The Gambrinus sculpture (in Spanish, La Gamba) , also known as Mariscal’s Prawn, is located in Moll de la Fusta (meaning wooden pier), in Barcelona’s Port Vell (old port). Designed by the artist Javier Mariscal and made from fibreglass by the Fallas master Manolo Martín, the Prawn is one of the sculptures along Barcelona’s coastline after a huge redevelopment that took place during the years running up to the 1992 Olympics.
Javier Mariscal is an artist and designer from Valencia who has lived in Barcelona since 1970. Unfairly, his prolific work has been overshadowed by one of his most famous “creatures”, Cobi, which was the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. A large part of his work is dedicated to or is linked to Barcelona, such as the famous “logo “Bar Cel Ona”” logo, which he designed in 1979. His multidisciplinary work has meant that he has worked in almost all areas and sectors, even co-directing the animated film “Chico y Rita” where you can see Mariscal’s unmistakeable artistic mark.
The giant prawn was located on top of the restaurant Gambrinus in 1988, one of the five restaurants which opened when Moll de la Fusta was renovated and for several years created gastronomic delights for both Barcelona residents and the many tourists passing through the area. The decision to crown the restaurant with the prawn was just a way for Javier Mariscal and the restaurant owner to avoid the ban on putting up a sign at the top of the restaurant (as we say in Spanish “a grandes problemas, grandes soluciones” big problems require big solutions). To make it even more spectacular, as if putting up a giant prawn wasn’t enough, Mariscal gave it Lobster claws instead of prawn claws.
After 10 years, the city council did not renew the licence of the 5 restaurants at Moll de la Fusta and they had to close down. Mariscal’s Prawn was bought by the city council who restored it and reinstated it in 2004 in the same location as it was originally, although this time over a stripped back structure of the old restaurant.
Now Gambrinus is one of the most loved structures by children and one of the most photographed by curious tourists. For citizens of Barcelona it reminds us, with half a longing smile drawn on its face, of the exciting years the city has gone through and of one of the biggest and most important urban and conceptual transformations of its history.
In Moll de la Fusta just a few steps away there are a series of sculptures that are not connected to each other but that are closely linked to the sea. Some of them are also “children” of the Barcelona Olympics, whilst others have been there for several decades accompanying all the passers-by along Port Vell.
Passeig de Colom, Barcelona.
How to get there?
Metro: Barceloneta (line 4).
Bus: lines 39, 45, 59, 120, D20, H14, V13, V15, V17 and tourist bus.
By foot: its location makes it easy to reach from different parts of the city. The closest of which is Barceloneta, La Ribera – El Born or the lower part of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.