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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Modernist Casa Möbius reinvigorated with contemporary designs for Mexico City's design week

Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week


Second Life showcases the works of Mexican architects and designers at the modernist Casa Möbius on the outskirts of Mexico City as part of the city's design week.
The installation, called Second Life, took place at Casa Möbius, the studio and home of the late modernist architect Ernesto Gómez Gallardo.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
The rooms of the two-storey, concrete residence were curated by Jose Esparza Chong Cuy, director of New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture, as part of Mexico City Design Week.
Completed in 1978, Gallardo's house is for sale and the exhibition provided a way to probe questions about conserving historic mid-century buildings in Mexico.
"The exhibit is a case study that looks into the legal framework of heritage and legacy," said the organisers.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
The installation ran from 28 September to 5 October 2019, and was the first time Gallardo's home had been open to the public. It was presented in collaboration with Peana, an art gallery in Monterrey, Mexico.
Contemporary pieces by artists, architects and design studios sat alongside old photographs, Gallardo's own possessions and pieces by his colleagues and fellow modernists.
A number of rooms, such as his workspace, displayed the architect's life untouched.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Mexican law protects heritage buildings, but government regulations consider structures built before 1900 as historic, and those built after as modern.
This arbitrary date has caused many modernist buildings in the country that were built in the middle of the 20th century to fall into disrepair and be abandoned.
"These regulations leave out a myriad of properties that are at risk of disappearing," the team said. "This is an open invitation to take action and question the legal frameworks that protect the artistic legacy of our built environment."
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
The Second Life project calls into question the hows and whys of preservation. It asks the question: "Once an architecture is declared worthy of protection, how is it conserved without being conservative?"
"Being conscious of the subjectivity of what is considered to be of artistic value, we ask ourselves to what extent the existing regulations can be counterproductive and restrictive, preventing the properties acquiring a second life," said the organisers.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Inside, rooms feature designs by architects and studios from Mexico and further afield. Outside there is a circular sculpture by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, made of enamelled steel that sits on an area of grass.
In the living room, which features the residence's gridded ceiling and concrete fireplace, furnishings are paired with paintings, photos and a number of contemporary designs.
A wooden chair with a swooped leather seat by the late furniture and interiors designer Clara Porset is displayed alongside a new chair design by Claudia Fernández and Proyecto Meteoro.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Hanging from a double-height space is a gridded leather piece on hemp rope by Leonor Antunes, and another new creation is a steel mobile with cameras attached by Manuela de Laborde.
A painting by the late modernist Carlos Mérida, positioned to the left of the fireplace offers another glimpse at the past.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Other historic pieces include a blue volcano artwork by the late Mexico painter Gerardo Murillo Cornado, known as Dr Atl, and an architectural drawing by Mexican modernist Juan O'Gorman.
A photograph of Mexico City's Plaza Las Tres Culturas from the 1960s taken by Armando Salas Portugal – who captured much of Mexican architect Luis Barragán's work – is also displayed.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Filling another room of Casa Möbius is an angular design in wood by Mexico City studio Tezontle, paired with a gridded structure and a tubular steel design atop aggregate cubes made from concrete and volcanic rock.
Two colourful, minimal tapestries also by Tezontle hang on the wall. These were made from rescued wallpaper and completed with an enamel finish.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Black and white photographs help to further blend the boundary between old and new.
Some images are by American architectural historian Esther McCoy, as well as a grid of pictures of men wearing suits and an image of a modernist building, both by New York artist Mario Navarro.
Second Life at Casa Mobius for Mexico City Design Week
Second Life was created to coincide with this year's Design Week Mexico, now in its eleventh year. The festival expanded this year, with events and installations across the city, and took place for nearly a month from 4 to 28 October.
Last year, Mexican architect Fernanda Canales created a mirrored outdoor pavilion and local studio EWE exhibited its works within a dark black factory.

Japanese house has hidden courtyards for growing fruit and drying laundry

House in Akashi by Arbol


Three internal courtyards in a timber-clad bungalow designed by Osaka-based practice Arbol in Akashi, Japan, provide space for growing food and drying clothes.
Located in a quiet neighbourhood, the rooms of minimalist House in Akashi turn inwards to these courtyards, with only a few small openings made in the wood-clad elevations looking out to the street.
House in Akashi by Arbol
House in Akashi is divided into three strips around its three courtyards.
Next to a parking area, the front door opens on to a dirt-floor living area with a wood burning stove, tatami room and a garden space planted with fruit trees.
House in Akashi by Arbol
Alongside this sits a large kitchen and dining area overlooking the second garden, accessible via a sliding glass door.
Here, thin slits in the facade bring in natural ventilation through the garden space and into the home.
House in Akashi by Arbol
At the other end of the bungalow are the bedrooms and ancillary spaces, sitting opposite a vast, built-in closet for the entire family to use.
The third small garden brings light into the interiors.
House in Akashi by Arbol
This courtyard is designed to be a private area for hanging out clothes to dry, which also gives views out to nature.
Rather that compartmentalise these spaces with doors, they have been designed to flow into one another with small steps or subtle changes in floor finish demarcating each area.
House in Akashi by Arbol
Small, carefully-placed windows, such as a low-level window in the tatami room overlooking the courtyard, fill the home with a diffuse light.
"Natural daylight is designed to gently and softly scatter and shine through the entire house, so that the family members can enjoy the change of the seasons with the direction of sunlight or the atmosphere," said the studio.
"The house has an enclosed atmosphere to care for privacy, but it gives a living, warm impression, with planting that will attract passers-by and a slight light which comes through the slits in the wood at night,"
House in Akashi by Arbol
The interiors have been finished in a mix of cedar, Japanese cypress and spruce.
Arbol previously played with the idea of an inwards-looking home centred around courtyards in Osaka, with a tiny, metal-clad home illuminated by sky-lit courtyards and planted with tall trees.
Photography is by Yasunori Shimomura.