Mexico City mansion provides setting for Masa gallery exhibit
Furniture by Frida Escobedo and designer Hector Esrawe are among the designs decorating a "magnificent" 1970s house in Mexico City, for the inaugural exhibit from Masa gallery.
Masa was launched this year by Mexico's celebrated designer Hector Esrawe, art curator Cristobal Riestra, curator Age Salajõe and designer Brian Thoreen, along with Roberto Diaz Sesma and Isaac Bissu.
The team – which have varied backgrounds in architecture, art and design – wanted to champion the work of Mexico's contemporary design scene, in a new kind of setting.
"We decided to establish Masa as we had an urge to do things differently and not to follow the standard white box gallery formula," co-founder Salajõe told Dezeen. "While doing so, to put Mexican design to a global level."
"It blurs the line between art and design and aims not separate one from the other," she added.
Called Collective/Collectible, the gallery's debut exhibit is set inside an abandoned mansion in the city's Lomas neighbourhood, which has been vacant since the 1970s. The house is the first in a series of "magnificent locations" that Masa intends to take over for future exhibitions.
Featuring bold red walls and floors, large windows and grand stairs, the mansion is used as a striking backdrop for works of 16 Mexico City-based designers and architects – including Esrawe, EWE Studio and Frida Escobedo.
Escobedo's simple, metallic chair is placed in a double-height space, where light filters in through translucent green curtains from large windows behind.
Pink-hued chunky, geometric chairs by artist Pedro Reyes can be found elsewhere. A set sculptural, black stools and tables decorate the landing beside a chunky, white stair that runs up in front of a gridded window.
Masa has arranged contemporary works like this to complement the existing features of the mansion. A living room with a green marble fireplace is joined by a pendant lamp by Tezontle Studio and a rubbery white coffee table Brian Thoreen.
"We kept the house as we found it and curated around it," said Salajõe. "It breaths of character and takes you on a journey alongside to our curation."
As part of Collective/Collectible, Masa included historical artworks by Mexican artists to add context to the contemporary display. Chosen in collaboration with co-curators Constanza Garza and Su Wu, these include pieces by On Kawara, Leonora Carrington, Francis Alÿs, Juan O'Gorman and Ana Mendieta.
"The art works we are exhibiting were created by artists who used to live and work in Mexico and the design works by artists, designers, architects who currently live and work in Mexico," said Salajõe.
Among other designs on show are sculptural pieces by EWE – the design studio Salajõe runs with Esrawe and Spanish industrial designer Manuel Bañó Granell. These are arranged on white podiums set on mustard-coloured carpets with blue curtains hanging behind.
Esrawes's curved lamps are also on display, as well as a pair of hand-shaped chairs by Reyes in a room with wooden floors, and patterned, gridded windows.
Masa has extended the exhibit outside to make the most of the gardens surrounding the mansion. Here, visitors will find a circular onyx bench by Alma Allen, and Jose Dávila's Untitled table topped with slabs of stone.
Collective/Collectible is on display at the residence at Paseo de las Palmas 1535, from 7 February to 13 April 2019.
Masa joins a number of initiatives that are propelling the emerging design scene in Mexico.
Others include the Zona Maco art fair, which takes place every February and September, as well as the annual Design Week Mexico and Mexican Open of Design (AMD), which run concurrently in October.
The Masa Crítica exhibit that Salajõe and Esrawe's EWE Studio held in an abandoned coin factory during AMD was among the highlights of the 2018 event.
Photography is by Genevieve Lutkin.