How MUMEDI lives and breathes art through its design hotel, restaurant, gallery, café, shop and event space that captivate local creatives.
Mexico City’s pedestrian-only Francisco I. Madero Avenue, or Madero Street, was originally named after the historical leader of the Anti-Re-Election Movement and former President of Mexico before he was assassinated. Today, it’s a focal point in Centro Histórico which connects the sacred Zócalo, the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes and the spiritual Metropolitan Cathedral. It is also home to MUMEDI – a design hotel, restaurant, gallery, café, shop and event space.
Better yet, MUMEDI is an artistic experience.
Designer Alvaro Reno García de Alba fulfilled his desire to realize an all-purpose space for graphic and industrial designers in Mexico. After giving more than 400 lectures in 12 countries, the visionary recognized a need to celebrate and satiate a global curiosity towards Mexican art – both historical and contemporary. When MUMEDI came to life, it instantly responded to every sensory neuron of an art fanatic, from what the eyes see to where the foot steps on.
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SPEND A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
The building itself is more than 400 years old, constructed on the palace of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés – Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca – who headed an expedition which eventually led to the fall of the Aztec Empire. The foundation of MUMEDI’s building is also from the pyramid of the Aztec Emperor Huehue Moctezuma Ilhuicamina ( 1440 to 1469.) Although, the current façade was designed at the end of the 18th century, by a disciple of Manuel Tolsá (architect with works like the Palace of Mining and the National Museum of San Carlos.) Later, this became the property of Count of Our Lady of Guadalupe del Peñasco, Don Francisco Mora y Luna, Colonel of Dragons of the Provincial Militia (1719-1788) and his wife the Countess Ildefonsa Pérez Calderón.
Today, MUMEDI Design Hotel boasts six spacious suites, each is decorated in contemporary styles with different flairs. Contrasting the antiquated history rooted in its ancient neighborhood, the suites are adorned with modern amenities as well as large paintings created by local Mexican artists. It’s almost as if a traveler can spend a night at a museum, immersed in barren brick walls, underneath exalted wood beams.
As sunlight illuminates the entire skeleton of the building: grand, spiral staircase bolstered by delicate, antique railings. There’s something to be said about an evident juxtaposition between archaic beauty and modern paintings plastered on the walls of MUMEDI that bleakly outline a dramatic theme – A La Muerte Con Una Sonrisa, or To Death With A Smile.
A LIVING SHOWROOM
At the very core of MUMEDI’s brand, it lives and breaths art. Nowhere else in the entire building is the message more clear than in its museum – a creative space where permanent and temporary exhibitions are showcased. Its current theme regarding the subject of “death” can be interpreted as an artistic extension of the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. The austere subject is also the source of inspiration that one can see through various forms of art: graphic design, industrial, accessories, photography, illustration, typography…and much more. The mission is to celebrate young Mexican designers by offering a common space to highlight their work.
On the ground floor of MUMEDI, stroll past the restaurant and guests can pause to admire an art gallery at the end of the hall. For a decade, the exhibition has received thousands of submissions that study the way death is perceived in Mexico as well as in other cultures. “To Death With A Smile” is meant to examine a morbid topic with humor. Hence, a painting of a woman taking a selfie with a ghost under a fabricated Instagram account @selfie_girl. Or a floral poster of an effervescent skull beneath a quote by Edvard Munch,
“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow. And I am in them and that is eternity.”
The duality of life and death is a clear extension of a whimsical narrative throughout the exhibition, such as the image of a coffin as a Google Map pin above the text “You Are Here – death is watching over us all the time.” Or a simple quote that captions,
“Death is not the opposite of life but a part of it.”
A GATHERING PLACE FOR CREATIVE MINDS
Led by chef Aaron Gómez Figueroa, MUMEDI’s restaurant is beyond a regular coffee shop or a restaurant for quick bites. Today, it has grown into a meeting space for artists in all industries to gather and create. The chef has composed dishes based on the idea of “food design,” in addition to freshly made fares with local ingredients. Fried shrimp tacos and fig salads are just a few tasty examples. The all-day service also includes delicious smoothies, teas and coffees. All can be enjoyed next to giant panels of artwork.
MUMEDIShop – AN EXPERIMENTAL INCUBATOR
On both sides of the restaurant, there are shop products displayed throughout the ground floor. As a major supporter of local artisans and designers, MUMEDIShop carries a comprehensive inventory of artistic goods. Moreover, 80% of it is made in Mexico. What it has actually developed into is an experimental incubator for small to mid-sized designers and companies where they can sell their products. At the shop, guests can find Frida Kahlo-inspired mugs, niche publications, artisanal accessories, avant-garde design jewelries. From receiving feedback directly from the customers, designers can instantly learn and make alterations.
Having maximized every corner of the entire building, it’s not a surprise that MUMEDI also uses its facility as a vibrant event space. The multi-functional hotel, restaurant, art gallery and shop has turned out to be an impeccable venue for cocktail hours, corporate meetings, press conferences…etc. Guests can simply fill out a form on the MUMEDI website to organize events that captivate creatives in the marketing, design, and communication industries.
The heart of MUMEDI has always been embedded in celebrating art, which explains the final piece of its brand DNA: a foundation which supports graphic and industrial design in Mexico. The artistic experience begins from the moment guests step inside the storied building situated on the bustling Madero Street. And the true MUMEDI experience doesn’t end, because the abundance of art leads to boundless inspiration to create even more.
That is, if the artist in you has been woken up.