César Manrique called a lava field home. The late Canary Islands-based artist, designer and architect literally carved himself a niche on the island of Lanzarote in the hardened lava rock that populates the island. Manrique built his stunning home beneath the hardened lava, a subterranean eco-retreat complete with underground trees, a naturally fed pool, and five gorgeous volcanic chambers.
Back in 1730, Lanzarote experienced the world’s longest volcanic eruption, which lasted six years. A quarter of the island was submerged in lava, and has since formed the unique volcanic landscape that drew Manrique to the island as a child in the 1920s. Because of his love for the island, Manrique helped to prevent it from being overrun by touristic high rise hotels, advocating a law that no building could be higher than a palm tree, as well as other ecological practices that were adopted into the native way of life.
His amazing underground home is a tribute to both the beautiful island and his love for creating art. An underground palm tree top can be seen sprouting through a natural volcanic hole that leads to a red and white 1970s style lounge below.
Other rooms are built into the natural volcanic “bubbles,” which have formed rounded antechambers perfect for comfy cushioned benches and sitting areas. Each is naturally lit from the where the lava bubble burst above, creating a natural skylight. Outside a sunken garden occupies another bubble, near the pool that is fed with a natural spring.
Manrique was ahead of his time, a visionary in expertly combining the beauty of the natural landscape with sustainable design for living.