creates a single surface. Colour is expressed in a single
motif – the Pacific Ocean’s blue and its contrast with
the ochre of the building. The next bay south of
Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, is best known outside of Mexico
for the closing scenes of The Shawshank Redemption.
The blue ocean is magnificent. Framed by the ochre
walls of the hotel, its blue is somehow magnified. Yet
the dark tones absorb and moderate the hot sunlight,
making interior spaces cool and soft.
Mexican art, crafts and life are often vivid with colour.
Bougainvillea, honeysuckle and other flowers pour
over the massive walls of neighbourhoods throughout
the country. Arts and crafts traditions draw on both
pre-Hispanic colours – the feathers and dyes typical of
Otomi, Mayan and Oaxacan work – as well as colonial
imports of china techniques, European stains, paints
and dyes. Mexico sat on the trade route from the
Philippines to Europe via Acapulco, Mexico City and
Veracruz, so it had access to a broader range of colours
than most cultures during the early centuries of the
colonisation of the Americas.
MARCO (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo) is one of
Mexico’s best museums, located in the northern city
of Monterrey. The building uses its bulk to create a
series of public spaces in which the boundary between
art and architecture blurs. The forecourt contains a
5m-high abstract sculpture of a dove (Paloma by Juan
Soriana), and a sequence of spaces leads from there
through a lobby and into a massive water court. The
through deep apertures and
becomes itself blue’