It is during the interim years when the building was infested with rats and inhabited by the squatters that our clever publisher Francisco Javier Sánchez Campuzano grabbed the opportunity to headquarter Playboy Mexico’s parent company Grupo Siete in the building so desolate and bare boned Meccano like structure.
Javier had an uncanny knack for setting up his offices whatever space he could lay his hands upon. Originally situated in a family home in the residential Colonia del Valle, it was then moved to Calle Maricopa, practically around the corner from the World Trade Center, into the corner of an art gallery, still known as Hotel de Mexico. Now that I think of it, could well have been an extension of the Polyforum Siqueiros.
Like another sub bunder ka vepari – the trader of every port, Javier dabbled seriously into the art business as well. It seemed quite natural to him to fill the nooks and corners of the large space with setting up desks and phone lines for his editorial staff. Which reminds me of the weekend retrieve Christie Hefner had us Playboy executives to convene and bond. It was at the Kohler show room in Kohler, Wisconsin. Yes, we mingled and toasted and were treated to a sumptuous buffet set up along with the high café tables in the midst of shiny toilet bowls, a huge variety of bidets, bath tubs and shower stalls. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing venues for us to synergize in.
And so were Playboy offices dotting the art gallery. It obviously couldn’t well be the permanent habitat. Whatever other businesses Grupo Siete had drummed up under its umbrella, Javier owned several radio stations of which he had come up with a brilliant idea of setting some of them up to focus mainly on the listeners of north of the borders – that is, of the United States of America. The Hispanic population of the border states such as California, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, ate up the programing and the advertisers couldn’t be happier, while the listeners got the taste of home.
What’s more – while most of the building remained in unfinished tatters, what was already finished was the antenna tower, reached by the take your lives into your hands high speed elevators. Voila. Javier knew how to make use of the antenna and he promptly set up his radio stations on the very top of the Mexican skyline.
The saving grace were those awesome King Kong size murals already dominating the entrance to the Polyforum, created by no other than the illustrious muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, in front of which stood statues of the artist and his legendary patron, Don Manuel Suarez y Suarez. Approaching Calle Montecito from Avenida Insurgentes Sur, you can’t help but be in awe of those imposingly beautiful murals, lighting up the otherwise drab and deserted fog and dust filled city scape. It had a feeling of a lush green patch of lawn in the middle of the dry desert. It was a pleasure to stroll by them during our long lunch breaks.