Balmes Residence is a work of art in itself. The guest rooms and common areas conserve their spectacular moulding, frescoes and colourful mosaic floors—the traditional trencadissos of Catalan Art-Nouveau architecture from the beginning of the 20th century.
Balmes Residence has a collection of pieces of Sub-Saharan African art on display in the lobby, primarily from the vast area of central Africa that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
The collection is made up of three-dimensional wooden masks and sculptures that are used by the majority of black African ethnic groups. They are representations or embodiments of the mythical and ancestral beings that the community associates with their own history and other spirits or supernatural forces that exercise power over the group.
Some noteworthy pieces include the masks from the Soninke (Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Senegal) and Baule (Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) ethnic groups, as well as the ibeji—anthropomorphic figures that normally come in pairs of the opposite sex and represent the spirits to whom people pray and make offerings —from Yoruba groups (southwest Nigeria, Benin and Togo). Also on display is a reliquary—stylised wooden figures coated in metal (copper or brass) that protect the dead against witchcraft and any sort of evil—from the Kota people (Gabon and the Republic of the Congo).