Lanzarote – the island of César Manrique
During our holiday we explored the northern part of Lanzarote, also called the “César Manrique route”. César Manrique was born in Arrecife, nowadays the capital city of the island. He was a painter, sculptor, architect and building consultant. His style can be considered as non-figurative with a huge love for the nature around him.
He traveled the world, studied in Madrid, lived in New York and Paris and returned in 1966 to Lanzarote for good. The tourist industry was beginning to develop on the island (the first hotel was built in 1964!) and Manrique promoted a model for territorial intervention to protect the local architecture. You can admire his work over the whole island, for example:
- Jameos del Agua
- His house in Tahiche, nowadays the headquarter of the Cesar Manrique Foundation
- Mirador del Rio (lookout)
- The cactus garden (Jardin de Cactus)
- The houses on the island. The houses are all white and may not be higher than 4 floors with green, brown or blue frames and shutters
He designed an atmosphere of the natural surroundings where the local architecture are interrelated with the modern ideas.
So had César Manrique the opinion that citizens can be directly in touch with nature’s beauty. He did not want the unique culture and nature were damaged by mass tourism that emerged in the eighties. He also made sure that there were no visible signs alongside the roads. He did this out of love for the island. He also made paintings, sculptures and he published a catalogue-book in 1974 (Lanzarote.Arquitectura inertia: Lanzarote.Unedited architecture).
Fundacion César Manrique
We visited his house (Fundacion Cesar Manrique) near Tahiche and it was very impressive! The house was built around a lava cave where you can admire works by himself and Pablo Picasso. When César Manrique bought the land, he discovered five lava bubbles. These lava bubbles are connected with corridors and staircases. The atmosphere is intimate and inspiring and he has built the house with respect for the environment. From the salons you enter the garden with a large barbecue and a pool. It’s a true oasis!
César Manrique died on September 25, 1992 in a car accident. You can visit his house, the Fundación César Manrique, near Tahiche.
I fell in love with the landscape that he has created and it think it is very interesting and a nice thought that his dreams and plans that he created, continues after his death.
Have you ever been at Lanzarote?