A few days ago, I returned from the most amazing trip to Mexico. My first time in this wonderful country, I was taken aback by the friendly people, beautiful scenery, and incredible food. I’ll be writing up a number of posts on all the exciting things I saw and did on my trip. And well, there’s nowhere better to start than the beginning! After a relatively painless redeye flight from Vancouver to Mexico City, my friend Liz hit the ground running. We started with a beautiful architectural creation we’d seen online called Casa Gilardi.
Condesa, Mexico City
Casa Gilardi is a relatively short walk away from where we were staying at NH Collection Reforma in the Zona Rosa area of the city. It’s a great hotel that served everything we needed and I’d recommend it. To be honest, I’d felt quite sceptical about visiting Mexico City with regard to safety, and as two girls travelling together we were a little doubtful we’d walk anywhere.
We did, however, walk the twenty minutes to the Condesa neighbourhood and felt safe the whole time. Although you obviously need to exercise caution in a new place, I felt like the city unfortunately experienced a lot of bad press and it really surprised me how fine we actually felt.
Condesa itself is beautiful. It’s trendy, chic, and upmarket. Here, you can expect to find the young and wealthy, with cool new bars, cafes, and restaurants to match. The streets and properties are equally charming, with colours splashed around in all the right places. It’s a joy just wandering around and taking in the sights of people going about their day-to-day in the neighbourhood. Mexico City is typically colonial, colourful, and very much reminds me of Spanish cities thanks to the creative details on every corner.
Brunch at Lardo
We’d worked up quite an appetite having flown through the night after a long final day at work before our vacation. Luckily enough, Lardo was just around the corner. We’d researched and heard all about their tasty brunch.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. You’re greeted by huge vases of fresh flowers, colourful tiles, and the most gorgeous crockery and rose gold cutlery. It’s very Instagrammable, so it was not surprising plenty of Americans eventually joined inside.
As well as charming, rustic interiors, there’s a tempting smell of pastries and fresh coffee. We ordered a couple of cups to keep us awake, as well as the tastiest green juice I’ve had in a long time. Part of the fun of ordering breakfast in Mexico City is that obviously menus are mainly Spanish. Feeling a little rusty on my Spanish, it was partly a gamble when you order.
I wasn’t disappointed when eggs with speck, arugula, and avocado showed up! We ate and moved on for another coffee before our first activity of the day – Casa Gilardi. It’s pretty close to Lardo, which makes it a great place to visit pre- or post-brunch.
Casa Gilardi is an amazing architectural creation in the trendy Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City. It’s the final house designed by legendary contemporary architect, Luis Barragán, who’s known for his bold, minimalist style. The house was first intended to be a bachelor pad, and is now a family home. I’d spotted images of the brightly coloured house online and knew we had to go and visit.
Thank goodness we did. As Barragán’s last property, he actually came out of retirement to design the house for Pancho Gilardi and Martin Luque, who owned an advertising agency in Mexico City. It was completed in 1976, and was intended to offer studio and party space for the two bachelors who were often travelling at the time. After Gilardi’s death, Martin named the casa in his honour, and it became a family home for his wife and children. What’s really cool is that when we arrived, his son was the one who showed us around and told us about the background and history of the design.
Inside Casa Gilardi
Virtually every element of the property was so well considered by Barragán. It was constructed entirely around an old jacaranda tree in the house’s courtyard, and colour is everything. All of the bright colours are based on the paintings of Mexican artist, Chucho Reyes Ferreira. They’re regularly painted to keep them exactly the intended hue. In the corridor above, only the windows are painted, despite it looking as though the entire room is yellow. This is representative of the importance of light throughout the property, which truly transforms the interior.
Through the corridor, there’s a large open space with a shallow swimming pool. This space is primarily for entertaining. It’s designed to enable natural light to flow through, with the colours changing throughout the day. Casa Gilardi is so futuristic for its time, and it’s hard to believe it was designed and constructed back in the 1970s.
All of the rooms inside the house are uniquely furnished by Barragán himself. These vary from antique pieces, to furniture especially commissioned to fit the space. It’s incredible to think there’s actually a family that live inside a minimalist work of art. I wonder where they store all their day to day clutter?
Outside Casa Gilardi
Outdoors, the courtyard is white and purple to complement the blossoms of the feature jacaranda tree when it’s in full bloom. There’s also a roof terrace leading from an adorable pink door. These colourful walls really put the murals of Vancouver and Melrose Avenue to shame!
After leaving the wonderful property and saying our farewell to the family’s son who showed us around, we ventured into the neighbourhood. It’s on a very arty street and there’s a building along the way that reminds me so much of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló on Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia. What do you think? There are lots of really cool arty elements of Mexico City that remind me of Barcelona.
It’s certainly worth wandering around the neighbourhood. You’ll find adorable bars and restaurants in nooks and crannies, and colourful buildings. Let’s not forget all of the amazing tiled walls.
Have you been to Casa Gilardi? What’s your favourite architecture around Mexico City?