MXCD01 PRESENT is the first exhibition in the Mexico Design City series, presented by ARCHIVO diseño y arquitectura –the premier design gallery in Mexico City– which explores the past, present and future of design in the Mexican capital. The speculative nature of the exhibition, along with the unique aesthetic inclinations of the showcased objects and projects, where the basic stimuli of the brief for a visual communication proposal that takes a critical stance on the current graphic identity of Mexico City.

photo: Melba Arellano

When the 'Distrito Federal' became the 32nd state of the federation, and changed its official name to 'Ciudad de México' (CDMX for short), it was with the purpose of increasing its autonomy and enable greater citizen participation. Along with these legal and political transformations, the new CDMX has also fueled a major branding and identity makeover, complete with “farewell DF” billboards, stencils celebrating fixed potholes, oversized 3D logos in public spaces, and the freshly painted pink taxis have been some of the vehicles through which the 'Social Capital' convinces us of the city’s improvement through our participation. But are we really sure of our involvement?

The CDMX acronym has been trademarked by the city government, so its use is limited, and it has become a lucrative brand more than a symbol of social inclusion and a democratic future. Manipulating design tools, the CDMX has managed to pretend what it is, instead of genuinely collaborating and creating opportunities for its inhabitants. The graphic production for the exhibition MXCD01 explores inaccuracies in the color palette, plays with materials and proportions, and restless variations in its formats, creating a sort of 'non-logo', as a response to the city’s distorted representation of itself.

In dialogue with the graphics, the exhibition design implemented by PALMA denounces another one of the city’s problematics: the linear model of production and a frantic consumerism. Through a sea of ​​shredded plastic spread on the gallery floor, the architects transformed the space of the exhibition into a debate about the ecological successes and failures of the design community in CDMX. MXCD01’s visual communication highlights the importance of this question employing arbitrary patterns and printing with analogue techniques on recycled paper.