Dezeen Magazine

Masa gallery

"Nomadic" design gallery Masa opens permanent location in CDMX

Masa Gallery has announced the opening of its permanent gallery in a heritage building in Mexico City where installations as well as a repository of work from past shows will be held.

To mark the gallery's fifth anniversary, Masa has set up shop in a historic home in the San Miguel Chapultepec neighbourhood of the Mexican capital.

Masa gallery with works by Brian Thoreen
Top: Photo by Genevieve Lutkin. Above: MASA inaugurated its permanent location with two exhibitions

Originally constructed in 1846, the 600-square-metre home was purchased by artist Federico Sánchez Fogarty in the early 20th century, who renovated it.

With five-metre tall ceilings, the building provided an ideal space for the gallery to display its works, and minimal interventions were made to the classical detailing.

Masa gallery home with art works
The gallery occupies a home originally built in the 19th century

Masa co-founder Age Salajõe told Dezeen that after a year of searching for a space that the home, which was a meeting space for artists and architects in the 20th century, was the correct fit.

"It's clean yet classical," she said.

Masa gallery with stone works
The home was once a space for the creative community to gather

The gallery made minimal interventions to the interior of the building, besides applying fresh paint and adding interior walls to optimise light in the display areas.

"The house itself expressed the spirit of what we have always been with Masa," added co-founder Héctor Esrawe.

"The project of MASA is not shifting from the nomadic part, it's just that it became logical for us to have a physical space."

"We will still be travelling all over the world with exhibitions, but we also collect previous exhibitions that we need to display and this space becomes perfect," he continued.

"We really appreciate what is there, and there are times that you don't need to, as a creative to leave your mark. You need to be honest with the spot and this spot is so strong, that doesn't even require intervention."

Giant candles by Brian Thoreen
Brian Thoreen presented a series of massive calendars alongside other functional and non-functional works

To start off the series of installations, two collections were chosen: one by the third co-founder of Masa, Brian Thoreen, and the other by artist Mario García Torres.

For Thoreen's first solo show with MASA, the artist selected an array of functional and non-functional works called Non-Zero-Sum.

MASA gallery with Torres' stools and light from windows
Minimal intervention was needed for the home. Photo by Genevieve Lutkin

Arrayed in the white-painted walls of the house, the works include two-metre-tall candles as well as a selection of chairs and other furniture that were constructed using heavy neoprene.

Also on show is a more decorative triptych that depicts binary code cast in charcoal on paper.

"Through materiality and conceptuality, the piece merges digital and analog," said Masa. "Standing between functionality and non-functionality, the triptych contains coded information, yet the information is kept secret from the viewer."

Close up on Thoreen's candles
The gallery will present new and past works in the space

Torres' installation includes a number of art and design works, including an aluminium chair inspired by the concrete work of American artist Bruce Nauman, as well as monochrome painting works.

Established in 2018, Masa became known for its travelling exhibitions, including shows that included design luminaries such as Frida Escobedo in an empty modernist mansion in Mexico City as well as in a former post office underneath the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

The photography is by Alejandro Ramirez Orozco unless otherwise noted.