Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bucket List.

I never really liked school. I was shy, and nerdy, and gawky. I was too tall too fast, and just didn't fit in, something that I wish I'd known I would grow to appreciate.

Mostly I found school quite dull. Granted, very important, but dull. There are only a few things that still stick out today - and one of those things was an Art Theory class on the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. I remember loving how different it was - how unlike any other building it was. It looked so much like something that shouldn't be able to exist. It's curved lines, impossible shapes and hanging forms seemed highly dreamlike and I wondered how a structure plated in titanium could possibly hold itself up.

That day, unknowingly, I started my bucket list. One day I would go to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and see this amazing structure for myself. One day I would put meaning to those impossible photographs from that Art Theory class. One day I would touch those titanium plates for myself, and understand what had been created from the imagination of Frank Gehry, the architect who designed this incredible building.

Today was that one day.

The Guggenheim Museum was a feast for the eyes, originally designed to catch the light – and with all those sheets of titanium it certainly does that! It’s not at all surprising that the final cost of the building was $89 million. I think it was very well spent.

The whole building seems to contradict normal design ideals – this certainly is not a 4-walled conventional building as we are so used to. This design writhes and contorts around unseen lines, as if a child has put a crayon to a page and drawn a wonderfully squiggly shape. We each carried a phone handset around with us – our own personal tour guide – which filled us in on a lot of the details about the building, and each installation/exhibition. Computers were used heavily in the construction of the building, and robots were used to cut many of the tiles and bricks to ensure they fit together. As the majority of the walls are curved the precision of technology was relied on heavily.

Built nearby the Bilbao harbour this building is both reminiscent of a boat and a fish, with it’s curved shapes and scale-like plates of titanium. Even the elevator casing has a fish-like quality to it. I was intrigued and amazed and speechless. Visiting the Guggenheim was a dream come true, and it completely surpassed expectations.

I really enjoyed the whole experience. The exhibitions were intriguing and thought provoking. They were interactive, and really made you want to spend some time looking at them - which is unusual for me, I tend to get quite bored in museums and art galleries. That definitely didn't happen at this one.

My beautiful cousin Maxine joined us for the day, and probably snapped more photos than I did - we have to do a big swap later as I have many photos of her and she has even more of me!

Outside the museum we encountered this beautiful 'puppy of flowers' - an extra treat to finish off a perfect day!

And, speaking of treats, Maxine and I each had one of these hot chocolates as we finished our tour - it was heaven in a cup. Creamy to the point of being sludgy, it tasted like they'd heated up a whole block of chocolate for us to drink. Or, as Maxine put it, pudding in a cup.

 Thank you Guggenheim Museum.

Bucket list. Check.

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