The Chillida Leku project began in 1983 when Chillida and his wife, Pilar Belzunce, purchased the Zabalaga estate.
However, the idea had been brewing for a long time, like an unattainable dream in the mind of the sculptor: ‘One day, I dreamed of a utopia: of finding a space where my sculptures could rest and where people could walk through them as though in a forest.’ In the open fields and forests of the Zabalaga country house, Chillida found the perfect place for realizing his vision. Chillida Leku is a unique museum, and the artist himself considered it a great work of art.
Nature and art naturally come together in the space. The sculptures are integrated into the landscape as though they had always been part of it. In the garden, beech, oak and magnolia trees live alongside the monumental steel and granite sculptures, situated in a harmonious dialogue with their surroundings. The scale varies throughout the museum, at times embodying vast, expansive space, and at others shrinking to consider the size of the human body. This is how the artist always worked, using the person as the measure of his creation. In Chillida Leku, the works converse with their natural surroundings: with the trees, with the landscape and with the country house. The specific location of each also facilitates cross dialogue between pieces, which are installed at different levels and arranged in relation to their environment.