Flor de Mayo Design Hotel

Hospitality Architecture | Cuernavaca, Morelos

Design | Yamile Márquez y Francisco Elías
Construction | Yamile Márquez
Interior Architecture | Francisco Elías — Elías Arquitectura
Collaborators | Arnaud Serrurier
Advice | Eliseo Berrios Rosado
Graphic Representation | Jorge Pérez Boenecker
Landscape Architecture | Eduardo Peón
Research | Abraham Villavicencio, Salvatore Micciche, Mauricio Ramírez Gandarilla y Laura Heckmann
Furniture | 100% Corian® Design by Francisco Elías, Casa Italia. Contardi, VERPAN by Verner Panton, Magis, Arper, Luminara
Furniture Corian® DuPont™ | Gaby Díaz — OT Worshop
Wood Mnaufacture Furniture | Manuel Estarau — Mueblares
Vintage Furniture | Aitor Garrido
Fashion | Diana Saldivar
Art in reception | Laura Valencia
Art in rooms | Armando De la Garza
Art in pool | Daniel Silvo
Pool Advisor | Ana Nicolau
Lightning Design and Special Objects | Aitorismo by Aitor Garrido
Textile Design | Aitor Garrido y Marisol Centeno
Reception Bar Design | Gaby Díaz y Carol Rosas Landa
Floor Design | Yvonne Guerra — Mosaicos México Córdoba, Veracruz
Location | Cuernavaca, México
Year | 2011 — 2012

The Flor de Mayo Hotel invites its hosts to have an experience based on the direct contact between nature and the built environment. Being a distinctive tree of America, with a broad presence in the South of Mexico, the “Cacaloxochitl” or “Flor de Mayo” is the symbol of the project.

The symbolism of the flower is extensive, encompassed in the use of clothing, headdresses, and ritual beverages in many different regions of the country. The main theme of the project has also been concentrated around the history of the place; it was designed within an old building of which only the XIX century façade remained, and located in the downtown of the City of Cuernavaca. Elías Arquitectura respected this structure and built an interior atmosphere from it.

The architecture of Cuernavaca is identified by being directly related to its landscape. The weather offers particularities that historically have allowed for the creation of spaces where the limits between nature and construction are not too strict, that is why the garden appears as a recurring element in the way people dwell in this area. At all times, this project takes into consideration the possibility of this experience by displaying diverse moments of the history of the garden in architecture, to reinterpret it into the requirements of the program.

The garden, understood as the art of ordering and configuring a fragment of nature, had a major impulse since the Renaissance and the Baroque. However, from the moment of Pliny’s narrations, the relationship between the built environment and nature accentuated the location of a villa as an invitation to the transition between interior and exterior with the objective enjoyment of the built enclosure. [1] Leon Battista Alberti established that the unity of the house and the unity of the garden were the same and were developed from a geometric tuning. In the Flor de Mayo Hotel, the idea of unity is kept, however, it challenges the belief of the rational reign of man over nature, and in this way it allows for a more liberal growth of the vegetation. If there is a preconceived design, where different combinations and chromatic games (that extend and diversify throughout the seasons) are taken into consideration, the main objective is that nature invades and transforms into the main element of the place..

It becomes evident that one of the main dialogues that exists for the resolution of the project is its relationship with the Borda Gardens (“Jardín Borda”). Designed by the miner José de la Borda, it is one of the historical symbols of the city, mainly remembered for being used in the Second Mexican Empire as the summer residence of Maximiliano and Carlota. The taste reflected in the plant diversity, horticulture and the presence of water in fountains and reflecting pools that were in Borda’s original project for these gardens, has a direct relationship with what was designed for this hotel. It is possible to find a variety of flowers and fruit trees, which exhibits a certain exotic taste, that can be developed onto the site with the climatic characteristics of Cuernavaca. Besides the flower that gives its name to the Hotel, we can find such plants as the Floripondio, Duranta, Pascualina, Lantana, Mandevilla, Cola de Gato, Toronjil, Hoja Santa, among many others, that in combination, offer a multisensory experience, attracting aromatic and visual stimulations.

It should also be noticed that the landscaping environment of the Hotel not only has a strong presence from the moment of the blossoming of these plants, but that Elías has designed from different baroque organic reliefs and designs that expand the limits of architecture into an artifice capable of reaffirming an analogy at all times and with different methods from an internal contemplation through the Sun, shadows, strokes, stripes, painted colors and their effects. In the words of Francisco Elías, “everything has been thought to be designed by the Sun, similar to how a sundial works, and where the hours are indicated as projected shadows on a marked surface. In the end, it is about recognizing the relationship between sunlight and the place, the game that will create a space designed by man.”

Therefore, coming back to Pliny’s Villa, we can conclude that this hotel is conformed as a “solar quadrant”, a signal during the day that is in charge of accentuating, not only the Sun’s path through the place, but also, the gnomon capable of pointing out the movement, the transformation and the constant adaptation of nature.

Text written by Natalia De La Rosa, Masters Degree in Art History, UNAM, Art Critic and Mexican Architect.

[1] Wilfried Hansmann, Jardines del Renacimiento y el Barroco, Madrid, Nerea, 1993, p. 14.