Mexico

Attending the Flower and Garden Festival, and exploring the Soumaya and Jumex museums in Mexico City

Ema Bakalova

Oct 18, 2022

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Soumaya Museum in Mexico City
Soumaya Museum in Mexico City

Mexico City is a place where culture, color, and creativity come together in a magnificent way. This trip was a wedding trip, beginning in Monterrey (San Pedro), then spending the week in Mexico City and ending in San Carlos (Sonora). I met my boyfriend Claudio a few years ago. He is originally from Mexico, and has since opened up the vibrant world of Mexico to me.

The streets of Mexico City
The streets of Mexico City

Staying in Polanco

We stayed in Polanco, a more upscale neighborhood in Mexico City. It is known for its ambiance, and often holds various cultural events, art exhibitions and festivals throughout the year. We stayed in Polanco for the week, and what I loved the most about the neighborhood was its tree-lined avenues, modern architecture, upscale residences, abundant green spaces, and lively streets full of people, lights, music and energy. You can find a lot of open green spaces and parks in Polanco that create a nice contrast to the concrete urban landscape of a traditional city. For example, Chapultepec Park, one of the largest city parks in the world, borders Polanco and was one of our favourite places to go on long walks and runs throughout our stay.

"Is it just me, or do others also instinctively seek out healthy lunch spots and cafes whenever they travel to a new place?"

Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City

Finding a lunch spot: Mora Mora

Our go-to healthy lunch spot in Polanco was Mora Mora. I highly recommend trying their acai bowls. They have a wide variety of healthy options. Gluten free friendly.

Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City

Finding a lunch spot: Mora Mora

Our go-to healthy lunch spot in Polanco was Mora Mora. I highly recommend trying their acai bowls. They have a wide variety of healthy options. Gluten free friendly.

Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City
Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City
Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City
Mora mora lunch spot in Polanco, Mexico City

Festival de flores y jardines 2022

The week we visited Mexico City also happened to be the week of the 2022 edition of the Festival de Flores y Jardines. The festival was a botanical extravaganza, featuring intricate flower arrangements, lush gardens, and large floral sculptures. The festival spread throughout the city, but was focused in Polanco, close to where we stayed. I definitely recommend visiting Mexico City during this time of year, as it takes the city's natural beauty to new heights, featuring meticulously crafted floral sculptures and intricate botanical creations that are like nothing I had ever seen before.

Essentially, local and international artists join forces with skilled gardeners, landscapers, architects, artists, designers, craftsmen, and students, to create living artwork that seamlessly blends creativity with nature. The sculptures that were designed and built, really changed my perception of what I thought was possible with flowers, turning them into living canvases that told their own stories and conveyed different emotions.

Festival de flores y jardines 2022
Festival de flores y jardines 2022
Festival de flores y jardines 2022
Festival de flores y jardines 2022
Festival de flores y jardines 2022
Festival de flores y jardines 2022

Blossom overnight

We arrived in Mexico City a day before the festival began and stayed for a few days afterwards. On our arrival day, the city was in its usual lush green state. However, the transformation was nothing short of magical. Overnight, dedicated teams assembled intricate flower arrangements and sculptures. When we stepped outside the next morning, the entire city had burst into life with hundreds of blooming flowers, and thousands of vibrant plant formations.

Festival de flores y jardines 2022

Transforming the city

A look at a worker setting up a flower arrangement spanning between two buildings in Polanco. Following the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, this tradition was revived and the flower arrangements really aimed to "revitalize" the city.

Festival de flores y jardines 2022

Transforming the city

A look at a worker setting up a flower arrangement spanning between two buildings in Polanco. Following the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, this tradition was revived and the flower arrangements really aimed to "revitalize" the city.

Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City

"Rebirth"

This year, the Festival de Flores y Jardines explored the theme of "Rebirth." The concept behind this theme was that while us humans are only born once, we still have the potential to experience multiple "emotional rebirths" throughout our lifetime. It is through these emotional rebirths, that we can find ways to challenge established norms and paradigms. Over the past few years, humanity has grappled with the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As it was a challenging time for most of us, the result of this crisis has undoubtedly reshaped the way we interact, connect, and perceive the world around us, effectively offering us a chance for a fresh start—a rebirth.

I learned that the Flower and Garden Festival aimed to not only encourage self reflection, but also open a dialogue with others. It was meant to guide us towards adopting habits that align more closely with the natural world and the evolving reality we continuously find ourselves in.

Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City

Floral arrangements as sculptures

The floral arrangements didn't just consist of large individual sculptures, but they also lined the streets, covered store fronts and building facades, and decorated the sidewalks and benches. The interwoven tapestry of flowers connected and harmonized various elements of the urban context, creating a captivating blend of nature and city life.

Each and every flower, regardless of its size, exhibited flawless beauty. Each bloom was perfection with impeccable blossoms that had been meticulously shaped to fit into their intended arrangements.

Floral facades at the Flower festival in Mexico City

Floral Facades

The floral displays where both seperate sculptural elements as well as store front facades, that were adorned with colorful flower arrangements. This made storefronts increasingly inviting and welcoming to visitors.

Floral facades at the Flower festival in Mexico City

Floral Facades

The floral displays where both seperate sculptural elements as well as store front facades, that were adorned with colorful flower arrangements. This made storefronts increasingly inviting and welcoming to visitors.

Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City
Flower festival in Mexico City

Museo Soumaya

One of the most iconic museums in Mexico City (and arguably in the world) is Museo Soumaya. The building itself is a piece of art that stands out in the city's skyline. Its distinctive design features include a shimmering facade composed of thousands of hexagonal aluminum tiles, that give the building a futuristic and almost animalistic appearance. The reflective surface of the tiles changes throughout the day, creating a dynamic play of light and shadow.

Museo Soumaya in Mexico city

Museo Soumaya

This art museum is in the heart of Mexico City. The museum is actually free because it is a private museum and a non-profit cultural institution. So is Museo Jumex.

The museum has an organic, curvilinear shape that resembles a large twisted geometric volume. The twisting exterior contributes to the creation of unconventional gallery spaces and influences the flow and circulation within the museum. Visitors are guided through a series of interconnected spaces creating a fluid journey as they explore the exhibits evoking a sensation reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York.

The organization of gallery spaces, the integration of natural and artificial light, the flow of visitors, and the overall structural and artistic considerations within the museum are a testament to the current innovation in architecture. Blending aesthetics, functionality and sustainability together, have all resulted in an iconic cultural landmark in the heart of Mexico City.

Museo Soumaya in Mexico city
Museo Soumaya in Mexico city

The public space around the Soumaya features several outdoor art installations, sculptures, and art pieces. These artworks are thoughtfully placed throughout the plaza, adding an artistic dimension to the area and encouraging visitors to engage with art in an open-air setting. The plaza also provides you with the opportunity to step back and appreciate the Soumaya from a distance, allowing you to take in its entirety from a far.

Plaza Carso provides a lot of areas where visitors can sit and observe the surrounding museums and enjoy the open public spaces. The public space around Museo Soumaya compliments the museum's architecture and features well-tended green spaces, creating a visual contrast to the sleek silver appearance of the adjacent modern design. These pockets of greenery provide a sense of serenity and incorporates greenery amidst the urban environment.

Museo Soumaya in Mexico city
Museo Soumaya in Mexico city

Museo Jumex

Museo Jumex is a contemporary art museum that sits beside the Soumaya. Both buildings are part of the same cultural complex, so you will be able to visit both during your trip there. We observed both buildings from close up and from a distance, noticing how each design had their own unique set of details. Designed by David Chipperfield, Jumex is a very different building than Museo Soumaya, being that it is more minimal and contemporary in its architecture style, rather than curvilinear and futuristic. Its exterior, features a clean, rectilinear design with a monolithic appearance characterized by a concrete facade and a sawtooth roof.

The interior of Museo Jumex is characterized by its simplicity and focuses on functionality. It features clean lines and spacious galleries. I would recommend going to the second floor of the museum where the open balcony gives you a great elevated view of the Soumaya. While the two buildings exhibit distinct styles and appearances, they do engage in a visual dialogue through the plaza. The terrace on the second floor of Jumex establishes a visual connection with the Soumaya, and both buildings appear to complement each other, neither one overshadowing the other in terms of attention or presence (Claudio disagrees with this statement, he thinks that the Soumaya completely overpowers Jumex, while I appreciated them both equally).

Museo Jumex in Mexico City
Museo Jumex in Mexico City
Museo Jumex in Mexico City

Jumex close up

From a distance, you can see the entirety of the sawtooth roof, while approaching the building allows you to appreciate the sleek, uncluttered, and minimalist elegance of the concrete facade up close.

Museo Jumex in Mexico City

Jumex close up

From a distance, you can see the entirety of the sawtooth roof, while approaching the building allows you to appreciate the sleek, uncluttered, and minimalist elegance of the concrete facade up close.

