César Manrique, the artist and architect that made Lanzarote’s visual identity as we know it

César Manrique, the artist and architect that made Lanzarote’s visual identity as we know it


Over the course of twenty-five years, the island becomes his canvas: a full-scale work, in which the original nature goes hand in hand with its punctual transformation through interventions that sprout from the interpretation of the landscape and, at the same time, blend together with the landscape itself. Manrique writes that “Back from New York, I came here with the intention of transforming my native island in one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” and that he wants to protect Lanzarote from the defacing wave of the economic boom tourism, while also open it up to the world. His initial idea is to create a village for artists, but his friendship with José Ramírez Cerdá, his peer and president of the local Cabildo, changes his outlook.

The Spanish artist carves new routes through the volcanoes’ curves, flirts with the coast, dives deep into the dense network of caves that runs under the island. He hides a contemporary art, culture, and tourism center with a restaurant, a pool, and an underground auditorium in the Jameos del Agua, a treasure chest situated in the northern part of the island; when Rita Hayworth pays him a visit, she defines it “the eighth wonder of the world,” and she is probably right.





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