Looking back, it could have been the sunshine… The bright blue sky was such a contrast to the cold grey clouds of Cumbria in early March.

But it wasn’t. There was something about the shape of Faro2 that actually spoke to me…

It looks crazy – the words emerging on the screen here. Sounds even more lunatic putting it into a mystically oriented blog-slot, and yet, why should one place – or ‘space’ – be more special than another? Surely such things speak for themselves … or not at all?

Let’s relive that dramatic encounter…

I’ve gazed on remote stone circles that felt lifeless, but this place – this unlikely exotic and largely abandoned place – reaches across hundred of metres to make me smile. Bring that camera here, it says. You’ll not be disappointed..

It’s not on the tourist map – unless you’ve got a very old one. This is our second visit to Maspalomas, Gran Canaria. We’ve been coming here for the past two years for a winter week of much-needed sun. Our hotel is an eight-minute walk away. We found it last year but didn’t have time to explore. My wife is not the same kind of ‘urban explorer’ as I am and is soaking up the sun by the pool.

Which is great, because there’s somewhere I need to photograph. I’ve sneaked out for a walk. And possibly a cold beer.

No-one said go and visit Faro2. It’s got ‘concrete cancer’, but its not contagious. One of the reception staff who was a child when they built it told us. Going to cost a fortune to demolish.

So they don’t… forty years on, freshly dropped from the blue sky. Still as amazingly energetic as the day they opened it – somewhere back in the 1980s.

(Above: the very strange and (to my eyes) beautiful giant ‘saucer shape’ of the FARO2 centre reveals its entrance)

The words ‘SHOPPING CENTRE’ lie like a scar over the top of what is a very beautiful construction; its proportions gentle and pleasing to the eye. Somehow its name – the smaller sign – FARO2, is much more in tune. Designers always say use odd numbers of things in arrangements. It’s dated and the faded pink renders it a very odd number. Works for me. Very post-apocalypse…

It was weird… I’ve never experienced anything like it, before. A sense of a building actually welcoming you… Perhaps it has something to do with photographers, and their ability to compose shots that show things off ? Even from a distance, I could tell it was mainly derelict…

(Above: there’s even a pub)

Yet there is activity. Lots of it. And there’s a bar-pub.. and quite a few abandoned men drinking beer. But I’m not ready for that, yet, even though the afternoon is hot.

(Above: one of the biggest bicycle rental shops I’ve ever seen. And it wasn’t there last year.. Derelict? What’s going on?)
(Above: the upper level is closed off. But just one person on patrol. Hmmm)

I was weaned on sci-fi. Here was a building that – usage aside – was straight out of that genre…especially tales of devastated landscapes where the survivors clustered around to create a new ‘home’; or point of congregation.

Not Mad Max, more subtle than that… Something about a group of local folks who loved a place so much they wanted to save it. A bit like Covent Garden in London.

Faro2 fell to earth… It’s not fanciful, it told me so when I glimpsed its exotic curves above the rooflines of the nearby houses. The now-revealed circular mezzanine confirms it… Pure spaceship.

And now, by some fluke, or the quantum flickering of synchronicity, the iron-mesh barrier to the upper levels has been moved by one of the crew emptying yet another closed shop.

(Above, the barrier removed, I sprint up to the circular middle floor. I’m alone and with camera…)

He says something. I don’t speak Spanish, and he can tell, so, he shrugs and, unmolested, I bound up the stairs with my camera at the ready. He’s probably gone to get his mate who does speak English to come and throw me out.

So I run and photograph while I can…

(Above: the imposing curve of the mezzanine floor)
(Above: the steak restaurant in the middle is not only posh, it’s still open!)

(Above and below: the sheer scale of Faro2 is revealed from above)

(The architecture is striking)

(From the far end: the distant mountains)

(Above: sad now, but, with a bit of work, Jinxie could live here?)

(Above: empty spaces under the sun)

(And then its time to go.. but not before a cold drink)

I collect my thoughts. A cold beer at Cleopatra’s Bar helps. There’s a thriving if small supermarket next door, but I only want a beer. Across from me a man who should be named Jinxie is looking back… perhaps seeing that I’ve been smitten and would I like to join their restoration action group?

And, for the full experience, we need to walk back via the bridge that crosses the ‘walkway to the mountains’. This ‘canal’ is an overflow from the distant peaks to carry the melt-waters to protect the resort of Maspalomas. Residents report they have never seen water in it, but it’s there if needed!

(Above: The overflow canal and linear ‘walkway to the mountains’. People do, apparently!)

©Stephen Tanham 2023

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

5 Comments on “Faro2 : The Shape that fell to Earth

  1. What a dramatic looking place, Steve, and so odd. Your photographs reminded me of scenes from a JG Ballard novel, (Kingdom Come, I think) set in a decaying shopping centre.

    Liked by 1 person

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