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What We Discovered in Mexico In October

Mexico City has always had a special place in our heart. We had a chance to discover the city for the first time back in 2013, when we were invited by Design Week Mexico’s founders to visit the festival. Since then, we developed a partnership to create connections between the Mexican and American design scenes, but also precious friendships and a passion for Mexican design and rich creativity.

With the support of our friends at Design Week Mexico, we organized a guided tour to provide a “behind the scenes” experience and discovery of Mexico city’s design landscape to our US guests. We all attended Design Week Mexico’s “kick-off” events, including Inédito, Vision & Tradition, and Design House. 

Casa Barragan | Photo by Paul Clemence

The week exceeded all of our expectations. From studio visits to galleries, showrooms, or iconic architecture places and museums, not to mention the food experience, we were welcomed so warmly and generously and had hours of creative and insightful conversations.

We embarked on this “field trip” with 12 US-based designers, all part of the Look Book program at WantedDesign Manhattan, and three design editors who joined our tour. It was their first trip to Mexico City for all of them. 

“It was enriching to get an in-depth look inside the Mexico City design scene but also the larger Latin American community it sometimes englobes. There’s a true sense of collaboration that some of us, operating in places where the industry is saturated, jaded, and siloed can learn a lot from. As a journalist that doesn’t, ironically, always get to see the behind-the-scenes  of design business, it was inspiring to witness how talents from different parts of the world could establish tangible partnerships and commiserate on issues that transcend geography.” Adrian Madlener, design editor.

Design Week Mexico

The format of the event, founded in 2009 by Andrea Cesarman, Emilio Cabrero, and Marco Coello has evolved and now lasts more than a week. The three main programs: Inédito, Vision & Tradition, and Design House, all opened during the week of our visit, October 13-15, but will stay on view for a little bit longer. This year’s guest country is Brazil, an opportunity to create bridges and to learn more about the diversity of their creative industries. 

Inédito

Similar to our Launch Pad program at WantedDesign Manhattan, Inédito is a platform to present functional prototypes exploring techniques and materials. The exhibit, on view until January 8 2023,  takes place at Espacio, Bosque de Chapultepec, a beautiful venue which was renovated in 2018 when Mexico was World Design Capital and since then the headquarters of Design Week Mexico/Mexico Territorio Creativo. 

We were invited by Andrea Cesarman to join the Jury for Inédito. We had a chance to be part of it for a few years now and it’s extraordinary to observe not only the growing number of design studios and the diversity of the design proposals but also the evolution of many of them. We’ve met designers who were part of Design Week Mexico and started their practice 5 or 6 years ago. They have now successfully built studios, brands and or factories. The winners of Inédito will be announced on November 17, 2022, at Espacio, but featured below are some of our favorites.

“I was blown away by not just the local design community!  Not just for their talent, but how united they are, collaborating and supporting each other!”, commented Paul Clemence, design editor and photographer.

Vision & Tradition

Visión & Tradición | Photo by Design Week Mexico

Vision and Tradition is a residency program that promotes collaborative work between artisans and designers in a spirit of learning and mutual exchange. Few Brazilian designers join Mexican designers to work in collaboration with artisans from Metepec, a city located just a few hours from Mexico City, and the 2022 Vision & Tradition guest city.

Showcased at the National Museum of Anthropology until November 6, those collaborations, curated in partnership with the excellent AD HOC Studio, combined traditional ornamental references and artisanal techniques with a contemporary design vision.

Design House

Still on view until November 13, 18 designers and architects with their local and international partners took over this year a beautiful house from the 70’s to transform each of the rooms and the garden into an extraordinary showcase of Mexican contemporary living.

Odile with Andrea Cesarman and Raoul de la Cerda

If you are interested in sourcing those products, click HERE to discover the detailed catalog room by room. Coup de coeur for C Cúbica Arquitectos, De la Cerda & Difane, Comité de Proyectos, Studioroca, Clásicos Mexicanos, Goldberg Interiores for the peaceful bedroom, among others.

Architecture and Visits Highlights

We explored the different areas of the city with guided tours of iconic and amazing places like the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo and Casa Barragán, as much interesting for their contribution to architecture history than for the life and work of their occupants.

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

The old Coyoacán area is one of our favorites: home of many intellectuals, writers and artists. It’s a very nice area to explore and we enjoyed a lunch at the historical San Angel Inn after a visit to the recently opened Mexican contemporary showroom Nuush.

La Otra Isla exhibit at AGO Projects | Photo by Paul Clemence

Part of our visits included high end Hector Esrawe and Pirwi / Clasicos Mexicanos showrooms in Polanco, as well as the AGO Projects Gallery. We had a chance to discover the soon to be inaugurated new creative space GL56 at San Miguel Chapultepec and its Art Gallery Le Laboratoire.

Déjate Querer

We went to the Laguna space; An old lace factory, now renovated and transformed since 2018 as a home of multiple design studios including Déjate Querer and La Metropolitana. This new creative hub reminded us of Industry City, in a smaller scale and, and a really nice creative community.

Short walk from Laguna, we visited Emma Boomkamp‘s new space in this old Mexican house, and Emma showed us her recent work.

We concluded the week with a “table ronde” at Espacio:  a great conversation sharing mutual challenges between US, Mexico and other Latin America-based designers, exploring ways of collaborating and supporting each other.

The trip to Mexico City was filled with amazing experiences, meeting inspiring designers and artisans, and having great food. The whole trip was very well-organized and productive and the hotel we were staying in was perfect.

Getting to know the design community in Mexico became a great opportunity for me and I got to jumpstart a couple of my projects I wanted to begin for a long time.

I left CDMX very inspired and looking forward to the WantedDesign’s next trip, either to Mexico City or any other city on this planet!“, Mana Sazegara, NY based designer.

Visit designweekmexico.com to learn more about the different programs, and plan your trip to Mexico City. A few of these studios will be part of WantedDesign Manhattan in May 2023.

Looking forward to our next trip!