Mexico City: Mei’s Inspiration Travel

Celebrate the Magic that is Mexico City and Explore the Love, Life & Art of Frida Kahlo!

To many the idea of Mexico brings up sandy beaches and turquoise waters, laid-back Latin music and lazy afternoons of nursing fruity Margaritas.

To me, someone who grew up in China during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Mexico I imagined was inspired by a rare attendance of a Mexican National Music and Art Performance. The big and colorful skirts and the hats of the dancers dazzled me, and the fast moving tempo of the music painted a picture of a country of beautiful colors and happy people. But it took me more than 20 years from this childhood experience to visit Mexico’s fascinating capital in person.

Many cities are defined by their landscape; some by their historical monuments, palaces, and museums. Mexico City has it all. But a description of Mexico’s capital is not complete without mentioning two amazing artists that called Mexico City their home: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Home of Two Amazing Artists – Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

I arrived in Mexico City one day before my sister and her friend, who were joining me for a three-day short trip to the city. I knew my sister and her friend would want to hit the most popular tourist spots like the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, “the city of the gods”. I decided to pay a visit to the House-Studio Museum of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as well as the Frida Kahlo Museum to learn more about Mexico’s intriguing artists, who are also remembered for their passionate and stormy marriage.

Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the 20th century, Diego Rivera has had a huge effect on the international art world. He has been credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and architecture, and was able to introduce his work into the everyday lives of the people by painting his work on public buildings in Mexico City. Diego’s most famous murals depict scenes from Mexican history and his art always reflected his intense social and political views.

Frida’s work, in contrast, is very personal and intimate. She is best known for her self-portraits that include native Mexican symbolism and are painted in intense, vibrant colors. A survivor of polio as a child, at age 18 Frida was seriously injured in a car accident and suffered throughout her life from health problems. Frida’s self-portraits highlight these physical struggles as well as her emotional pain resulting from the turbulent relationship with Diego. But throughout all of her life, Diego remained the biggest supporter of Frida’s art.

A Peak into the Inner Works of Diego Rivera at the House-Studio Museum

Architecturally, the House-Studio Museum of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is a complete stand-out in the traditional colonial neighborhood of San Angel. It is one of the first constructions of the modern movement in the American continent. This avant garde home where Frida and Diego lived from 1934 through 1940 includes 2 separate houses, painted in bright blue and red, which are joined by a walkway. Frida lived and worked in the blue block, and Diego had his rooms in the red block.

Diego’s studio has a very open and minimalist structure with large open windows allowing sunlight to come in at all time of the day. Here he created over 3000 paintings. Inside Diego’s area are many traditional Mexican sculptures and his easel and many paint utensils are on display. One can clearly imagine Diego painting away with his brushes and acrylic paints still on the desk.

If Diego’s House-Studio allows a peak into the inner works of a great talent, the Frida Kahlo Museum in Frida’s family home showcases the intimate details of her personal life along with her art.

A Visit to Frida Kahlo’s Family Home, La Casa Azul, in the very chic neighbourhood of Coyoacan

Known as The Blue House for the cobalt-blue exterior walls, the museum is located in Coyoacan, a very chic suburb filled with historical residences and great restaurants. This is where Frida was born and where she spent the final years of her life.

One cannot stop to be surprised by how well the house has been preserved. The courtyard is the center of the building and is filled with many beautiful plants and sculptures. It reveals Frida’s immense love for flora and fauna. Inside the house, Frida’s living quarters have been maintained to showcase how the artist lived.

Beautiful and intricate lace is laid out everywhere, on Frida’s bed and across tables. And there are photos and artwork of Frida and her friends. If it was not for the many tourists you are surrounded by, one could feel as if walking around the rooms close to Frida who is wearing one of her indigenous Mexican Tehuana dresses and some of her gorgeous jewelries. And Frida’s self-portraits on display are so stunning they continue to inspire designers and filmmakers alike.

The metropolis that is Mexico City, built over ancient Aztec ruins with romantic streets, stairs and colonial houses painted in vibrant colors, presented a perfect backdrop for a Blissliving Home design story which I knew from the beginning would be centered on Frida.

We wanted to Capture the Passion, the Love, and the Drama that was Frida’s Life

As we started our design journey, our first and most important study was that of Frida’s self-portraits which capture the passion, the love, and the drama that was Frida’s life. We decided to focus on a floral theme inspired by the beautiful garden at La Casa Azul.

Our Frida bed is a sea of midnight blue which opens up to passionate oversized blossoms of Dahlias, the national flower of Mexico. Building on Blissliving Home’s signature design philosophy, this bed is an interpretation of Frida’s life as a woman and as an artist. Bearing in mind the darkest and the brightest moments of her life, we wanted the bed to reveal Frida’s vulnerability, her radiance and her bold style.

Paying tribute to Frida’s family home in Coyoacan, we next painted a stormy blue bed with watercolor and ink technique on a linen-textured background. Named Casa Azul, this bed is at once peaceful and thought-provoking and also conceptual.

A Celebration of Mexico City, its Rich Culture, and the Traditions of the Mexican People

To celebrate Mexico City and the rich culture and traditions of its people, we wanted to add a bed inspired by the motifs, colors and textures I noticed during my visit. The famous “House of Tiles” on Francisco Madero Street, the many restaurants, tables, terra cotta potteries, rugs and stairs all served as inspiration. With the Madero bed, which has the most literal Mexican feel of all the beds in the collection, I wanted to communicate my deep appreciation of the culture and the craftsmanship of those items that helped make my visit in Mexico City so memorable.

The fourth bed in this collection is named Zocalo after the main square in Mexico City’s historic center which has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times. Honoring the city’s history, the Zocalo bed is a jacquard design with an Aztec inspired pattern. Woven with intricate strands of white, gray and black yarns, we were able to achieve a stunning texture in this bed that is bold and modern but with a definite Mexican influence.

As with each Blissliving Home collection, we added an amazing amount of decorative throws and pillows for each bed. We searched the world for the most stunning materials and techniques to accentuate each bed with items that provide texture, color, depth and motifs that complement the bedding design. To top it off, we created an embroidered coverlet with an amazingly soft hand and made it available in a selection of vibrant colors.

Now that we can look at this collection as a whole, I still feel inspired by the life, the art, and the passion of Frida Kahlo and enchanted by the magic that is Mexico City. The memories are so fresh and lovely, I almost feel as if I just returned from coffee with Frida and her friends at her house. I very much hope our audience will share this experience as they enjoy these new Blissliving Home designs.

Mei Xu
Creator & CEO