No matter what level of success Mexico City'based MMX Studio may someday attain, its name will always serve to remind its four partners of their humble beginnings. The term in Roman numerals for 2010, MMX would mark the firm's first full year in practice''if we made it through the one-year test,' says principal Emmanuel Ramirez. The name also underscores where they come from, culturally speaking. 'It refers to Mexico,' adds Ramirez. While experiences abroad helped the partners expand their thinking about architecture, 'at the end of the day we are all Mexican.'
Ramirez met Ignacio Del Rio and Diego Ricalde at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Their paths crossed again when they worked at the office of Alberto Kalach, where they would meet their other partner, Jorge Arvizu. The four drifted apart, some pursuing graduate studies and jobs internationally. A competition to design the Mexican pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo brought together Ramirez and Ricalde (who were in London) with Arvizu (who was in Mexico). Their entry was a finalist. 'It was a trial for working together,' says Ramirez. The four men opened up shop'without a single commission'at the end of 2009 in a small room in the Colonia Condesa neighborhood.