Ibo Bonilla: Renowned Artist with Great Influence on Our Culture

Known for his diverse sculptures and extensive work in the field of architecture, Ibo Bonilla Oconitrillo has become one of the most influential Costa Rican artists working today. He is an architect, sculptor, geobiology, pedagogue, mathematics teacher and business administrator from Costa Rica.

He has both Costa Rican and Spanish nationality, and is known above all for the creation of bioclimatic buildings, infrastructure in protected wild areas, his monumental sculptures in public squares and his controversial mathematical proposals.

When it all started

Ibo Bonilla

Ibo Bonilla, known as “Maestro Ibo”, was born in Sarchí, in 1951, a town in Alajuela recognized as the cradle of Costa Rican art. He has traveled the world performing different trades and giving lectures, he has graduated in various professions such as: architect, sculptor, pedagogue, professor of mathematics, quality management and evaluation, and business administration.

He studied at the University of Costa Rica, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the Gea Association for Geographical Studies and at the European Business School in Spain.  Currently is working for his own architecture firm and is a lecturer and international consultant on environmentally responsible architecture, green construction and sustainability.

He is the first architect to graduate from Costa Rica, in 1977 (they used to do it abroad) and the first American to be incorporated as an architect in Spain in the context of the European Union.


He is considered one of the most outstanding architects in his country, and has participated in projects for more than 5 million square meters developed in America and Europe. The Costa Rican Chamber of Construction awarded him the 2018 Sustainable Construction Award in the category of professional trajectory, being the third architect awarded for his long and intense performance in promoting sustainable construction, through thousands of works, hundreds of investigations, publications and conferences in dozens of countries, as well as his contribution to generating a certification for sustainable works in the tropics.

In the academic field, Ibo Bonilla’s definition for architecture has become a benchmark: “Architecture is sculpting space to satisfy physical, emotional and spiritual needs, protecting a result that is harmonious with the aesthetics, techniques and site, of the moment in which it is done”.

“Architecture is modeling art”. … When the art becomes preponderant for its aesthetic value, it tends to be sculpture, if the predominance is technical, it tends to be constructive engineering, if the emphasis is the site, it tends to be landscaping, if there is harmony between all systems, we are in the presence of a good architectural work. Each work has its proportion and the right measure is the task of the architect, who makes a poetic synergy of his dialogue and synthesis, we have a work of art. ”

Famous Sculptures

His sculptural work is found in public parks, museums, galleries and private collections in different parts of the world. Its characteristic themes are tropical biodiversity, feelings, close perception and women.

The works are carried out with different techniques and materials: wood, stone and metal carving; clay modeling, plaster casting and subsequent casting in different materials; experiments with different products such as glass, quartz, lava, resins, ceramics, ferrocement, etc.

It has specialized in medium format (70 to 200 centimeters high) for interiors and large format with monumental sculptures and sculptural walls. He has participated in various group and individual exhibitions, as well as in multiple painting and sculpture workshops and seminars in Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico.

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