Monday, October 29, 2012



Rasmus Spanggaard Troelsen
Onderzoeker ontwerpen / Researcher Design
01.01.11 – 31.12.11
My research focuses on the design of the Canary Island Lanzarote by César Manrique.

The poet John Donne wrote that “No man is an island”. However, the argument could be made that one man is Lanzarote; or rather that one man alone has shaped the image of Lanzarote. César Manrique (1919–1992) has designed everything on the island – from the road network to the uniforms worn by all museum personnel; from the regulations regarding the colour of window frames to the island’s logo.

Afraid of the effects that the growing global tourist industry might have on the island and its environment, but realising its economical potential, Manrique emerged in the late 60s with ideas of control and conservation. As a counterpoint to free-market hotel tower blocks for what he called the ‘avalanche of tourists approaching Lanzarote’, he proposed a combination of highly commercial elements and preservation of the natural milieu – a strong homogeneous image of an authentic (unspoiled) Lanzarote. This meant an architecture that emphasised the volcanic environment of the island, heavy restrictions on town planning, a uniform visual language and a narrow aesthetic field based on an invented folk tradition. This image of Lanzarote is still maintained today.

I plan to map out the history of design and César Manrique on Lanzarote, looking at both socio-political transformations and specific designed objects, in order to examine the relationship between power and form. The aim is to describe how the impenetrable image of Lanzarote functions; to draw parallels to a world that generally seems to become more and more designed as image; and to investigate how/if/where resistance to such ‘total design’ is possible.
The outcome will be an extended tour of the island.

More here

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