Toyo Ito in Mexico. The Master of Japanese architecture was called to celebrate the first Pop art movement of history born in Europe. Already awarded the Pritzker prize and the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, he has designed the International Museum of the Baroque (MIB), in a park in the heart of the city of Puebla.
It is a large wrap of white concrete which perimeter is composed of large curved sails, seems to want to escape to an overall vision and unity, as if at every glance its shape was altered, changing the appearance. To describe the process of composition that led him, the architect starts form the sketch of an orthogonal grid that in a few steps, deforms, breaking and turning to get to generate a series of sinuous open lines, suggesting an idea of a completely different space from that starting point, while retaining the original principle.
After all in order to transgress you need to know the rules perfectly well. They knew well the great Baroque masters at the beginning of the seventeenth century have systematically reread and betrayed the disciplinary canons of the classical art world. The rationality of the Renaissance has gradually transformed into instinctive and risky gestures that have expanded forever the repertoire of shapes and forms of expression, showing that nothing is impossible in the creative field.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the Baroque had such a great success and a global reach, due to the combination of its development with the period of the great conquests overseas: it is rich, funny, apparently free from rigid dogmatic schemes and above all, understandable to all.
The nature of the principles of this movement it is clearly seen in the new Mexican Museum, of course filtered through the privileged lens of the great Japanese master. The result is a fluid space, continuous, dominated by the color white and light - more typically baroque element - that guides the visitor from one room to another, suggesting routes and movements. In a game of Roman citations more or less hidden, ranging from seventeenth-century Oratorio dei Filippini Francesco Borromini to the plant of Casa Baldi by Paul Portuguese (1959-1962).
In addition to this? Ito could not give a second distinctive element: water. Present to lap the perimeter of the museum in the natural forms of the Atoyac River, this reappeared as divertissement in the center of a courtyard that draws an internal square dedicated to relaxation of the visitors: a fountain-pit capable of generating an artificial vortex and flooding, in part the floor.
Opened in 2016, the museum can accommodate nearly 20,000 square meters, on two levels, in addition to the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, restoration workshops, conference rooms and a restaurant with panoramic terrace.
The MIB is credited to become an artistic meeting center with international ambitions. People from all over the world can find here not only a container of objects, but a place thought to catalyze thoughts and reflections. A real cultural institution that, thanks to its design will become a capacitor of timeless ideas.
Opening photo: THE INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE BAROQUE AS SEEN FROM INSIDE THE CENTRAL SQUARE WITH THE FOUNTAIN-PIT. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
THE STRUCTURE IN THE MIB, SIGNED BY ITO STUDY, CONSISTS OF A SERIES OF SAILS WHITE PRESTRESSED IN CONCRETE, WHICH DEFINE THE SPACES OF THE EXHIBITION HALLS, CHARACTERIZED BY THE CONSTANT PRESENCE OF THE NATURAL LIGHT. COURTESY TOYO ITO & ASSOCIATES
THE INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE BAROQUE, RECENTLY OPENED WITHIN A LARGE PARK IN THE HEART OF THE CITY OF PUEBLA. THE LAST WORK SIGNED BY THE JAPANESE MASTER TOYO ITO. COURTESY PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES DANSTEK
THE ENTRANCE TO MIB - INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE BAROQUE OF TOYO ITO IN PUEBLA. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
THE WATER, AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT FOR THE BAROQUE, REAPPEARS AS A DIVERTISSEMENT IN THE CENTRAL COURTYARD OF THE MUSEUM: A FOUNTAIN-PIT CAPABLE OF GENERATING AN ARTIFICIAL VORTEX AND FLOODING, PARTLY THE FLOOR. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
THE PERIMETER OF THE MIB IS LAPPED BY THE WATERS OF THE ATOYAC RIVER, THAT HAVE BEEN DIVERTED TO GENERATE AN ARTIFICIAL LAKE OUTSIDE THE MUSEUM. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
A SIDE VIEW OF THE CURVED WALLS OF THE THE MIB. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
AN OVERVIEW OF THE LATEST ARCHITECTURE IN MEXICO MIB BY TOYO ITO. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
THE OVERHEAD LIGHT, MORE TYPICALLY BAROQUE ELEMENTS, DOMINATING THE SPACE AND GUIDES THE VISITOR FROM ONE ROOM TO ANOTHER, SUGGESTING ROUTES AND MOVEMENTS. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
THE CURVED STAIRCASE LEADS TO THE SECOND LEVEL OF THE MUSEUM WHICH HOUSES LABORATORIES, OFFICES AND THE PANORAMIC RESTAURANT. THE SPACE IS SET UP WITH THE DESIGNED SEAT FROM 'ATELIER KAZUKO FUJIE AND BUILT BY LOCAL TEXTILE ARTISANS. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES
A CLOSE-UP OF THE INTERNAL STAIRCASE CONNECTING THE TWO FLOORS OF THE MIB. PHOTO BY: PATRICK LOPEZ JAIMES