Mexico is having an ascendant cultural scene in terms of architecture and design

Young stars, promotional initiatives and the pandemic have contributed to an ascendant cultural scene in Mexico (Photo: The Economist)

Frida Escobedo’s studio in the hip neighborhood of Juárez, Mexico City, may be modest, but her ambitions are not.

In 2018 she became the youngest architect commissioned to build the Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure erected each year in Kensington Gardens in London.

In March the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced she would become the first woman to design one of its wings; she will oversee the renovation of the modern and contemporary galleries.

Her work, whether at home or abroad, is inspired by her country of origin. Her pavilion (pictured) was made of tiles stacked in an alternating pattern evoking the perforated walls common in Mexico.

Ms. Escobedo is one of several Mexican designers gaining international attention. Many work across disciplines: Ms. Escobedo has built furniture as well as shops, hotels, and social-housing projects. Architects and artists are certain that “si, se puede hacer”—”yes, we can do it”—she says. “There is an energy, a sense of confidence, a persistence, and a sense of solidarity here.” Ana Elena Mallet, a curator, and lecturer at Tecnológico de Monterrey, a university, says the Mexican creative industry has been ascendant for some time. “Every X number of years there is excitement about Mexico, but this time there is more content to talk about.”

Much of Mexican architecture employs concrete or adobe (mud bricks). Many designers are using barro, or clay, for their items. Traditional crafts persist, from basket-weaving to alebrije, brightly colored folk-art sculptures of fantastical beasts. Mexico boasts world-class artisans and so finding a metalworker or weaver is straightforward and often affordable. That lowers the bar to entry for newcomers.

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Source: The Economist

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