Inside a Mexico City apartment that’s an avant-garde marvel
There is an element of spectacle and obsession, perhaps even a bit of madness, in the work of Astrid and Eddy Sykes, founders of the multidisciplinary Mexico city firm rinkeMX. Tucked discreetly behind the historic facade of an early 20th-century building on the outskirts of the Mexican capital, the duplex apartment the designers designed for a young family is a tour de force of material exploration and brio. sculptural, astonishing and completely sui generis. The kitchen alone, with its bent brass countertops and marble island that reads like a Mayan sacrificial altar, deserves a dissertation on eccentricity, experiential design, and structural bravery.
In short, nothing like it.
“It took us three months just to make the dish rack. We’re obsessed with everything people touch, how they interact with a space, and the objects that fill it. It’s our passion,” says Astrid. Eddy underscores the philosophical imperative that drives the company’s distant experimentations: “We work from micro to macro, starting with the way someone enters a room, the doorknob and the light switch, where he plugs in his iPhone. We focus on touchpoints, places where questions of ergonomics and tactile experience present opportunities to create something extraordinary,” he explains.
The couple’s individual resumes hint at the genesis of their decidedly unconventional approach. An architect by training, Eddy went into engineering, working for a company that developed high-tech systems for aerospace and military applications, as well as bespoke projects for architects and designers under Rem Koolhaas, David Chipperfield, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Rick Owens. His personal research into form, materials and technology has produced a plethora of mad scientist concoctions, most notably his Yakuza Lou series of origami-like mechanized chandeliers. Astrid earned a master’s degree in architecture in Paris before decamping to UC Berkeley for another in landscape architecture. She spent a decade working for Los Angeles landscape maestro Mia Lehrer at Studio-MLA, contributing to major public commissions such as the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Holocaust Museum LA, and Ishihara Park in Santa Monica.
After moving from LA to Mexico City three years ago, the duo launched rinkleMX as a hybrid practice of architecture, design, landscape and custom fabrication. The firm’s big breakthrough came in the form of an open-ended mission to reinvent an urban pied-à-terre for a couple with two young children. “Their whole folder and inspiration board was a photo of the Peacock Room,” Eddy recalls, referring to the Aesthetic Movement salon designed by Thomas Jeckyll and James McNeill Whistler, which was built in London and then relocated. at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington. , DC “We knew they wanted something different, something special, but they basically left it up to us to decide what that meant,” says Astrid.
Over the next two years, the Sykes took up the challenge with enthusiasm, conjuring up a series of spectacular and interconnected twists of decorative art and architecture. The upper-floor central kitchen draws its strength from four compelling design elements: an island of reconstituted Tikal green marble from Guatemala, with a topographical mountain range separating the cooking surface from the counter; an elongated architectonic sink in coarse travertine; a bravura ceiling of folded brass aircraft cascading into a wall of faceted brass pantry doors; and a floor of swirled tiles of colored concrete and marble dust, designed in collaboration with Pablo Kobayashi and handmade on site. “Different pieces speak their own design languages, but they stay in conversation with each other and with the users of the space,” observes Eddy.