OMBRÉ

THIS MEX­I­CAN HOUSE HAS THE COLOUR BLEND­ING TREND BUI LT INTO I TS WAL LS

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Content - Words CHAR­LOTTE BROOK Pho­tog­ra­phy RORY GAR­DINER

THE TREND

Ombré, which lit­er­ally trans­lates as ‘shaded’ in French, is one of those su­per-trends that we’ve seen spread through­out fash­ion, beauty, in­te­ri­ors and, some­what alarm­ingly, bev­er­ages (Star­bucks launched an Ombré Pink Drink in May, blend­ing white co­conut milk into pink pas­sion fruit juice). But trust ge­nius ar­chi­tect Ta­tiana Bil­bao to take the look back to na­ture in this in­spired Mex­ico City stu­dio. In­stead of us­ing it as a dec­o­ra­tive ac­ces­sory, the ar­chi­tect has clev­erly made blended colour part of the build­ing’s bones.

THE IN­SPI­RA­TION

On the edge of Lake Cha­pala near Guadala­jara perches Casa Aji­jic, the re­sult of a fam­ily’s brief to ar­chi­tect Ta­tiana Bil­bao to de­sign a coun­try house for their sum­mer hol­i­days on a very mod­est bud­get. It’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary ed­i­fice, made us­ing an evolved ver­sion of ru­ral Mex­ico’s an­cient, ver­nac­u­lar build­ing ma­te­rial: rammed earth. Sim­i­lar to adobe (earth, wa­ter, straw or dung), it is pop­u­lar for be­ing cheap and plen­ti­ful. The con­trac­tors com­pressed soil and con­crete gath­ered from around the site into 30-cen­ti­men­tre-deep, 50-cen­time­tre-thick cubes. These be­came breath­able, sound-ab­sorbent bricks that are nat­u­rally in­su­la­tive and keep the house cool dur­ing the ex­treme Mex­i­can sum­mers. Or­ganic pig­ments were added to the con­crete in or­der to exaggerate the nat­u­ral colour gra­di­ent of rammed earth, el­e­vat­ing this rudi­men­tary ma­te­rial into some­thing of great beauty. The house’s walls re­sem­ble the cross sec­tion of a stun­ning ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tion. ta­tian­abil­bao.com

OR­GANIC PIG­MENTS WERE USED TO EXAGGERATE THE COLOUR GRA­DI­ENT OF RAMMED EARTH, EL­E­VAT­ING THIS RUDI­MEN­TARY BUILD­ING MA­TE­RIAL

The par­quet floor­ing is made from end-grain tiles of Mex­i­can pine that com­ple­ment the tex­ture of the rammed earth walls. The con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing ‘DSR’ chairs by Charles and Ray Eames (avail­able at The Con­ran Shop), con­trasts with the nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als Stock­ist de­tails on p152

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