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Santa Clara Island, San Sebastian, Spain
Photograph: Shutterstock

This lighthouse on the Basque coast is now home to an incredible art installation

Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias created the sculpture as a place for quiet contemplation

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson

With the constant barrage of work emails, Slack messages and breaking news alerts that constitute modern life in the city, we could all use a place for quiet contemplation. A scenic spot where peaceful reflection is encouraged. 

Somewhere, maybe, like this epic new art installation in the Basque city of San Sebastián. Nestled on a small island in La Concha bay lies a disused lighthouse that now holds an awesome new sculpture by Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias. 

Known for her site-specific pieces that meditate on the relationship between humans and the natural environment, the Madrid-based sculptor has excavated the floor of the hollowed-out lighthouse to create a cascading bronze sculpture that almost looks like it’s part of the rocky island terrain.

Hondolea (Marine Abyss) by Cristina Iglesias, a kinetic sculpture in an old lighthouse in Spain
Photograph: José Luis López de Zubiria

Titled ‘Hondalea’ (which Google translate says is Basque for ‘bottom’), the artwork is meant to resemble the Basque coast’s unusual geology, with water features mimicking the foaming waves of the surrounding windswept bay. 

Part exhibition and part place of pilgrimage, the iconic San Sebastián building has been transformed into a space for contemplation, perfectly in tune with the city’s natural surroundings. 

With boats running between the coast and the island throughout the summer months, those who make the €4 trip out to the lighthouse will be able to cast aside all their mundane problems and, quite literally, stare into the abyss instead. Mood.

Big fan of lighthouse-based artworks? Check out this colourful specimen by fellow Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel.

Plus: the UK’s coolest art festival just opened – and it’s only an hour from London.

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