Bay view dining, Photo by Marc Pouliot

Bay view dining, Photo by Marc Pouliot

Architectural & Interior Design: Luis Alberto Treviño Perez Gil, Photos: Marc Pouliot

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo based Architect Luis Treviño Perez Gil gained international visibility when he recently designed and built a Zihuatanejo apartment for Robert Marshall, an Urban Planner with one of the largest international architectural, urban design and interior design firms in the world, and his partner, Producer Marc Pouliot. They decided to buy in Zihuatanejo after 12 years of renting in Troncones.

“Although we love the laid-back character of Tronconces and the beauty of staying on the beach, the travel distance and inconvenience of maintaining an open, beachfront property made us consider the advantages of purchasing in Zihuatanejo,” said Marshall, “We were also blessed with the opportunity to stay often at a friend’s house in Zihuatanejo beside the mirador on Avenida Escenica La Ropa, and we eventually realized that we preferred being in town.”

“It was obvious that given our very busy lives and extensive international travel schedule,” he added, “being in town was a simpler solution as absentee owners. Plus we really grew to love being in Zihuatanejo. It’s a great town with great services and an authentic Mexican character, unlike many resort communities.”

Trevino mentioned that Pouliot is an extraordinary cuisinier and being close to the mercado was also an important part of the decision to purchase in Zihuatanejo. “When you entertain a lot,” said Pouliot, “the many long trips between Troncones and Zihuatanejo required for food shopping, becomes a chore and a burden.”

After buying an unfinished condo in Casa Que Ve Al Mar, Marshall and Pouliot decided against the typical “funky Mexican” style most common with foreign owners and created a very modern, contemporary pied-à-terre for themselves.

“As designers, our tastes tend towards a modern aesthetic. The building exterior itself fits with the local architectural vernacular, but we wanted to create a modern “white box” within the arches and natural stucco finishes of the exterior,” said Pouliot, “Luis understood our objectives for the home and helped develop and define the modern aesthetic.”

At the outset of the project, Marshall and Pouliot invited Trevino to come to their home-base in Canada to see first-hand the architectural detailing in their recently renovated principal residence and other architectural references in the city. “The opportunity to visit the client in Toronto was a great help in understanding their expectations in terms of architectural details, character and quality,” said Trevino, “It also helped me understand how they lived and their priorities for the home.”

One of the things the clients have learned from the experience of staying in many different beachfront properties and in traveling to the area at all times of the year is that Zihuatanejo is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to live virtually out-of-doors. “All you really need is some shade and a breeze to be perfectly comfortable – the last thing we wanted was to travel from Toronto to sit in an air conditioned box,” said Marshall, “We set it as a basic design objective to allow the apartment to open up completely to the outside allowing for complete cross-ventilation and unobstructed views.”

All doors and windows are designed to slide out of sight when the apartment is occupied. The main living areas extend to a covered terrace and are protected by a system of weather blinds, that roll up into the ceiling when the apartment is occupied. The apartment is simple, elegant and very comfortable. Treviño developed a palette of shades with white walls, dark millwork and off-white marble floors. The apartment is meant to be a neutral backdrop to a display of vibrant modern artwork, Mexican crafts, and brightly colored fabrics.

Assembling the many fixtures and finishes to complete the apartment was a research task assumed by both Trevino and his clients. “Luis located many of the finishes, fixtures and furnishings in Mexico including the custom-built kitchen cabinetry, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures and Mexican marble flooring and tiles,” said Marshall, “We were able to work with my company’s Mexico City office to locate a Brazilian granite to finish the built-in cabinetry and furnishings.” Loose furnishings were acquired or custom-made by local shops Ixtapa Décore and Cali. Italian hardware, special fixtures, small appliances and other furnishings and household items were purchased in Toronto, Mexico City, Morelia and Acapulco.

“Working with Luis was a pleasure,” said Marshall and Pouliot, “He is very talented and definitely has a promising career ahead of him. We are very proud to have been a part of his early years.” Treviño also enjoyed working with these clients as their international connections gave him access to, and information about, resources, materials and fixtures not available locally.

-Originally published in May/June 2007