MAIN OFFICE redesigns traditional Mexican villas to escape the bustle of modern life
The Mexico and Sweden-based studio MAIN OFFICE www.mainoffice.eu has recently expanded and revived Villa Pelícanos, an existing residential complex dating from the ‘80s, and nestled in the tropical landscape of Mexico’s West Coast. Located in Sayulita — a beach town that is a popular destination for health, wellness and surfing retreats, the project is composed of a series of pavilion-like individual dwellings that descend a slope facing the Pacific Ocean
Immersed in the jungle, the new holiday complex, surrounded by lush vegetation and featuring its own private beach, accommodates up to 20 guests and exudes the mellow ambience of a yoga retreat.
The architects redesigned eight villas and a common area at the top of the hill including a shared kitchen, a dining room and a swimming pool, preserving the references to the African aesthetic, which reflect the heritage of the resort’s previous owner, originally from South Africa. As a result, the project eclectically combines Mexican elements and an African mood.
While externally preserving its original atmosphere and palapa roofs, the architects endeavoured to create contextual interiors that resolve the pathologies suffered by the original structure due to its direct exposure to the tropical sun and the ocean breeze, while leaving the least environmental impact as possible.
The materials used for the restoration are all sourced from local resources. For the warm interior elements such as room dividers, closet doors and furniture, entirely designed by MAIN OFFICE, the architects chose indigenous Parota wood, which is resistant to humidity and salinity. The formerly coloured interior walls are deliberately painted white, complementing the interior components and acting as a neutral background that does not detract from the stunning views. New fixed elements including bed frames, sinks and bathtubs, are made of on-site cast concrete, which blends with the warm touch of the local Parota wood, creating an unusual environment, both rustic and welcoming.
The original wooden doors and windows have been restored and upgraded, and the revolutionized with a new terrazzo floor and transformed into simple interstitial spaces that expand the interiors while letting the jungle in.
“The project consists of a series of small private spaces blurring the usual boundaries between inside and outside, creating a unique experience with the natural setting while maintaining a cozy, homey feeling” say MAIN OFFICE’s founders Dante Borgo and Isabella Eriksson.
Thus, the new spatial interventions in the villas celebrate the site’s natural setting. An exterior shower defined by stones creating a secluded wall opens towards the sky and the treetops, an outdoor bathtub in in-situ concrete overlooking the Pacific Ocean allows guests to merge into nature. Smaller external showers and terraces interact with the jungle scenery and the sea-horizon.
A key feature located at the bottom of the slope, is the yoga platform that takes the shape of a perfect half-circle, nestled amongst the forested banks. The cut-in-the-landscape is enhanced by the retaining wall constructed ad-hoc in local stone. The floor is made of durable Cumaru wood, naturally resistant to wear and harsh climates. Adjacent to the platform, stone planters house a majestic Papelillo tree that frames idyllic views of the Pacific Ocean, helping to create the perfect spot to exercise and enjoy the therapeutic and relaxing power of nature.
Project name: Villa Pelícanos
Location: Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico
Architect: MAIN OFFICE (Sima Agisheva, Dante Borgo, Isabella Eriksson)
Project team: Angie Guzmán, Paulina Castro, Mave Zurita, Luis Gordian, Brenda Cibrian, Pablo Alemán.
Completion: October 2020
Construction phase: February 2019 – July 2020
GFA: 340 sqm (renovation)
Contractor: Terraza Construcciones, Sayulita (Mexico)
Furniture design: MAIN OFFICE
Photography: ©Rafael Gamo
About MAIN OFFICE
MAIN OFFICE is an architectural practice based in Mexico and in Sweden, working within the fields of interior design, architecture and urban planning. Founded in 2014 by architects Dante Borgo and Isabella Eriksson, MAIN OFFICE rejects any precipitation on the architectural form. MAIN OFFICE is convinced that taking the time to involve the client in the design process fosters better architectural quality.
“Each project is special and a challenge; therefore we like to go beyond standard solutions in order to re-define new typologies.” says founders Dante Borgo and Isabella Eriksson.
MAIN OFFICE strongly believes in design as a process and that analysing each parameter of the project is an opportunity rather than a limitation. Whenever there is a strategic approach to the project, restrictions turn into key elements to develop innovative projects that suit all kinds of budgets, locations, and rigorous design and construction agendas. MAIN OFFICE’s portfolio includes several residential, hospitality and retail projects in Mexico and in Sweden.
Dante Borgo holds a Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism from the TU Delft (Delft University of Technology) in the Netherlands. In 2012, Dante worked for the Rotterdam office of KAAN Architecten. As project leader, he led some of the company’s international projects in countries such as China, Belgium and Spain. In 2014, together with Swedish architect Isabella Eriksson, he founded MAIN OFFICE, a multidisciplinary practice focusing on architecture, urbanism and interior design. Dante leads the Mexican outpost along with Sima Agisheva. In parallel, he’s a professor and lecturer at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) campus in Guadalajara (Mexico), where he teaches architectural design and theory.
Isabella Eriksson holds a Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden and the TU Delft (Delft University of Technology) in the Netherlands. In 2012, Isabella joined BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) to work on several projects within the urban and architectonic scale. In 2014, , together with the Mexican architect Dante Borgo, she founded MAIN OFFICE, a multidisciplinary practice with offices in Mexico and Sweden. Isabella leads the Swedish office while simultaneously teaching at the Architecture Department of the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.