THAT TIME WHEN CEMENT WAS THE LAST TREND...

We suggest a tour of some amazing buildings and monuments at a time when cement was the building material par excellence. In the 60s and 70s, many avant-garde architectural projects opted for a resounding and forceful aesthetic, often with reminiscences of Soviet sobriety, which old Europe channelled into public buildings and monuments of great importance. The material was versatile, ductile, resistant and affordable. On the other hand, its final finish does not require painting for its conservation, and that lowers the costs of maintenance and production. Sometime later it was learned that cement of poor quality is irreversibly affected by "aluminosis", and this resulted in serious crumbles and cracks in many neighbourhoods in the outskirts of large cities.

“Tito’s fist”, by Boško Kućanski.

In fact, one of the cases we bring here is the monument to the partisans of the former Yugoslavia who, under the orders of Josip Tito, defended with their lives the bridge of the Neretva River in the battle of the same name, when the German and Italian troops threatened with the occupation in February and March of 1943. The tribute was a colossal fist, futuristic in style, made by the artist Boško Kućanski, winner of an open public call for projects for the memorial. The work was erected in Makljen and was officially inaugurated on November 12th, 1978, in an act attended by Josip Tito himself. The monument was popularly called "Tito’s fist". Today this work has collapsed due to lack of conservation.

L: Honoring the revolution of the people of the region of Moslavina against German occupation (Podgaric, Croatia) - R: Memorial to the fallen in the II World War (Niksic, Montenegro)

Among the most amazing constructions, memorials occupy a prominent place, because by not having a functional use, they leave more room for imagination and design. The sculptures that homage to the fallen in armed conflicts in Eastern Europe are the most enigmatic. They condense the aesthetic heritage of the Soviet period and the Cold War with a futuristic, cold and robust style that has already become the paradigm of an entire era and we must understand in their own context. These monumental works are known in Serbian as "spomeniks", a term widely accepted to refer to them, and means precisely that, sculptures of large dimensions created to commemorate an event.

L: Dedicated to victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp (Jasenovac, Croatia) - R: The fists-shaped Babanj monument, honoring fallen Yugoslavian fighters in World War II (near Niš, Serbia)

Most of these works are abstract and avoid including specific references to an individual or social group. Likewise, they do not incorporate recognisable elements or reproduce human figures. We must not forget that the societies affected by an armed conflict retain a repository of memory that extends over time and that goes beyond the specific events that took place, and in cases where there are also internal divisions for religious and ethnic reasons, besides the political ones, abstraction seems a good option. Its appearance, however, leads many to be ironical about the extraterrestrial influence of these designs.

Cultural Heritage Institute of Spain

In our country cement also boomed at the time. A good example is the headquarters of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain, located in the university area of Madrid. This building is a project of the architects Fernando Higueras and Rafael Moneo, who obtained in 1961 the National Architecture Prize. Initially conceived to house the "Artistic Restoration Center", the final execution of the design in 1965, which counted on the collaboration of Antonio Miró, reduced its dimensions a little and maintained its circular structure. The building was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2001 in the monument category.

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.