JUN 10 2019 - JUN 16 2019
Bringing together historical pieces from Casa del Pedregal (Casa Prieto López) and following his use of vibrant pigments associated with Mexican heritage, the Side Gallery space payed tribute to the Mexican architect who painted modernism pink. Luis Barragan is one of the most gifted practitioners in contemporary landscape architecture and his work is a screen revealing the colours of Mexico itself. The pieces by Luis Barragan came from Casa del Pedregal (Casa Prieto López), the house that was built in 1950 and is part of Jardines del Pedregal´s neighbourhood designed by Barragán on a lava-covered site in Mexico City. Formerly known as Casa Prieto López, the house was designed at the beginning of the architect's third and most celebrated artistic phase. Back in the 1940s, when Barragán purchased the real estate, it was a desolate petrified lava field but in the years that ensued, it served as a canvas for an ambitious modernist urbanization project, in which Barragán and his contemporaries sought to develop the area while preserving the integrity of its unique ecosystem. Originally commissioned by Eduardo Prieto López, friend of the architect, Casa del Pedregal remained in the Prieto López family for decades and in 2013, it was purchased by César Cervantes, an art collector and businessman with a mission: return the structure to its original condition. Barragán’s furniture, never put into production and only made for specific projects, have always had the same simplicity of form, tactility of material, and authenticity that is evident in all of his architecture, and were mainly produced at the latest and most mature phase of his career. Rare examples of his design practice were showcased as the protagonists of the exhibition: A stool, in its original condition from Casa del Pedregal which is clearly inspired by Barcelona stool by Mies Van der Rohe, but now manufactured by Eleuterio Cortés in sabino wood, leather and fabric; a six-door cabinet that used to contain medicines, and some of the cupboards from the original kitchen were displayed at the fair. Being a most decisive influence in Barragan's work the popular architecture of Mexico's villages, ranches and convents, all of Barragan´s pieces designed for the Prieto Lopez house are made of sabino wood (also called ahuehuete or Montezuma Cypress) used by the architect in his early years. All the pieces were designed by Barragán specially for the house. Also, a carefully selected collection of ceramic table lamps designed by Luis Barragán in collaboration with renowned Mexican ceramist, Hugo X. Velázquez, one of Mexico´s greatest exponent on ceramics, were presented as part of the exhibition. The richness of Barragan's sober architecture is based on a few constructive elements bound together by a mystical feeling and an austerity exalted by his brilliant colours. The result of all of his work is to make the simple stand out. Luis Barragán disregarded the trends of his days and followed his instincts becoming one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
Finding inspiration in Barragán´s work, as part of the exhibition, Frida Escobedo explored the elements of light, asymmetry and reflection, as a starting point to create room dividers further developing the idea of luminosity, transparency and intimacy, present in the architect´s designs. Escobedo is a Mexican architect and designer, known for creating temporary and interactive works which can accommodate multiple intended purposes. Escobedo won international recognition for her design of the Serpentine Pavilion in London, in 2018, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Catalan artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané collaborated with the gallery with pieces produced exclusively for SIDE GALLERY, taking inspiration on light balls, shapes and the idea of reflection and colour mastered by Luis Barragán. A set of chandelier lamps comprised of blown glass and a juxtaposition of its different layers will be on display in contraposition with historical pieces of the Mexican architect creating shapes which can only be discovered through the glass. Steegmann Mangrané’s work often traces the boundary of nature and artifice. These precise interventions hold a powerful force of attraction: a moment of uncertainty between what is contrived and what is natural. In each of Steegmann Mangrané’s intricate compositions, we are able to experience this ponderation, far from being distinct, the organic and the geometric, the vital and the abstract, define each other. Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mangrané´s work encompasses different formats based on subtle and poetic experimentation that questions the relationship between language and the world. His pieces show concern with existence and the specific characteristics of objects, at the same time activating abstract language to generate thought, while using the idea of unstable meaning and dematerialized constructions as a way of addressing questions concerning the “object”. Last but not least, Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis took part in the exhibition as well introducing new pieces from the series Totem Lights, navigating through time, shape and colour. Produced exclusively for SIDE GALLERY, Totem lights are a continuation of the designer’s fascination with the interaction between light and cast resin and are a new truly three-dimensional evolution of her past exploration on the theme inviting the viewer to a unique visual experience. Marcelis´ has been working within the fields of product, installation and special design with a strong focus on materiality and her work is characterised by pure forms which highlight material properties. Based in the Netherlands, Sabine Marcelis´ Studio is one for material, installation and object design, forever in search of magical moments within materiality and manufacturing processes to create unexpected experiences.