After our visit to Museum Jumex, we gave their cafe a visit. The café embodies the same minimalism and elegance seen throughout the museum. Clean lines, a neutral color palette, integrated outdoor greenery and the use of natural materials such as wood and concrete creates an uncluttered indoor/outdoor space.

If you're staying in Polanco, the walk to both museums is quite convenient, they are easy to walk to and walking there gives you a great opportunity to see a new part of the city. After our visit, we even stopped at the grocery store next door to pick up some food.

Coffee shop at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City

eno JUMEX

A contemporary restaurant and café located on the first floor of Museo Jumex. We only stopped for a coffee, but the food looked great too.

Museo Jumex in Mexico City
Museo Jumex in Mexico City

Bosque de Chapultepec

Bosque de Chapultepec was the park we went to every morning for our runs, conveniently located just a short distance from our Airbnb. It gave us the perfect combination of a place to exercise, while getting the opportunity to explore the park and its surroundings at the same time. It is located in the heart of Mexico City, adjacent to several prominent neighborhoods, including Polanco and Condesa.

Running through Bosque de Chapultepec

High altitude

Mexico City's high altitude, at around 7,350 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level, made exercise more challenging compared to New York City, which is much lower in elevation, typically ranging from sea level to 410 feet (125 meters) above sea level.

Running through Bosque de Chapultepec

High altitude

Mexico City's high altitude, at around 7,350 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level, made exercise more challenging compared to New York City, which is much lower in elevation, typically ranging from sea level to 410 feet (125 meters) above sea level.

The park is full of lush greenery, serene lakes, and walking/running trails. There are both cultural and recreational attractions throughout the park. For example, we stopped at both the National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología) and the Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), which houses the National History Museum. There are beautiful old fountains throughout the park, and located near the Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), the Altar of the Homeland is a small archaeological site that features remnants of an Aztec altar. Additionally, on our last run in the park we stopped at Tetzcutzinco, also known as the Baths of Moctezuma, which is another archaeological site within Chapultepec Park. It's believed to have been a bathing area used by Moctezuma II, the Aztec emperor. The site includes stone structures and pools that once served as baths.

Bosque de Chapultepec
Bosque de Chapultepec

Design House - Design Week 2022

Design House, is an annual event celebrating Mexican design, that takes place in Mexico City, making creative use of a carefully selected modernist residence for a series of collaborative installations. We took an uber from Polanco to the Design House which was located in a gorgeous upscale neighborhood called Lomas de Chapultepec. If you are simply interested in driving past some incredible houses and properties, I would recommend a drive through this part of the city.

Design house visited during design week Mexico

Design week in Mexico

The mid century home showcased work and designs by local designers. You can read more about Design Week and the house we visited here.

As part of Design Week Mexico, more than 20 designers and artists collaborated with local brands and art dealers to populate a home crafted by Mexican architect Enrique Castañeda Tamborrel with carefully curated design pieces grouped into distinct and thematic setups. Essentially, the entire house was turned into an interactive display room.

Design house visited during design week Mexico
Design house visited during design week Mexico
Design house visited during design week Mexico
Design house visited during design week Mexico
Design house visited during design week Mexico

A designer must-see

For designers and architects, attending Design Week in Mexico City is a must. It not only offers exposure to a unique design aesthetic but also provides valuable insights into the local design scene and current trends in the field.

Design house visited during design week Mexico

A designer must-see

For designers and architects, attending Design Week in Mexico City is a must. It not only offers exposure to a unique design aesthetic but also provides valuable insights into the local design scene and current trends in the field.

Staying safe while you travel

We stayed in Polanco for a few reasons, one being that the flower festival was to take place here, and the second, being that there is a higher level of security due to the presence of luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and upscale boutiques in the area.

Without a doubt, it is important to do your research about certain cities and areas in Mexico if you're planning to visit, and stay informed about any specific safety recommendations or travel advisories from official sources. Some of the websites we use to see the advisory levels and information on our specific travel destinations are: The US Travel Advisory and The Canadian Travel Advisory. It also really helps to visit with someone who speaks the language of the country, if you don't know it yourself.

I also want to mention that being well-informed about safety restrictions is important no matter where you go and is not exclusive to Mexico. This is a standard practice for us in all our travels. We consistently refer to trusted sources beforehand to stay updated on travel advisories and safety guidelines for any country we plan to visit.

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