Friday, May 5, 2017

Lanzarote's architectural genius Manrique lives on in brilliant work

Cesar Manrique's beautiful concert hall was created in a volcanic cave. 
The native son's vision transformed his beloved island of Lanzarote in Spain's Canary Islands.

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
Lanzarote's unique volcanic architecture inspired Cesar Manrique.
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER
  One of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world, the Cueva de Los Verdes 
has been  protecting locals on Lanzarote for centuries.  It opened to the public
in 1964 and may be toured.  At picture's far right, Cookie aims her camera.


THE BRILLIANCE of a single man is responsible for the unique artistic look of the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
Cesar Manrique was born nearly 100 years ago, in 1919, served in the Spanish Civil War, and took a trip to New York in the early 1960s that changed his life.
Searching for "the real meaning of things," he found New York a place to indulge his artistic flights of fancy. He returned to Spain after a couple fertile years, lured to the U.S. by his cousin, Manuel Manrique, a New York psychoanalyst and writer.  New York's artists, journalists, writers, and bohemians made an impact. So did the crowds, which he compared to rats and detested.
 "Man was not created for this artificiality," he wrote. "We have an imperative need to return to the soil, to feel it, smell it."
A TRUE visionary and by far Lanzarote's most famous citizen, Manrique was a painter, architect, interior designer, gardener, sculptor, activist and environmentalist. His imprint on his beloved birthplace is universally acknowledged.  Our guide became teary-eyed describing his 1992 death -- ironically in an auto accident (he eschewed the increasing number of cars on his island).  He was 73. His home is now a fascinating foundation in his name, and may be toured by the public.  
LIKE EVERYTHING Manrique created, it makes brilliant use of the natural world. Built in 1968 on top of a trail from a 1730 volcanic eruption, the home incorporates volcanic bubbles into a unique living space.
Cesar Manrique -- visionary, Renaissance man --
who transformed Lanzarote into the Canary
Islands most unique and interesting of the group.
Cesar Manrique's home, above, is nestled near huge
  aloe vera fields and incorporates Lanzarote's  volcanoes.
The exterior is inspired by traditional Lanzarote architecture and the home incorporates the elements Manrique deemed essential for a well rounded life: conservation and study, artistic activity and cultural reflection. He also believed in respecting the natural environment and integrating it as artfully as possible into living space. His imagination was fueled and his vision shaped during his U.S. stay by both the artists he met and the crowds and congestion he avoided.
'WHEN I returned from New York, I came with the intention of turning my native island into one of the more beautiful places in the planet, due to the endless possibilities that Lanzarote had to offer," he wrote.
Bruce Keller relaxes on a 
Lanzarote volcanic rock chair. 
This vision came true. It is impossible to imagine today's Lanzarote without Manrique. We paid homage to this brilliant man one full day's tour of his beautiful island.
The Lagomar Bar, Restaurant and Museum is a popular
place to watch Lanzarote's ocean, birdlife and sunsets. 

 In the ancient capital of Villa de Teguise, we strolled charming churches
 and
 impressive monuments, then headed to spectacular island views from the Lagomar Museum and Bar. We explored another prime vantage point -- Peñas del Chach -- and visited an aloe vera plantation.  At Jameos del Agua with its unique volcanic tunnel and caverns, we sat in on the end of a string trio's sound test in an inspiring underground concert hall designed by Manrique.
It was a stunning experience and we hoped that the island's own maestro was listening.
viator.com/tours/Lanzarote
Cookie makes use of the aloe's healing juice, 
applying small cubes to her hands and face.

Welk Resort Theatre in northeast San Diego County, opens "The Music
Man" tonight, for a long run through July 23. -- photo by Ken Jacques
UP NEXT
: "The Music Man" is one of America's classic musicals and a favorite of Cookie's and Keller's.  Cookie was a young girl when she first saw the captivating story of a con man posing as a band leader. It swept her away -- along with Marian the Librarian, whom Harold Hill romances and finds himself changed. We attend the opening of this classic at Welk Resort Theatre. Join us, remembering to explore, learn and live. And catch us each weekend for a novel approach to the arts and nature-driven travel.

5 comments:

  1. Cannot wait to see Lanzarote for ourselves which we will soon do. Leaving Barcelona soon. Thanks for this lovely look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rhode Island RoadiesMay 6, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    We love Lanzarote and it's absence of high-rises. Your art and prose capture it's Creator's spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oregon Cruise JunkiesMay 7, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Wow. What a brilliant man. What a legacy he left.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oregon Cruise JunkiesMay 7, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Wow. What a brilliant man. What a legacy he left.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oregon Cruise JunkiesMay 7, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Wow. What a brilliant man. What a legacy he left.

    ReplyDelete