popo installation by Zeller & Moye, Mexico City – Mexico

October 14th, 2016 by retail design blog

popo transforms a common industrial building material of low-cost, the standard clay block, to a new multi-purpose object by applying a specular glazing to its front face. popo is an utilitarian object, conceptualised by Zeller & Moye for Ideal Estándar, a social franchise model of utilitarian artwork production, developed by the Mexican art gallery Arena México Arte Contemporáneo.

The 1.5 m tall and 8 m long climbable structure is situated within the central patio of the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City forming an outpost of the Design Week Mexico 2016. The pile of blocks is a pixelated 1:350 scale model of the nearby Popocatépetl volcano, including details such as the crater and the volcano’s extensions at its foot. Assembled to a topographic landscape, hundreds of popo blocks resemble the urban sprawl of informal housing that follows the topography of the volcanic peripheries as it can be found in many parts of the valley of Mexico City.

Typically these informal housing conglomerations, similar to the favelas in Brazil, are build from unfinished standard clay or concrete blocks tracing the subjacent topographies. popo recreates the natural landscape of the Popocatépetl volcano while loosely making associations with the phenomenon of the widespread poor settlements around Mexico City. The mirror finish of the block amplifies the contextual situation through reflection and doubling. At the same time it creates an effect that lets the object itself disappear.

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