Mexico City’s design heritage may have its roots in handicrafts and folk art, but it's a preconception that it is confidently transcending as the city moves full steam ahead to its status as the 2018 World Design Capital.
To honour the occasion, curator Mario Ballesteros is exploring Mexico City's past, present and future in a trio of exhibitions to be hosted over the next two years at gallery Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura. Kicking off with the present, the first installation embraces three themes that make up the city’s design identity: Informal Inventors, New Craftsmanship and Beyond Function.
A delightful retro aesthetic emerges in Informal Inventors, including recycled cameras and jackets that create sound through body movements. These designers are described as ‘techno-pirates and aesthetic shakers’ – creating works pulled together with a 'street design' approach to resources. The eclectic array has been laid out on a theatrical bed of shredded plastic by designers PALMA, scattered across the light-filled space.
Pop-hued blown glass vessels by Diego Vides Borrell in the Beyond Function section
The next section celebrates dynamic artisans and native techniques by way of Juan José Nemer and Mauricio Álvarez's organic lamps – made from wooden chocolate blending mills – and Ricardo Casas’ chair and ottoman for Notwaste, crafted from recycled OSB panelling and rubber weaving.
Of the plethora of abstract forms, the most contemporary designs are found in the final offering. Shapes are experimental and materials futuristic, with a mix of marble, pine and brass seen in studio Mob’s ‘Porin’ table and a coat hanger that nods to Japanese ideas of harmony and grace, and pop-hued blown glass vessels by Diego Vides Borrell.
Set out as a ‘landscape of both familiar and strange objects’, the exhibition is a true re-discovery of the city's tantalising creative talents.