When architecture „talks“ to the surrounding area
Rocio Romero Rivas
„For me, Lanzarote was the most beautiful place on earth. And I realised that if others were able to see it through my eyes, then everyone would feel the same way.“ These words were spoken by César Manrique, the multi-talented architect, artist and ecologist whose work played a vital role in ensuring that this pearl of the Canary Islands – declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO – would preserve its untamed beauty and traditional architecture in harmony with the landscape without succumbing to the temptation of large resorts.
An outstanding example of a project that follows these principles is the Oasis Lanz Beach Mate hotel complex, located in Costa Teguise in the central-eastern part of the island of Lanzarote six kilometres from the capital Arrecife.
The hotel was recently renovated by the Madrid and Santander-based architecture firm Zooco, a group of architects whose work has won national and international awards and who were recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most creative companies in the Spanish business world.
The structure of the complex resembles a small town, with a kind of central plaza dotted with swimming pools and gardens, flanked by numerous small two and three storey white buildings offering a variety of accommodation options, including double rooms with lounges, studio flats and self-catering apartments. All the units have been remodelled in accordance with a soft colour palette of white, beige, grey and wood tones enhanced by touches of blue. „To reinforce the unity of the complex, we stripped away all the decorative and ornamental elements that created a feeling of disorganisation and confusion,“ explain the architects from Zooco. „We chose the pre-existing white as the basic colour, enhanced by blue on all the external joinery and fencing, as well as the use of glass, basalt and bamboo. The overall effect is at once elegant and appealing and blends in harmoniously with the environment. We also created a detail – a distinctive grid made from different materials – that occurs repeatedly throughout the complex. Inside the guest rooms, it can be seen in the wooden headboards and glass doors leading to the bathroom, while outside the complex it appears in metallic blue in the service area and in the two large pergolas at the entrance to the main reception building.“
This building, located in the central north-west area, contains a shop, a gym, a service area with laundry, spaces reserved for hotel staff and a splendid lobby with a striking, large wooden slat structure that encloses the reception, back office, services and living areas. In this large space, the interior design harmonises perfectly with the Maps collection concrete-effect slabs from Cerim (made in Florim) in a 60×120 cm size and in the Light Grey natural colour chosen for the floors of the hotel reception and lobby. The wood contrasts with the industrial simplicity and lightness of concrete, giving the rooms an informal and refined feel.