Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
How can we potentialize development and help communities grow when, over time, we see that charity and money by itself are not the answer? Casa Wabi –an initiative by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi– is an example that seems like a suitable solution in our current society.
During our recent stay at Hotel Escondido in Oaxaca, we paid a visit to the house, which is the only other construction within a 10-mile perimeter from the hotel. Hidden between the deserted beach and the forest, it is easy to become impressed by the grandeur of the whole structure from the moment you walk in. The main “palapa” roof, a mix of Japanese design and Mexican materials, along with the predominance of concrete in the entire construction, lets you connects the dots to discover that it was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Casa Wabi was thought by Bosco Sodi to be a residence for artists from all over the world, in order to connect their work with the local towns in Oaxaca. The objective is to bring talent that can be shared and learnt by the people living in those poor villages, as a way to artistically empower these communities.
How does it feel to be there? Just as Tadao Ando’s signature, the place is minimalistic at its best. There are studios for the artists that only have a wooden table and a chair, facing the forest or the beach view. The main building has a long table for the artists to interact, giving the feeling that they are gathered as a community towards achieving the same goals. The only sounds are those of the sea, the wind, and the birds flying around. We could only think of the word “zen” to really describe this place. Sodi envisioned to make the place a creative refuge, and it indeed feels inspirational to be surrounded by nature, with only your basic needs to work and live.
There are spaces for exhibitions, a swimming pool and six residences for artists that are invited from periods of 1 to 3 months. The artists work together with the inhabitants from different villages, and at the end of the stay they are rewarded with the satisfaction of positively affecting people’s lives through their work. Kids and adults can change or even learn a way to think about art, and about life perspectives.
I am proud to show you this place at Chicmuse, as it really resonates with the way things should be done in our generation. Innovation should be more human. It should provide disadvantaged communities with the necessary tools to preserve traditions and beauty in places like rural Oaxaca. Beautiful design paired with kind objectives are the key to better living.
photos by Ruy Sanchez