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The Story behind Modernist Furniture at ”¡Viva México!”
September 17, 2020

Created in the 1960s, a pair of Miguelito chairs have travelled afar from Mexico and landed at Star Street Precinct, Wanchai as part of the group show “¡Viva México!” through Sep 27, 2020. 

Titled after the Spanish nickname of “Miguel”, the modern classic Miguelito chairs featured at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery are timeless design of the mid-century Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988). Its form takes root from the butaque chair, a Colonial-era hybrid of Spanish X-frame chairs and pre-Columbian wooden carved seats dated back to the late 16th century. Enveloping the carved chair in one piece of leather, the supple mahogany-toned leather establishes a curve outline and creates a smooth surface that aligns perfectly with the finely polished wood. From afar, the firmly nailed leather fuses with the wood structure upon the polish of time.

The Ottoman stool co-presented in the group show is also made in the 1960s. Executed in Colonial style, the cognac cowhide is nailed on the X-framed wood structure with large wrought iron nails, which were used for the doors of the haciendas. Displaying a unique sensitivity to the region’s climate and indigenous materials, this type of furniture commonly uses evergreen oak, cedar, elephant ear tree, ash and pine. Popularly received across the rural communities, it was widely used in haciendas and vernacular architecture since the colonial period in Mexico, and has become an important source of inspiration for modern designers and architects like Luis Barragán, Clara Porset, William Spratling and Ricardo Legorreta.

Barragán’s unique architectural expressions combined contemporary interpretations of traditional Mexican lifestyles seen in haciendas with the landscape design sensibilities of landscape artist Ferdinand Bac and Mediterranean architecture rooted in Arabic-Andalusian culture. Determined to carry out designs based on his beliefs and not the functionalist International Style popular at the time, he advocated an “emotional architecture” and built numerous important structures. With an ambition in residential development, he landscaped urban residence in harmonious coexistence with nature, painting his canvas where human lives in balance. His renowned estate projects include Jardines del Bosque residential complex in Guadalajara, and Las Arboledas in the Mexico City.

The architect's iconic residence, Casa de Luis Barragán, was captured by his exclusive photographer Armando Salas Portugal and the vintage prints of the terrace scene are featured alongside the furniture at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery. Space in Baragán’s house had been everchanging, varying in colors and its interaction with nature as time changes. Much more than a documentary record of the house, Salas Portugal's photographs are visual evidence of the architect's vitality and emotions projected in certain moment of existence. 

 

 

Miguelito chairs, 1960, wood, leather, iron nails, 80 x 72 x 90 cm each.  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan


Miguelito chairs, 1960, wood, leather, iron nails, 80 x 72 x 90 cm each.  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan 

 

Ottoman, 1960, cedar wood, cowhide leather, iron nails, 58 x 68 x 38 cm. Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan


Ottoman, 1960, cedarwood, cowhide leather, iron nails, 58 x 68 x 38 cm.  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan 

 Group Show "¡Viva México!", installation view at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Jul 24 - Sep 27, 2020  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan


Group Show "¡Viva México!", installation view at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Jul 24 - Sep 27, 2020.  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan


Group Show "¡Viva México!", installation view at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Jul 24 - Sep 27, 2020  Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan


Group Show "¡Viva México!", installation view at SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Jul 24 - Sep 27, 2020. Courtesy of SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong / Photo: Anthony Kar-Long Fan

 

More about the Group Show “¡Viva México!” 

Located at Star Street Precinct in Wanchai, SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery presents a journey into the development of Modern and Contemporary culture of Mexico. From the floral drawing of the colour-master Chucho Reyes to vintage photographs of Graciela Iturbide and Armando Salas Portugal, delicate painting and ceramics of Lucia Vidales and the diverse background music selected by conceptual artist Mario Garcia Torres, the exhibition is an open invitation to cross-cultural dialogues. Enriching the scenery, VARON, a genderless, avant-garde jewelry brand, has designed a special collection of Mexican amber choker and earrings, presented along with interior craftworks, including handcrafted rugs, the Miguelito chairs and the Ottoman stool.
Learn more 

Dates: Jul 24 – Sep 27, 2020 [Summer Holidays: Aug 9 – 17]
Location: SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery, Hong Kong
Participating artists: Mario García Torres, Graciela Iturbide, Chucho Reyes, Armando Salas Portugal, Lucía Vidales

By appointment only, please contact us via telephone or fill out the contact form on our website.


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