Telefónica welcomes ‘Iris’, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, for its Centenary

• The president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz-Ayuso, and the artist presented the piece.
• Made of white steel and installed inside the Telefónica District lake, 'Iris' represents the power of communication and words.
• Jaume Plensa, the most renowned contemporary Catalan artist, has created this unique sculpture especially for Telefónica.
• At six meters high, 'Iris' will change the landscape of the Telefónica District and will remain as the great legacy of the Centennial.

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Telefónica changes from today the landscape of its headquarters, Distrito Telefónica, with the arrival of ‘Iris’, a unique piece created by the Catalan artist Jaume Plensa on the occasion of the centenary of the company.

The president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz-Ayuso, and the artist himself presented the piece today in Distrito Telefónica, accompanied by Marta Machicot, Telefónica’s Global Director of People.

Made of stainless steel painted white, ‘Iris’ is a monumental sculpture six meters high and weighing four tons. Iris’ is a woman’s face “of classical and Mediterranean beauty” that Jaume Plensa has built from letters and symbols of eight different alphabets that recreate the ability to communicate despite our diversity. The figure, moreover, is not closed. The artist wanted to represent, with an unfinished face, that the future is immense and is yet to be built.

The title that Jaume Plensa has chosen for this work is related to the power of communication and words, as Iris was the messenger of the Greek gods, in charge of distributing news in the world. Regarding the decision to place it in the central lake of the Telefónica District, Jaume Plensa said: “The work emerges from water, since water is the source of life, in dialogue with one of the qualities of Iris, which was to fill the clouds that travel through the sky with water. For me, water is the great image of communication. I have never believed that the oceans separate us; on the contrary, the oceans unite us. Water is the great public space in permanent movement and transformation.” “My sculpture, like the reeds, is born from the depth of the water, creating in an organic way the head of a woman formed by alphabets of diverse languages and cultures that also represent Telefónica’s will to unite people,” he added.

Regarding the arrival of ‘Iris’ at the company’s headquarters, José María Álvarez-Pallete said: “‘Iris’ is not just a work of art. It is a symbol of the power of communication and human connection. In this increasingly interconnected world, where distances are shortening and barriers are fading, this sculpture reminds us of the importance of human relationships and the beauty that emanates from them.

It is people who give meaning to technology and not the other way around. It is people that complete the experience. Iris’ represents our purpose as a company, to make our world more human by connecting people’s lives.

Thank you, on behalf of myself and Telefónica, for putting a face and a name to this feeling that is so much ours. This is a great legacy that will remain for the next generations of ‘telefónicos’ and for the whole city of Madrid. Telefónica District has become an obligatory stop for art and culture lovers”.

The President of the Community of Madrid closed the event by congratulating Telefónica on its Centenary and welcoming ‘Iris’ to Madrid. “To say 100 years is to say a lot of excellence,” said Díaz-Ayuso. Telefónica has spent a century improving the lives of many people in Spain and other countries. The effort of the entire team in deployment and connectivity has made Madrid the best connected community in Europe, also reaching the smallest towns”. Díaz-Ayuso celebrated the arrival of ‘Iris’ for the enjoyment of locals and tourists, who will be able to visit it.

Iris’ has been installed today in the lake of the Telefónica District, in the same week that the company celebrates its centenary, a milestone that will be reached on April 19. The installation has required weeks of work to adapt the space, reinforce the floor and build a concrete platform to hold the sculpture. This unique work can now be enjoyed not only by Telefónica employees, but by anyone who wants to come and see it.

The sculpture joins the Telefónica Art Collection, and becomes the most monumental of the company’s heritage, which includes more than 1,100 works of art and is guarded and preserved by its Foundation. Precisely within the framework of the company’s Centennial, a monographic exhibition of Jaume Plensa will be presented this fall at the Espacio Fundación Telefónica, featuring a selection of works by the artist made up of pieces of various formats and covering practically his entire artistic career.


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