Category Archives: March 2012

Editor’s Letter

By Jane Bauer

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. -Frank Lloyd Wright

Wherever you happen to be reading this, lift your eyes from the page and have a good look around at the space you are inhabiting. From the chair you are sitting on, to the windows, to the next door handle you reach out for; all derive from thought, planning and execution. Each curve is meant to be just so. I recently came across a fabulous online magazine whose tagline is ‘design will save the world.’ Design? Design is often associated with frivolity; fashion design, interior design, something that scoffs at efficiency and practicality. Well that has changed- design really is saving the world; green roofs, chairs made out of plastic bottles, houses made out of used tires and more… Continue reading Editor’s Letter

Fundraising Along The Riviera…

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By Kathy Taylor

Comité Mision Roja is pleased to announce the results of their very successful third annual Carrera Para La Cruz event in Huatulco, Oaxaca, on the 22nd of January, 2012.

Comité Chairwoman Valerie Verhalen announced that, “A record event total of just over $170,000 pesos has been raised in this year’s Rally. Thirteen teams competed for a grand prize of individual IPod Shuffles for each team member, with the second place team receiving a gourmet team breakfast at the Camino Real. I would personally like to thank all the participants, our platinum sponsors, cash donors, sponsors who provided services and supplies, raffle donors, food donors, and all the great volunteers and supporters who contributed to this year’s success.” Continue reading Fundraising Along The Riviera…

Fábrica Mexicana

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.51.17 PMBy Jan and Marcia Chaiken

Fábrica Mexicana, an exhibition presented in the Modern Art Museum (MAM) in Mexico City, made clear that Mexico must be placed high on the list of countries creating the most imaginative and environmentally friendly industrial designs. Featuring displays of industrial design and modern architecture in Mexico, the exhibition focused on the influence of Mexican art on shaping commercial products, buildings and whole neighborhoods. Continue reading Fábrica Mexicana

The Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit on the Oaxacan Riviera: You Told Us

By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

Thanks to the readers who responded to our survey in January, we now know how so many of you stay healthy and fit. We asked you to tell us about the best forms of exercise on the beach, in the water and in other outdoor locations, in fitness centers and in your homes. We asked for advice about the best places for a long walk, for running or jogging, for fitness swimming, biking and hiking. And we also asked about foods to eat and overall recommendations to stay fit and healthy. Continue reading The Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit on the Oaxacan Riviera: You Told Us

Oaxacan Art

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.41.33 PMWhen most visitors to Oaxaca think of Oaxacan art, the first thing that usually comes to mind is folk art; alebrijes (carved, fancifully painted wooden figures), barro negro (black pottery), tapetes (hand-made wool rugs), and other craft products. They don’t realize that Oaxaca has a longstanding fine art tradition which continues to thrive today. Indeed Oaxaca has produced world renowned artists such as the late masters Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Morales, and contemporary artists Francisco Toledo and Demián Flores. Continue reading Oaxacan Art

Inspired Spaces

By Jane Bauer

There are some spaces that demand to be noticed. They envelope you with their form and invite all your senses to awaken. The following are spaces that I believe stand out for their use of materials, their consideration for the area they inhabit and each one of them inspires me. As Philip Johnson wrote “All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.” Continue reading Inspired Spaces

The Art of the Palapa

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.31.56 PMBy Neal Erickson

In this part of Mexico, the word palapa is used to describe a thatched roof house without walls. It is a word that is said to have its origin in Nahuatl, being a combination of words meaning, “butterfly in the water”. The palapa is a structure that has evolved in tropical climes. Universally, human shelter types have developed due to regional climate requirements and availability of material. The methods and materials in the evolution of construction have been intentionally combined to lend a majestic beauty to a well-constructed palapa. In Mexico, as in the rest of the world, aesthetics have closely followed function in human endeavors. Now modern palapa builders also try to use material that is harvested in a sustainable way, and create sensible designs that minimize waste. Continue reading The Art of the Palapa

Palenque Designs Today

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.27.51 PMBy Doreen Woelfel

A trip to Palenque , Chiapas is to delve into the heart of Mayan design. Where in Oaxaca, one sees strong Zapotecan and Mixtec elements in their crafts, Chiapas represents the distinctly Mayan traditions.

Mayan traditions have contributed essential design ideas throughout the world, from jewelry designers, textile artists, painters to architects. A great example is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House in Los Angeles (1924) which reflects his deep admiration for Mayan architecture. When visiting Palenque, you are struck by the elements of architecture that continue to be used today: courtyards, square buildings, quadrangles, open space using platforms of various sizes and levels, and inclusion of landscape elements. As in the small river that was diverted around palaces at Palenque, and yet with wooden bridges, connects one area of Palenque with another. Color was most certainly part of this design, sadly we can only imagine now how those colors blended with the environment to create a unique, prototypical Mayan city. Continue reading Palenque Designs Today

El Centro Histórico: A Cornucopia of Architectural Styles

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 4.18.55 PMBy Carole Reedy

“Grandest, largest, biggest, oldest, most beautiful” are all adjectives that have been used to describe the architecture in El Centro Histórico, Mexico City.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Centro Histórico comprises 700 blocks wrapped around the 13-acre zócalo, the heart of the city and one of the biggest squares in the world–second only to Red Square in Moscow. In 1325, the Aztecs built their Venice-like city, Tenochtitlan, on this site, at the time an island in Lake Texcoco. Continue reading El Centro Histórico: A Cornucopia of Architectural Styles