Having returned from a brief but wonderful weekend in Mexico City, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my gracious hosts Carmen Ortega Casanovas and Joanna Ruiz Galindo, the founders of the Atalaya Design Fair. My guide Marcella Echavarria and travelling companions Philip Fimmano, Kavita Parmar, Benjamin Dhong and Serena Dugen who provided charming and entertaining company.
I also wanted to share some of the highlights with you. I urge you to visit this dynamic, energetic and welcoming city if you have the opportunity, but suggest you extend your stay a little longer. There is much too much to pack into a weekend. Of course, I visited Frida Kahlo’s Blue House and Diego Rivera’s studio - neither of which disappointed. But surprises included the National Library of Mexico designed by Alberto Kalach, Santa Maria la Ribera’s Kiosco Morisco, an elaborate Islamic inspired pavilion designed by José Ramón Ibarrola. We marvelled at the Archivo Diseno y Arquitectura, where I gained an insight into the recent history and personality of Mexican design. Finally, Casa Wabi designed by one of my favourite architects the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. No trip would be complete without some shopping and the Design Store Onora supplied a sophisticated offering. As for the textiles they must, unfortunately, remain a secret until our special issue on Mexico that will be published in 2019.
The long late lunches that are so much a part of the Mexican culture were enjoyed in the formal surroundings of Antiguo San Angel, Nico's and the elegant brutalist home of designer Carla Fernandez and her sculptor husband Pedro Reyes. You can learn more about Carla’s work at the V&A’s next Fashion in Motion event on Friday 19 October, tickets available at www.vam.ac.uk/articles/fashion-in-motion-carla-fernandez
Upon landing back in the London, I went straight to the Tate for the preview of the Anni Albers show. Mexico provided a suitable prelude to the exhibition as Anni was fascinated by Central and South America and visited Mexico on several occasion. Most notable were her pieces produced while she was teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The Tate is to be commended for a sensitively curated show that teats her work with the respect it deserves. I left enthused and inspired, but also reflective that it was felt necessary to include a loom and yarn samples, rarely are such explanatory items included in shows of paintings or sculpture. Nevertheless, the show is well worth a visit runs until 12 January.
Blog post by Polly Leonard, Selvedge founder.