January 19, 2011

Imagining where you live

Today I was at the house (now a museum) of César Manrique on Lanzarote. He was a 20th century painter and architect, and his former home demonstrates an astounding power of creation and imagination. It's built into five large bubbles in a huge lava stream from an old volcanic eruption, and those rooms are stunningly beautiful and very imaginatively immersed into the natural space created by those lava bubbles.The effect is accentuated by a very consistent use of colors (white paint for the ground and the bottom part of some of the walls, green plants, blue water pools, and red leather on the couches) and carefully implanted, elegant round and arched shapes. It's all the more impressive because this was literally imagined out of nothing but a quirky mess of rock and a couple of deep holes in it.

Source: Wikipedia
(I also fell in love there with a statue called Homenaje al mar, but that's something for another day.)

Manrique also designed some other attractive locations where artful surroundings (such as bars and pools, restaurants and a concert hall) are inserted into spectacular natural environments. They gain much of their character and uniqueness from this continuity between nature (well, certain specific and selected elements of nature) and art (again, primarily a certain style of architecture and sculpture prevailing in it). I visited a bunch of them, and again I was impressed with the imaginative way in which he carved this sort of beauty out of these locations.

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