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ART CITY

Bilbao's commitment to artistic expression is intimately tied to the shift in the model of urban and economic development.

Not only is the Guggenheim Museum able to attract the most sophisticated contemporary art shows, but both the Fine Arts Museum and Bilbao Arte Foundation have also displayed a spectacular renewal, promoting programmes to produce and disseminate art of all types.

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Art in the street

Wandering around Bilbao, one can enjoy works by artists who let their imagination fly, turning the city into a veritable open air museum.

Such artists as: Salvador DALI, Eduardo CHILLIDA, Jorge OTEIZA, Miquel NAVARRO, Manolo VALDES, Jeef KOONS, Louise BORGOISE, Vicente LARREA, and many more, offer a fresh and novel perspective to a number of sites around the city.

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Urban Equipment

This section covers urban elements such as benches, litter bins, tree grates, street lights, bollards, bus-stops, signage, and so on.

Discover the city's identifiers, which more often than not go unnoticed.

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BILBAO DESIGN

The concept of design is so wide and varied that sometimes the boundary between art and other artistic disciplines becomes very thin, or even non-existent.

With design as its leitmotiv, this section is intended to be a hodgepodge of topics.

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Bilbao Art District

Bilbao Art District is born, a joint initiative of the galleries, museums and art major agents of the city, with the participation, support and cooperation of the City of Bilbao and the Provincial Council of Biscay.

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21/09/2012

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Las columnas de Alhóndiga Bilbao

Marble Columns

Marble Columns

Marble is the most prized of the materials chosen for this staging. The one with the longest history and the most difficult to work with. Three of the heaviest pillars holding up the AlhóndigaBilbao buildings have been conceived in Carrara, home of the world’s most famous marble. Master craftsman Silvio Santini, creator of important contemporary sculptures such as Max Bill, Graziano Pompili or Larry Kirkland, has transferred his experience in Rennaisance techniques to these designs and he has recreated details of some of the most memorable pieces in this material, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Brick Columns

Brick Columns

Castles, churches, fortifications… This medieval art-form is intimately related to bricks and these six columns remind viewers of their primitive craft manufacturing. In the heart of Umbria, carpenters from FBM create customised moulds for special pieces, which they mix and mould one by one. For this work, up to 16 different types of bricks have been created to build a single column. Around 4,000 were required to build all six. Of the set, the most outstanding is the pillar with the white capital, built in a Palladian style, a tribute to the traditional Ionic order of Greek columns.

Steel Columns

Steel Columns

Steel is an essential element in theatrical atrezzo and Rancati the benchmark firm in this sphere. In the same workshops where expert craftsmen create, transform and adapt weapons, suits of armour or jewels, three pieces have been designed that will endure far beyond the stage. Their construction has involved the combination of old craft methods with advanced technologies in steel sheet cutting. In this material, Art Deco or medieval styles become avant-garde pieces of 21st’century art.

Lecce Stone Columns

Lecce Stone Columns

The Lecce quarries in the South of Italy are the source of this pale-coloured stone, which has been worked for centuries by the Marroco family. These eight columns reflect Salento Baroque as this district’s traditional art is known. Lecce stone has also been used to make reference to the first examples of cave art, to the return to the rationality which characterised the Renaissance and the geometric shapes of Art Deco.

Terracotta Columns

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Terracotta Columns

There is also room for traditional pottery in the Atrium of Cultures. The pieces have been created by La Torre, one of the few companies that continue Luca Della Robbia’s Tuscan tradition of glazed terracotta. In the six columns designed for AlhóndigaBilbao, it has left the Renaissance pillars in their original colour and he has filled the more modern sculptures with this particular enamel.

Bronze and Aluminium Columns

Bronze and Aluminium Columns

Bronze, the first ever alloy in history, has given its name to an age lasting thousands of years in which weapons, coins and utensils were made using this material. The discovery of this and other metals have fostered flourishing industries like metallurgy in the Basque Country. Alfa Arte of Eibar, a company devoted exclusively to the production of art, has been the one commissioned to recall this important milestone in the AlhóndigaBilbao Atrium of Cultures. Its four proposals in bronze and aluminium review the splendour of Mesopotamia to the variety of Modern Art, passing through the Neoclassical trend which, in bronze, underlines even more intensely its commitment to ancient styles.

Wooden Columns

Wooden Columns

Behind the intense red lacquer, the dragon’s foot and the geometrical plant shapes of these columns, clearly inspired by Chinese art, lies wood. The most eye-catching pillars in AlhóndigaBilbao have been designed by Massimo Chessari, an expert in scenery creation for films and television. In the six pilasters, the wood takes on twisted and almost impossible shapes in the case of the eastern palisters, while exhibiting its robustness and soberness in those after the modern and Palladian style.

Cement Columns

Cement Columns

The Tecnostyle craft design, sculpture and décor workshop has produced the seven cement columns that recall the most important historical styles in history. Alessandro Bellini’s team undertake large theatrical and film productions for outstanding artists like Oscar-winning Dante Ferreti. Their expertise in building light-weight cement structures based on organic resins enables them to attain highly decorative shapes like those shown in AlhóndigaBilbao.

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