Barcelonan artist Alfonso Alzamora first began life in painting, before realising that his artistic raison d’être lay more in the world of sculpture. His signature use of simple two and three-dimensional geometric shapes that, as a whole, act as a metaphor for underlying essential truths, cleverly link the artistic mode of minimalism with baroque ideas of eternity. A message that is nowhere more vividly or poignantly rendered than in his 2012’s sculptural piece, The Garden of Memory.
Commissioned by Rosa María Esteva for the lobby of Barcelona’s design haven, Hotel Omm, The Garden of Memory consists of 12 aluminium cubes of 60x60x60 cm each, 7 of them forming a column 360cm high, and the other 5 loose, by its side. The vertical, imperfectly aligned sculpture represents the movement and symbol of a cypress tree, traditionally known as the ‘tree of hospitality’ in Catalonia. Meanwhile the loose blocks are meant as accompanying bushes in Alfonso Alzamora’s artistic, minimalist garden.
The cypress tree used to be planted near farmhouse entrances as a symbol of welcome, informing the traveller of shelter, food and hospitality. In this case, the tree is placed in Hotel Omm’s lobby, right next to the reception; where the shelter, food and hospitality is that bit more luxe and design – just like Alfonso Alzamora’s representation of the tree itself.
The aspect of memory then comes into play in this artistic installation with the typographic carving into each of the cubes’ corners of the names of Rosa Esteva’s (then five) grandchildren. The tree and family, however, have grown considerably since its commission in 2012, with twelve blocks now signalling a true Catalan and Barcelonan welcome, as well as larger Christmases for Hotel Omm owner, Rosa Esteva.
For artist Alfonso Alzamora, sculpture has always been ‘defined by two elements: its formal structure and the space it inhabits.’ In the case of The Garden of Memory, both form and space are symbolic bastions of Barcelona's art and design scene; and here exists as a living, breathing garden and tree, that will continue to grow as the legacy of Hotel Omm does.
For more on all things art + design Barcelona, have a peek in our Travel Journal at Barcelona’s Art Hubs, our Barcelona Design Guide, spy Gaudí from your window and sit at the chef’s bar at award-winning Hotel Omm restaurant, Roca Moo, all before chillaxing in the luxe Spaciomm spa, a world away from the hustle and bustles of Catalonia’s greatest city.
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