Design, Marmite & Lanzarote

Cesar Manrique wind mobile

Cesar Manrique wind mobile

Now that the nights are drawing in and winter has come a-knocking, my thoughts are turning to warmer climes. For a guaranteed dose of sunshine, my money’s on the Canary Islands – Lanzarote to be precise. Here’s why…

Lanza-grotty Or Lanza-hottie?

Many moons ago, I used to live and work on the island of Lanzarote. It’s got a real Marmite factor – people either love or hate it. Reason being, it’s incredibly volcanic. Unlike some of its siblings, like super-lush Gran Canaria and La Palma, this Canary isle is incredibly rocky and barren. In fact, it looks a lot like the moon. So much so, it was was used by NASA as a testing zone for the lunar buggies and once doubled up as an alien planet in an episode of Doctor Who. While some people are turned off by the scorched backdrop – dubbing the island ‘Lanza-grotty’ – I adore it. When teamed with the traditional white sugar-cube houses, the scenery takes on a sleek, almost monochrome effect. To my mind, it’s very much Lanza-hottie.

Los Jameos del Agua, Lanzarote

Los Jameos del Agua, Lanzarote

Hail Cesar!

But the landscape is just part of my Lanzarote love affair. I’m also a big advocate of the island’s most famous son, the artist and designer, Cesar Manarique. A contemporary of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, he is one of Spain’s foremost modern artists. His handiwork can be seen across Lanzarote. He went on a crusade to safeguard the traditional look and feel of his beloved island – ensuring the tourist concrete jungles that blighted neighbouring Tenerife et al never befell Lanzarote. It’s down to him that there are no high-rises on the island. He also expounded the marriage of art with nature. This lead to him spearheading a number of funky design projects, including a series of kaleidoscopic wind mobiles, a grotto-come-lido complex, and a restaurant fuelled by a the heat of a volcano.

Lanzarote Legacy

I recently wrote a post for the Thomson travel blog about Senor Manrique and his Lanzarote legacy. You can read it here.

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