Edificio de la Compañía Colonial, Madrid

In 1854, French-born entrepreneur Jaime (Jacques) Merrick opened a chocolate factory on Paseo del Prado, on the site of the current Ritz Hotel. The raw materials were supplied from the colony of Guinea, where Merrick owned several companies, so the company received the simple name La Colonial. It was an advanced enterprise that used steam engines, which significantly reduced the cost of products and made them accessible to all social groups. Competitors, of course, did not like it very much, and it got to the point that rumors were spreading about the quality of machine-made chocolate. Nevertheless, the demand was such that two years later the owner had to purchase new equipment and bring production to 2,500 pounds of chocolate products per day, which even by modern standards looks impressive.

Finally, the competitors got their way, and the city council demanded the demolition of the factory in the center of the capital. In 1866, production was moved to the town of Pinto, 20 kilometers from Madrid. The factory has achieved great success and international recognition. She was a supplier to the courts of Spain, Belgium, Bavaria, Brazil, Prussia, Norway, Brazil and Mexico and the Vatican. Merrick and his son have been awarded awards from many countries for their work. New jobs turned a backwater and poor province into a beautiful prosperous city, and after the death of the entrepreneur, residents named a square in his honor and erected a monument to him.

In 1906, the company commissioned the architectural company Miguel Mateta and his son Jeronimo to design the headquarters in Madrid. Even during the construction process, in 1908, the building received the architectural award of the Madrid City Council. The building number 16 on Calle Mayor is a typical example of Madrid Art Nouveau, although the architect Pedro Navascués this is a "restrained modernism" (Modernismo templado), closer to eclecticism.