I love this photo
It was taken in Lanzarotte, in Cezar Manrique’s house.
César Manrique was an artist and architect who was born in Lanzarote. The first time we visited there we couldn’t help but observe his huge influence on the Island and how the tourist industry has developed there.
Lanzarote is a small volcanic island in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa. It is the Canary Island that is still most dominated by its volcanic history. The eruption of Timanfaya (the mountain of fire) in 1730 and 1824 totally devastated the southern third of the island creating a blackened, lifeless malaise of cinders, ash and lava. Both eruptions considerably increased the size of the island.
The black volcanic landscape is hauntingly beautiful, breathtaking to visit, the earth just 200 years old. Driving through the twisted, and convoluted mounds of clinker and ash, a completely barren landscape we understood why César Manrique dedicated his life to helping others to appreciate the beauty of his homeland.
Manrique was born in Arrecife, studied Art in Madrid and prospered in New York and Paris. The package holiday industry reached the Canaries in the 1960’s and when he returned from the USA in 1964, he started his campaign of awareness with the people of Lanzarote, to respect the style of the Traditional Architecture. He explained to his people that they shouldn’t demolish the houses or the parts of them that were in bad shape to build a garage or to expand using aluminum instead of wood. He also convinced the Government of the Island to ban the use of billboards on the highways and landscape.
Many of his ideas became law, such as the rules that no new buildings may be more than two stories (except in Arrecife and tourist zones) high, and that window shutters must be plain wood or green except by the sea where blue is allowed. While new costal developments disregard some rules, there are still no high-rise hotels.
He started designing buildings to enhance some of Lanzarotte’s beautiful caves and lava flows, and made them into extraordinary attractions. His first construction was the grotto of the Jameos del Agua, perhaps the most spectacular, with its famous natural Auditorium. He built a house in the typical Lanzarote style to be used as model and example, the Casa del Campesino
His creations, integrated in the natural landscape are notorious for their simplicity. As an interior architect he accomplished a harmony of space and volume, an example being the Mirador del Rio, a cliff top building celebrating a breathtaking view of Isla Graciosa
His desire to live with the volcanic lava led him to build his own house in the Taro de Tahiche. A unique beauty and example of a house integrated amidst nature, building an oasis in the center of a river of petrified bluish-black lava. It would later turn into ‘La Fundación César Manrique’
Lanzarote is César Manrique’s most important work of art. His work and influence have marked the external aspect of the island. The natives say that he has “made” Lanzarote.
“For me, it was the most beautiful place on earth and I realize that if they were capable of seeing the island through my eyes, then they would think like me. Since then I made it a point to show Lanzarote to the world”
For other interpretation of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge check out ‘Inside’