As August draws to a close and our holidays - be they from work or school - already start to feel like distant memories, perhaps it's a good moment to reflect on our faith in what we do. Sometimes design affords us the ability to oversee massive and exciting change. Sometimes projects don't work out, despite our best efforts. And sometimes, design isn't as capable of making change as we believe it to be. This week's stories touched on our faith in design in a range of ways, from the literal (such as the bright churches of Kerala) to the more abstract (how much good taste in fast food design actually equates to good tastes.) Read on for this week's review.
Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that a referendum will be held on whether or not the government should proceed with Foster + Partners’ proposed $13-billion Mexico City International Airport.
The scheme, already under construction, has been described by the incoming president as a “bottomless pit” and that “the plan is to provide the Mexican people all the relevant information, truthfully and objectively, so that we can all decide together on this important matter of national interest.”
The Museo Soumaya, which opened to the public in 2011, is one of the more striking cultural landmarks on the skyline of Mexico City. Designed by FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise, the space accommodates and displays a private art collection of nearly 70,000 works spanning the 15th to the mid-20th Centuries, including the world’s largest private collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures. In this photo-essay, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to this – a rotated rhomboid clad in a skin of 16,000 hexagonal mirrored-steel panels.
One of the most public and politically relevant debates about spatial borders, that of the United States and Mexico, has been probed in a project currently being exhibited at the London Design Biennale. Helmed by Fernando Romero and his team at fr*ee, "Border City" puts forward the idea of a binational city on the border, a place where cultures "both clash and blend to create something altogether unique."
The states along the border of these two countries now have a population of over 100 million people - ample to facilitate the introduction of a new city. fr*ee explained: "Border City is the first integrated masterplan for a binational city conducive to both sides of the border, employing tools of enterprise such as special economic zones to argue for its viability." The masterplan is unrolled in detail at the London Design Biennale, as seen in the video below. The exhibition is open from the 7 – 27 September.
Fernando Romero EnterprisE (FR-EE) has revealed their proposal for the “Museo Mazatlán” in Mexico, which will be dedicated to the local culture of Mazatlán. Inspired by Mazatlán’s nickname, “The Pearl of the Pacific”, the design resembles an oyster with a pearl at its centre. This “pearl” is a geodesic dome, bringing together views of the sky with views of the city and sea.
It is difficult to even imagine an architectural practice more influential than OMA. Not only has Koolhaas' practice completed high-profile buildings worldwide, but it has also been the incubator for some of the world's most famous architects, with many striking out alone after a period working under Rem. This article in the Wall Street Journal profiles some of the latest crop of "graduates", including Bjarke Ingels and Ole Scheeren, who have founded their own practices in the last decade and are now acting as some of OMA's biggest competitors. You can read the full article here.
Fernando Romero is part of the new generation of young Mexican architects that have reshaped the profession in a country with a longstanding tradition.