In Residence: Pedro Reyes & Carla Fernández – NOWNESS

The Mexico City home of artist Pedro Reyes and fashion designer Carla Fernández is a continually adapting architectural project. Only built in the 1980s, none of the original structure remains. Coarse concrete walls divide the sprawling space into discrete sections that, over the years, has evolved to meet both the demands of a working atelier and comfort of a family home.

The daunting brutalism of the space is offset by Fernández’s vibrant textiles and Reyes’ sculptural work. A larger than life-sized sculpture of Vladimir Lenin’s head lies in repose, a wooden “hand chair” with articulating fingers sits in the corner, and shovels cast from melted down weapons hang on a wall. Moving from the handmade to the natural, the master bathroom resembles an ancient geological site with its carved volcanic stone basin and roughly-hewn rockpool bathtub. Around the home lightwells of brilliant yellow interrupts the grey of the concrete, while large green cacti and palms beckon a sense of the outdoors.

Their Coyoacán home is more than just a living space but a reflection of their commitment to working with the community. Most of the cement work was completed in-house with local craftspeople and the workshop is continually awash with neighborhood artisans working on Reyes’ new projects.

Reyes’ opus extends far beyond material arts and sculpture work. Most notably his People’s United Nations project (stylized as “pUN”) invited 193 volunteers to find resolutions to real and imagined geopolitical issues using psychology and theatre. Meanwhile Fernández’s eponymous fashion label works alongside indigenous communities in order to promote traditional weaving techniques and patterns for global audiences. For these efforts in 2018 both Fernández and Reyes were awarded the Design Miami Visionary Award which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the field of design and had a tangible impact on their communities. The couple’s work, just like their cavernous home, continues to be a testament to the rewards of local collaboration and celebration of Mexico’s rich heritage.

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