Category: Basque design

Cross of Gorbeia 115-years-old

On Saturday, November 12, the emblematic Cross of Gorbeia, one of the most distinct features in the Basque Country, will be 115-years-old. Mount Gorbeia, straddling the border between Bizkaia and Araba, is 1,482 meters (4,862 feet) high. It remains an important symbol, especially for Bizkaians, for whom it is their highest mountain. It is equally known for the imposing metal cross that stands at the summit, measuring around 17 meters (56 feet) high.

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The third cross of Gorbeia, erected some time around 1910. Photo of Indalecio Ojanguren by Ojanguren himself, c. early-20th century. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1899 Pope Leo XIII ordered that crosses be erected on the highest Christian mountains to herald the coming of a new century. As a consequence, a work commission was established in Zeanuri, Bizkaia, organized by the town priest, Juan Bartolomé de Alcibar, and presided over by the archpriest of Zigoitia, Araba, José María de Urratxa, to implement the pope’s orders by erecting a cross on the peak of Gorbeia. The construction project was headed by the architect Casto de Zavala y Ellacuriaga and had a budget of 50,000 pesetas. The original cross was 33 meters (108 feet) high. Delays to the project, however, mean that the cross was not installed in 1900, as originally planned, but a year later, on November 12, 1901. What’s more, the original cross only lasted a month and half, before collapsing as a result of the notoriously strong winds that are common on Gorbeia (local shepherds are reputed to have warned of this possibility from the outset). A second cross was then put up in 1903, although it, too, succumbed to gale-force winds in 1906. A third and final cross, which took much of its inspiration from the Eiffel Tower and was designed by Serapio de Goikoetxea and Alberto de Palacio y Elissague, was erected some time around 1910, this time measuring much less than the first two attempts.

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Mount Gorbeia, as seen from Vitoria-Gasteiz. Photo by Zarateman, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Shortly afterward, on October 13, 1912, following the recent creation of the Sporting Club of Bilbao, it organized a hiking excursion to the top of Gorbeia attended by 145 hardy individuals. This set in motion a tradition, that lasts to this day, for Bizkaians of all ages to make at least one visit to the emblematic summit of Gorbeia. This excursion is especially popular on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Information sourced from: http://www.deia.com/2016/11/05/bizkaia/costa/la-cruz-de-gorbea-115-anos-guiando-a-los-montaneros

Two Designers Unite the Basque Country

The New York Times recently reported on the efforts of a Basque industrial designer from Iparralde, Jean Louis Iratzoki, to collaborate with another Basque designer from Hegoalde, Ander Lizaso (see some of his creations here), with the aim of creating a multipurpose design studio inspired by the Basque Country on both sides of the border.

The two of them have already made waves with a table collection that subtly combines solid oak and iron forged at a historic ironworks in Navarre. Iratzoki is known for his signature of the world’s first bioplastic chairs made of a biodegradable plant-based polymer. Iratzoki was born in Donibane lohitzune (St. Jean-de-Luz) and recently designed the interiors of a luxurious eco-lodge in Saubion, north of Biarritz. For both Iratzoki and Lizaso, their collaboration will connect both the French and Spanish side of Basque Country:  “For both my partner Ander and me, that border doesn’t exist. We cross it everyday. We speak Basque, but also Spanish and French. We work in both southern and northern sides of the Basque country. And of course the products that we design travel much further; they can be exhibited in Milan, Cologne or Chicago.”

See the original report here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/arts/international/a-designer-unites-the-basque-country.html?_r=0

If you’re interested aspcets of design in the Basque Country, check out a couple of publications that are free to download courtesy of the Etxepare Basque Institute:

Architecture and Design, by Peio Aguirre, free to download here; and A Collection of Prints, by Miren Jaio, free to download here.