Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lanzarote, Canary Islands - Fundacion Cesar Manrique

Yes, you read that right, Manrique again.  But this time we're heading to his home... or what was formerly his home.  And I'm a big believer that you hire a landscaper who's yard looks good (ie don't hire the guy that lives behind us in Attleboro) and if you want a great artist or architect, look at where he lives as an example.  This guy's home is stunning...there is truly no words to describe this home and the pictures will not do it justice.

Weaving thru nature in so many different ways, he has incorporated his natural landscape like no one else I've ever seen, not even Gaudi (gasp!).  However, as I mentioned before, his work definitely reminds me a bit of Gaudi and how he does incorporate nature into his work. 

Manrique lived in this home from the 60s to the 80s and then he moved to his second home in more rural Haria where he was able to live with more privacy.  The home is located at the edge of a lava field and upon first glipse is only one floor but is in fact two levels - an upper level and a subterranean level.  The home is now a museum that showcases much of his art which quite honestly, I was less interested in... mainly because the kids were with us and I had time to focus on the structure more than the artwork. 

However for a little background on this amazing man let's start with the fact that he was born and raised on Lanzarote.  He attended college in Tenerife and Madrid and then continued on to New York.  Eventually he returned to Lanzarote and was dismayed to see how the tourism industry was affecting his beloved island.  And so he became involved with urban development and and sustainable and responsible tourism.  And so he campagined for conrolled, sympathetic development which meant traditional architectural styles, white washed buildings and that all buildings would be low rise.  Because he know that visitors would want to see more than just the beach and enjoy the sun, he began designing visitor attractions - 7 of them:  Jameos del Agua; the Casa-Museo del Campesino (we did not see this); El Diablo; the Mirador del Rio; MIAC (did not see this either); Cueva de los Verdes and Jardin del Cactus (didn't see this one too).  The year after he died in 1992, Lanzarote was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in recognition for the islanders' respect for their unique environment and the preservation of the landscape which was much in thanks to Manrique. 

As you walk in, you are greeted with color of flowers all around you.  This is something that I have not seen much of on this island.  You also see trees that look like they are coming out of the ground but are, in fact, coming from the subterranean level of the home.  There are many parts of his home that are open to the elements, something that is not much of an issue in this climate where there is very little rain and the temperatures rarely dip below 70 during the daytime even in the winter. 

The boys in the hotel lobby waiting to go on another adventure

Vineyards in the front of Manrique's home


Entrance to the home - love the flowers!

Josh and Liam inspecting some flowers

That white crescent on the lower right side is actually a light from the lower floor - this tree is growing from inside the house

Another tree that is growing thru the house

Water feature with lava bridge

Huge panoramic window - would love that in my living room!

Have to go outside to go downstairs...there was another stairway inside but it was closed to the public

Yes, this is all a part of his downstairs level - incorporating nature, remember?

The hallway... there were several like this which was very cool

A living space downstairs with the open ceiling for the tree

Another living space with another tree

Outdoor area - sweet grill and next to it is an outdoor dining area

Outdoor dining area

Lava bridge

Water feature

One of the more famous parts of his house is how he literally built the wall around the lava so that lava "flows" into the house.  I expected this to be an open window with no glass but there is actually glass that goes right into the top of the lava rock.

Aidan said this area reminded him of Gaudi... I think we have a budding architect/artist on our hands.  He's very into both Gaudi and now Manrique.

My boys...

Josh took some scenic flower pics...perhaps an artist here as well? 
A late bloomer?  Sorry, had to do it :)

Manrique's logo

Another flower

Manrique designed many of these wind "chimes" throughout the island each one uniquely different from the rest


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