Optical Centre

Year
1994
Location
San Pedro del Pinatar
Architect
Martín Lejarraga
Client
Paloma Opticians

The truck moved with difficulty, we went up the Aurora street and twisted to the left, -Morería street- the city, as a star, had exploded into pieces and these were the last recognizable ones -, we advanced some more meters and there it was, a label of an Irish Pirates tavern film, said:
‘Rebel Tattoo, Tattoos’

– Stop, it is here, I said to the driver, that looked at me horrified. I went down and I entered the premises. It was a small square room with a very low ceiling and the walls filled with carefully framed drawings, loose comic pages, photos of half-naked women with tattoos and the music of Joe Cocker – the authentic one, the best one, the black – invading everything.

Behind a very small counter two men moved ordering stuff. Without any doubt, they were Alejo y Manolo. In the Tattoo Society, that shares floor with the one of taxidermists, they had given thier names to me. They were the only ones that could do something like that.

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– Well, you will say, it is painful, you know, you don’t look dizzy, where do you want it, have you brought the trace, we don’t have the whole day.

I told them the story.

They thought I was crazy, began to insult me and it was close that they kick me out there. I was able to calm them, they spoke me of tattoo techniques, the different needles and their effects under the skin, about the Americans and their extravagances – we thought you were one of them-, of the Arcimboldi’s pictures and hell angels. I told them of the independence of the support, visual sharpness, Indian opticians, talking architecture, of fluxus, Maciunas and his typesetter works and its application to the optotypes.

We unloaded the material, laminar glass pieces of different composition, format, thickness and transparency. They began the work, – it will be necessary to do it in several sessions -, they said.

At first it was the black ink and the white glass, and later the white ink, and the colours,… what was going to be a session of some hours it turned into an endless session, they only stopped to have something to eat and to go out to the street to stretch the legs.

The pieces unloaded were bigger and bigger, but at this moment the group of bricklayers went ahead, – following my instructions-, invading contiguous rooms, opening new access, propping up. We arrived to ‘Pasaje Conesa’ – a fabulous space of four levels height – and there we installed the last pieces.

It had been hard, but the work was already finished.

I came back often to that place. They have been adding photos to the wall of their last works with Herzog&Meuron, Nouvel…

There is only one thing that has not changed, they continue listening to the music of the authentic one, the best one, the black, Joe Cocker.

Publications

On Diseño nº 180
Proyecto Contract nº 13