Embarking on a Journey to Fundacion Cesar Manrique, Lanzarote

Lanzarote, a captivating isle amidst the Atlantic waves near Africa, is part of Spain’s enchanting Canary Islands. This lesser-known gem, while not drawing the same crowds as its siblings Gran Canaria or Tenerife, has seen its tourism flourish thanks to the vision of a remarkable artist, Cesar Manrique. Our exploration of Lanzarote’s wonders begins at the Fundacion Cesar Manrique, the very crucible of his creativity and his abode for two decades.


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Understanding Cesar Manrique Cesar Manrique stands as a towering persona in Lanzarote’s cultural landscape. An architect and painter, Manrique became to Lanzarote what Antoni Gaudí is to Barcelona. His global odyssey took him from Madrid to New York before he returned to his birthplace, Lanzarote, with a mission to preserve its natural beauty through thoughtful architectural regulation.

His influence is profound and evident—Lanzarote boasts just a single high-rise building, a testament to his commitment to a low-profile skyline. The island’s architecture maintains a harmonious palette, a direct result of Manrique’s advocacy for aesthetic unity.

Beyond his architectural imprint, Manrique’s touch graces several key tourist sites across the island. The Fundacion Cesar Manrique, once his private residence, now stands as a monument to his legacy, inviting visitors to step into the world of a visionary artist and his relationship with the island he so adored.

The Genesis of Fundacion Cesar Manrique Upon Cesar Manrique’s return to his homeland of Lanzarote in 1966, his creative spirit was already entwined with the Los Jameos del Agua endeavor. It was here that Manrique’s philosophy took root – a philosophy that celebrated the fusion of nature with daily living, culminating in the creation of living art.

In his quest, Manrique was drawn to a lava-coated expanse near Tahiche. Amidst this stark volcanic terrain, a solitary fig tree had breached the surface, signaling life in the barren expanse. This sight sparked Manrique’s imagination, and he envisioned a dwelling unlike any other, born from the peculiar bubbles formed in the lava’s wake.

A few years on, Manrique settled into this embodiment of his Lanzarote dream – a residence and atelier that would later become a testament to his vision. His home soon became the canvas upon which he painted his advocacy for the island’s sustainable progress, cementing his role as a steward of Lanzarote’s environmental and cultural heritage.

Exploring the Fundacion Cesar Manrique Upon arrival at Fundacion Cesar Manrique, you’re greeted with a facade that echoes the Canarian architectural heritage. A quintessential Lanzarote homestead welcomes you with its white walls and wooden shutters, embodying the island’s traditional design.

However, this conventional aspect is merely the prelude to a remarkable experience. As you move beyond the threshold and into the abode, you are led to an enchanting garden and an artistically curated pool that sits like a gem amidst the tranquility.

Your journey through the foundation begins at the art gallery on the upper level. From there, it spirals down into the depths of Manrique’s innovative genius—the volcanic rooms. These spaces, crafted within the hollows of natural lava bubbles, showcase Manrique’s skill in harmonizing living spaces with the raw forms of nature. A sequence of five bubbles unveils living quarters, ingeniously linked by corridors and adorned minimally with essentials—a sofa here, a table there, interspersed with greenery and the soft sounds of a fountain. Here, functionality marries natural beauty, all while honoring the untouched character of the volcanic creations.

Continuing your exploration, you come across the captivating ‘Red Room’. It’s a space where crimson cushions and a matching statue depicting a couple draw your eyes, creating an ambience of warmth. Above, a fig tree reaches skyward through an opening, yearning for the sun’s embrace.

Stepping out from the vibrant hues, you find yourself in the garden cradled below the earth’s surface. Here lies a serene swimming pool, its blue waters forming a striking contrast against the surrounding black volcanic walls. This sunken courtyard is a palette of Lanzarote itself, weaving together the island’s quintessential colors of blue, green, and the omnipresent black of the lava stone.

Adjacent to the pool, another lava bubble beckons. Ascending from this natural hollow, you arrive at what was once Manrique’s personal studio, now transformed into an art space. This gallery offers a glimpse into his creative world, displaying Manrique’s own works.

Yet, it is the studio’s window that arguably encapsulates Manrique’s philosophy most profoundly. Designed to frame the raw lava flow, the window invites the landscape into the room, blurring the lines between the outside environment and the interior space.

In this area where nature, living space, and art converge, Manrique’s legacy is palpable. His penchant for integrating art with everyday surroundings is further evidenced by the presence of pieces by iconic artists like Picasso and Joan Miró, alongside Manrique’s own sculptures crafted from salvaged materials, adorning the outdoor garden.

To fully embrace the offerings of Lanzarote, renting a car is advisable due to the sparse public transport. Just a short drive from the capital, Arrecife, the Fundacion Cesar Manrique is easily accessible and open daily for visits from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with entry priced at 8€. A combined ticket at 15€ includes a tour of Manrique’s later residence in Haria.

If driving isn’t your preference, consider a comprehensive day tour that includes the foundation along with other island highlights, such as Los Jameos del Agua and LagOmar, offering a hassle-free experience.

Before departing, the onsite café provides a spot for refreshment, and the souvenir shop allows a piece of Manrique’s vision to be taken home. For more detailed visiting hours and information, it’s best to check the foundation’s official resources.

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