When the Spanish conquistadors arrived at Tenochtitlán, the helm of the great Aztec empire, they described it as the Venice of the New World; such was its beauty.
Inspired by and recreating that beauty this summer is Mexican architect Frida Escobedo with her installation ‘You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well As By Reflection’, at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Taking up a large part of the John Madejski Garden, the shimmering installation uses layers of movable platforms which can be adjusted and repurposed depending on the events it is hosting. Simultaneously standing out and sinking into the background, the piece gives the illusion of a floating grid, much like the buoyant capital that would later become Mexico City.
‘The pavilion is an abstraction of this first settlement in the lake,’ Escobedo explains. ‘A mirrored system of platforms that resembles the city and the sheen of the water as it was first described by Cortes’ men.’
A highlight of both the Year of Mexico and the London Design Festival this coming September, the pavilion celebrates the cultural heritage of Mexico in a modern way. The 'Dual Year', a year-long programme run in tandem by the UK and Mexican governments, aims to promote collaboration and ties between the two nations, in both cultural and economic terms.
The pavilion will remain in place until October, once this year's London Design Festival, which will run many of its headlining activities from the historic museum, ends.