Panot (a tile with a flower inside) is a symbol of Barcelona and the evidence that the city is eclectic, creative and full of surprises.

Not all surprises have the shape of Gaudi. You need to look down the wonders of the city, specifically to the floor. Most of Barcelona’s tiles have the sign of a Panot, one of the most iconic images of the city/u>. You find it everywhere: souvenirs, t-shirts, tattoos (true story), postcards …It is a beautiful symbol but, do you know what it means? Why Panot only happens in Barcelona? Here the story.

Who designed Barcelona’s tiles?

Panot is a tile made of cement, sand and water in the shape of a flower with four petals. There is a lot of controversy about its design. Its authorship is usually attributed to Modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956), the same who projected Casa Amatller or stunning Plaça d’Espanya in Barcelona (Spanish Square). It is affirmed that the first Panot is in front of Casa Amatller, where a tile with an almond inside stands. Its appearance is very similar but it’s not exactly the same image, nor the same material.

The history behind panot of Barcelona

At the beginning of the 20th century Barcelona was known as Can Fanga (house of mud) because of the large amount of mud accumulated on the sidewalks. Satirical magazines and newspapers of that times echoed this bad reputation,showing that Barcelona has not always been as majestic as today. For this reason, the government approved to standardize the sidewalks. Those were the times of Cerdá plan, the architecture project that made Barcelona’s street so squared.

Panot designs | Source: Casa Escofet


Anyway, the material to be used for the sidewalks would be hydraulic cement. It was cheap, versatile and produced in the city. In 1906 the City Council launched a public tender for manufacturing 10,000 square meters of tiles, along with a sample of designs, whose origin was not documented. These were a flower, a skull, concentric circles, four pills and four pills with four circles.

The public tender was won by Casa Escofet, which was responsible for paving the streets of Barcelona with the design of the panot, becoming one of the most emblematic symbols of the city. Another emblematic design is Gaudí’s Panot.  present at popular Passeig de Gràcia. Such is the popularity of this format that there are original designs such rose, circle or nature panots.