Alberdi Forja emerged over 50 years ago from the family’s blacksmith workshop. Founded by Juan Alberdi, today it is his son, Jon, who with more than 45 years of experience continues with the tradition.
Their specialization, methodology and vast knowledge within the field of artistic forge has enabled them to reach standards which would, otherwise, be very hard to reach nowadays. For this reason, it has been selected to carry out a series of works of great relevance and uniqueness. Registered in the Craftsmen Registry in Vizcaya since the very beginning, they have been a founding member of various associations for the development of craftsmanship (among them: Biartea and the Centro Integral de Artesanía in Erandio).
In Alberdi Forja they work with iron, from the most traditional forms to the most avant-garde ones. They carry out different types of works, including the traditional forging characteristic of the Basque Country, Art Nouveau and Art-Deco elements…, creating all sorts of iron pieces (handrails, fences, doors, rails, bed headrests, locksmithing elements, etc.). These works are both new creations manufactured on request as well as restoration works and completion of previous ones. They carry out the reproduction or the complete and faithful restoration of original designs and models, with the maximum fidelity to the original piece, both in terms of materials as well as measurements and shapes, retrieving the different pieces and forged elements (macollas, finishing and decorative elements, collars, etc.). Integrating new elements in centenary works, respecting the tradition with which they were carried out, is one of the greatest challenges that tend to arise.
To carry out these works, they consider it essential to continue using the forge and anvil in the same way as blacksmiths did, in a traditional way, using for that purpose pincers of different shapes and forms, hammers (from the lightest to other heavier ones – until 7 kg) dies and other different tools. In Alberdi Forja they are capable of forging by hand and forge welding solid squares of up to 35mm thick.
All the aforementioned has turned Alberdi Forja into the adequate professionals to carry out forge works and restorations of unique and complex works.
Jon Alberdi made his apprenticeship in the family forging workshop, under the guidance of his father, Juan Alberdi Artiñano.
Even if there is no official record of him having carried out teaching as such, various blacksmiths have learnt their craft at the workshop Alberdi Forja.
Among his many works it is worth mentioning the interventions taken place in the following buildings, all of which relevant within the Artistic Heritage of Vizcaya:
– Palace of the Council, in Bizkaia, Bilbao
Manufacture – complete and faithful copy of the original exterior fences of the west and main façades, protecting the garden.
– Casa de Juntas, in Gernika (1982-1985)
Complete restoration of the wrought iron grilles closing the perimeter. Manufacture and reproduction of the lanzones, diagonal struts, spirals and wrought iron grilles of the inferior border.
–Montefuerte Palace – Euskal Museoa (1986)
Complete restoration of the access doorways. Manufacture of wrought iron grilles.
Manufacture of the wall lights, shields and other elemnts, reproduced thanks to the models of the original pieces.
Restoration of the crowning element of the closing frame. Manufacture of forged pieces, to replace the original ones, which were completely damaged.
–Municipal Library in Bilbao, Edificio El Sitio (1988)
Manufacture of two sections of the main handrail of the building for its initial extension.
Complete restoration of the main central handrail. Manufacture of wrought iron grilles. Manufacture of new balusters from the retrieved former ones and exact reproduction of the interior handrails.
– Ethnographic Museum, in Bilbao (1989)
Manufacture of the wrought iron doorway, access to the cloister, exact replica of the former existing one. Reproduction of finishing pieces with low-fusing alloys. Manufacture – Reproduction of the closing grilles of the building parting from the original existing ones. Manufacture, parting from the retrieved former balusters, of the exterior and interior handrails.
–Oriol Palace, in Portugalete
Restoration of the Neo-Gothic wrought iron grilles, which includes the manufacture of the floral elements in the crowning parts of them (plants, petals and leaves made of iron sheets chiselled and reinforced manually, in a process which is basically forgotten today, since it was a very specific branch of the craft in its time).
– Edificio Guridi, in Bilbao (2013)
Art nouveau building dating 1902. The reason behind the restoration was the consolidation of all the types of unions between the different pieces and materials which were extremely deteriorated. The renovation of joints using spherical rivets was carried out because of some non-weldable wrought iron materials.
– Casa-Palacio Viuda de Epalza, in Bilbao (2014)
Complete restoration of all the balconies and baluster grilles made of forged iron. Reinforcement of rivets and brackets, and reconstitution of those parts which were in need of repair. Disassembly of the original bronze finishes located in the corners, many of them deteriorated and some of them even detached.
–Historic Provincial Archive of Vizcaya (2016)
Restoration of the hinged grilles accessing the ground floor, which were not used at the time (and were completely unadjusted). Disassembly and complete assembly of them. Complete restoration of the frames and the rotating and fastening elements.
– Others: Urquijo Palace in Llodio, Edificio Sota in Bilbao, Arriaga Theatre in Bilbao, Caserío Uriondo nº 4 in Zeberio, Caserío-Restaurante Kamiñoko in Forua, Caserío-Restaurante Lezika in Santimamiñe, Cafetería Antiguo Boulevard in Bilbao, Cafetería Iruña in Bilbao, art nouveau restaurant Víctor Montes, in the Plaza Nueva in Bilbao.