The design cognoscenti book months in advance for a timed peek at Casa Luis Barragán, the home and studio of the famed Mexican architect. But furniture designer Mark Grattan has only to roll out of bed to find himself immersed in the world of Barragán, having scored a coveted apartment in a rare building by the late icon.
Mark is the founder of red-hot furniture design studio VIDIVIXI, and a star on the rise. Solange Knowles recently nabbed him as a product development consultant for her design studio and creative agency, Saint Heron. And this spring, he became the winner of Ellen’s Next Great Designer, Ellen DeGeneres’s design competition which aired on HBO Max in the US.
How this native of Hudson, Ohio, ended up in Mexico City is a complicated tale. He founded VIDIVIXI – from Victor Hugo’s poem Veni, Vidi, Vixi – in 2014 in Brooklyn. Then in 2016, he followed his heart and moved to Mexico City for a relationship. The love affair ended, but Mark decided to stay and find a peaceful space that he could make entirely his own.
Mark and his Himalayan cat, Amiga, moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the Barragán building. It retained much of its mid-century detailing, from the original paned windows to the interior wooden doors with glazing that filter in light. There is also an iron balcony where Mark spends his mornings, a cigarette in one hand and a coffee in the other, peering through branches at the beautiful Jardín del Arte across the street.
It was the light that enchanted him most when he viewed the apartment for the first time. And it was the light’s progress that he tracked for over a year, as he lived in the virtually empty space, before he felt ready to begin decorating. ‘I get rainbows on the walls around 5.30pm and the sunsets are amazing,’ he says. To enhance the effect, Mark installed a wall of mirrors at the far end of the living room, and another one above the sofa, creating waves and sparks of unexpected luminescence.
Throughout his home, Mark’s perfectionism is on display. He designed most of the furniture, including the wall-mounted sideboard that extends across the entire back wall in the living room. If he has a runaway hit in his portfolio, however, it is his bestselling ‘Docked En Rio’ platform bed, which pulls from art deco and Japanese influences. He created a custom king-size version for his own bedroom.
‘I truly don’t need much more,’ he observes. Indeed, the minimal space is a testament to his restraint and aesthetic convictions. After all, only a perfectionist would sleep on the floor for more than a year rather than furnish his home with inferior pieces.
Now that the decor is done, Mark is elated at the results. And as for the personal journey that he took to get to this place, he observes with a wink: ‘Creating a beautiful space for yourself is the best revenge.’ @markgrattan; @vidivixistudio