Interview of the month: Fernando León

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO. KidZania Journal. August 22, 2012.  (English). -Architect Fernando José León y Escalante is the mastermind behind each and every KidZania city. We took a few minutes of his time for a short interview. 

It was almost fifteen years ago when he had his first contact with KidZania (La Ciudad de los Niños, back then). Two years later, he joined the company full-time. Married for 44 years to Cucú, Arch. León has 3 children and 2 beautiful granddaughters he’s crazy for.

Where do you find your inspiration when designing a KidZania city?

Each project is a new experience. Designing a KidZania city is far from being a routine. It is not like a dentist who always has to remove a tooth. It is a very complex endeavour that involves a vast series of factors. Before starting a new project, we need to analyze the premises, their location within the shopping center and the location of the shopping center within the city; socio-economic factors and local regulations are also taken into consideration. Once a potential location has all these conditions, then we can start with the preliminary design, always avoiding repeating previous designs and improving any prior flaws. It is always a thrill, because new activities or establishments are added to our catalog, so every new project has a larger list to choose from.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

All projects are different. All of them represent a new challenge. If I had to do the same thing everyday, I wouldn’t be here anymore.

You’ve designed a lot of KidZania cities. Which one is your favorite?

I like them all, because each of them allows me to tweak my previous ideas a bit, plan spaces and ways for visitors to discover amazing things from different perspectives. All of them are unique, and that is why I always find something I like in each city I plan.

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