade is continuously exposed to the outside, which has caused its color and texture to change, indicators of the aging of the material. “The color had darkened and had a gray tone and the texture had become rough and splintered due to the loss of the protective layers, with small protruding fragments and cracks,” explain those involved in the rehabilitation. To address this, deteriorated layers were removed and low-quality elements were removed. It was also necessary to intervene to stabilize the collapses and to remove some unused elements such as conglomerate panels to promote its conservation of the monument. The restorers also comment that the “eccentric composition of the facade” is probably due to the fact that it is conditioned by the location of the balcony on the upper floor. For this reason, carved decoration and artistic glass are combined, “with scenes and classic elements engraved in the sand”. All decoration, as well as carpentry and interior furniture (all displays are kept in the store) are protected.