The Güiro: an Art Bar by Los Carpinteros

The Güiro: an Art Bar by Los Carpinteros

Art Basel in Miami Beach, December 2012

Absolut is proud to present Güiro, a specially commissioned work by artist duo Los Carpinteros. Los Carpinteros have created a large-scale architectural construction based on the concept of an open-air art bar.

The title of the work, Güiro, is the name of a traditional Cuban percussion instrument made from the shell of a dried tropical fruit. This dried fruit has also had many other functions within Cuban culture, as a container for food, and as a drinking vessel. The word Güiro is also a word used in Cuban slang to connote a party. The Güiro represents many fundamental aspects of life; the rhythm of music, the sharing of food and drink, and the euphoria of celebration. The slatted oval-shaped building will be lit from within, emphasizing its gridded structure and making it a glowing beacon of light in the surrounding area. A centrally positioned circular bar will serve a range of Absolut cocktails. From here, the bartenders have a panoptic overview of the whole space. Many institutional buildings such as libraries, schools and prisons use the concept of the panopticon in order to optimize the surveillance of the building and the individuals who use it. The Güiro has been designed with this purpose in mind, linking this newly created structure with previous works in which Los Carpinteros have investigated issues of surveillance and power.

Distinguished Mallorcan composer Joan Valent has conceived a special program of music highlighting the sounds of the Güiro instrument.

The Güiro art bar is located on the Oceanfront at Miami Beach between 21st and 22nd street. The bar is close to other public art installations in Collins Park, exhibited in the Art Public section of Art Basel Miami Beach.

Viewing the artwork at night, the Güiro is illuminated from within and without, its grid structure glowing with a soft warm light. Although the Güiro was conceived as a functional bar with its own unique interior life, the artists’ intention was also to create a sculptural object to be viewed from a distance. The form of the Güiro is based on the designs for panoptic buildings. By making use of an open grid structure for the Güiro, Los Carpinteros have gone some way to breaking down the usual positions of power associated with the panoptic building. The semi-transparency of the structure makes the difference between inside and outside almost imaginary. The bartenders in the Güiro have a position of some authority by being at the center of the panoptic space. However, the perforations in the architecture open up many possible viewing points from both inside and outside the building, thus breaking down those positions of power. The Güiro is the first sculpture made by Los Carpinteros as a functional social space, a new experimental direction in their artistic practice realized for the first time through their collaboration with Absolut.

Los Carpinteros invited the mallorcan composer Joan Valent to compose and perform a number of unique musical pieces to coincide with the opening of the Güiro at the oceanfront on Miami Beach.

Joan Valent is a composer and musician working in what can be described as a post-minimalist tradition. Joan Valent has worked in Madrid and Los Angeles, creating his own classical compositions as well as creating musical scores for television and cinema productions in Spain and the United States.

Joan Valent’s music is derived in part from Spanish and Latin American musical traditions, and in part from developments in minimal music, a musical genre closely associated with the work of composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The repetitive forms and structures in Valent’s musical compositions are at once truly modern, and at the same time reflect musical ideas from both traditional Latin American and West African cultures.

The cocktail collection by Los Carpinteros and Absolut

The following cocktails were created by Absolut's top bartenders in collaboration with the artist duo Los Carpinteros. To connect the drinks with the Güiro sculpture /art bar, the artists wanted to make cocktails where the flavors would bring to mind earthy, woody qualities.

Absolut Güiro Absolut Güiro
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh carrot juice
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Fresh ginger juice
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar syrup
  • 2 big pinches of fresh coriander
  • + lime wheel
Clove Sour Clove Sour
  • Absolut Vodka
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Clove sugar syrup
  • + orange peel and 8-10 pomegranate seeds
Telegram Telegram
  • Absolut Vodka
  • 1 small piece of red chili
  • + herbal salt


Photo Credit: Roberto Chamorro

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