Thursday, 24 January 2013

Luis Barragan

Gilardi House, Barragan Foundation  San Cristobal, Barragan Foundation
Gilardi House, Barragan Foundation | San Cristobal, Barragan Foundation
I first came across Luis Barragan on the 'Around the World in 80 gardens' tv series Monty Don did a few years back & still can't get his amazing 'gardens' and houses out of my mind.

His use of block colour and simple shape & form are used so beautifully and paired with the Mexican blue sky photos of his houses almost become abstract paintings.  His attention to detail is astonishing and how he focuses on the ordinary making it important in it's own right. Like using the shape of stairs as a focal feature, he manages to enhance them and their importance in the space by simply making them a different colour, having them floating on the wall and contrasting to the walls around them, striping them back to their bare essentials of form and function.
   Av. Fuentes, Barragan Foundation   Tlalpan Chapel, Barragan Foundation 
                               Av. Fuentes, Barragan Foundation | Tlalpan Chapel, Barragan Foundation                                                    

The use of colour in Barragan's work is so joyous, it makes you smile and feel alive in an instant. Pink, terracotta, yellow, white, grey all used in harmony and contrast with each other. Full of contradictions working together by being different, pulling on their individual strengths to make a complete powerfully strong whole aesthetic, from whatever angle you look.
  Galvez House, Barragan Foundation  
Galvez House, Barragan Foundation

The use of trees and water for a bit of nature, to show growth, natural beauty, to play with light and an organic form which contrasts with the solid right angles of the buildings. His unusual contrasts like placing of a shallow pool of water in an alleyway with a window work in a mystifyingly simple way. So from inside you will get beautiful reflected light which could captivate you for hours, while outside it appears so random, what's the use of it? and might only be seen for a few moments while you walk past it.

His structures work on so many levels, as functional homes, as beautiful abstract art, contrasting textures and functions, seeing things from different perspectives- from inside through a window, over water, down an alleyway, through a door, up some stairs.

Now just have to get myself to Mexico City to experience what they are really like in person!

(all images via the Barragan Foundation)

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