Clásicos Mexicanos celebrates Mexican design’s golden age

Design Miami 2022: the Maestro Dobel Artpothecary in collaboration with Clásicos Mexicanos features works from Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta’s ‘Vallarta’ collection

Clásicos Mexicanos and Maestro Dobel Artpothecary
Ricardo Legorreta's ‘Vallarta’ Collection
(Image credit: Courtesy Clásicos Mexicanos)

‘Mexico was a cardinal point in the cultural routes of the 20th century,’ says Juan Gaitán from Clásicos Mexicanos. The design brand worked with Maestro Dobel Artpothecary at Design Miami 2022 to put a spotlight on this golden age of Mexican design, and recreate the allure that drew musicians, artists, writers and architects to the country back then. 

Clásicos Mexicanos presents architect Ricardo Legorreta and the ‘Vallarta’ collection

Maestro Dobel Artpothecary with Mexican furniture by Clasicos Mexicanos

Archive photography of the Legorreta studio reception

(Image credit: Courtesy Estudio Legorreta)

‘Everything was exciting,’ Gaitán says of the time. ‘There was a sort of sensuality to the Mexican landscapes that were extremely appealing, as well as the pre-Hispanic cities and structures which everyone came to see.’ This feeling was revived in the installation through the pioneering works of modern Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Classic pieces from the ‘Vallarta’ collection, seen in the interiors of Legorreta’s 1968 Hotel Camino Real in Puerto Vallarta, were featured across the space.

There’s a timelessness to the ‘Vallarta’ collection that attracted the creative team to highlight this furniture in the exhibition – the traditional woven seating and the chunky pine legs create modern silhouettes. What was Clásicos Mexicanos trying to channel with the environment? ‘Clubs and hotels in Mexico that were all the rage up until the 1980s. That’s where everyone gathered,’ Gaitan explains. ‘They were epicurean places and were reportedly famous for the energy they generated from crowds.’

Ricardo Legorreta's ‘Vallarta’ Collection at 1976 Casa Bosques in Mexico City

Ricardo Legorreta's ‘Vallarta’ Collection at 1976 Casa Bosques in Mexico City

(Image credit: Julius Shulman, Courtesy Estudio Legorreta)

At the Miami pavilion, this spirit was mastered through a mix of hospitality from the modern menu by chef Jorge Vallejo, a selection of Maestro Dobel tequila cocktails, and the warmth of primary colours thanks to the artworks by Mexican painter Mathias Goeritz, with whom Legorreta worked. 

Maestro Dobel Design Miami space

The Mexican Golden Age by Maestro Dobel featuring Ricardo Legorreta furniture

(Image credit: Courtesy Maestro Dobel)

Legorreta’s collaborative zeal and influence on other creative icons also fascinates Clásicos Mexicanos. Gaitán recalls, ‘He went to the Black Mountain School and sought Anni Albers out in order to commission a tapestry from her. ’These were recently found in the basement of Camino Real. Another anecdote he shares: Isamu Noguchi's Moerenuma Park in Sapporo was inspired by ‘the famous fountain at the Camino Real in Polanco, Mexico City’. 

For Gaitan, receiving the brief and theme of the Mexican Golden Age connected instantly to the legacy of Legorreta – ‘It’s like working with a mind that perceives everything from the point of view of aesthetics and art.’

Maestro Dobel Artpothecary with Mexican furniture by Clasicos Mexicanos

 Ricardo Legorreta's ‘Vallarta’ collection 

(Image credit: Courtesy Clásicos Mexicanos)

The experience in Miami was facilitated by Maestro Dobel’s ongoing creative platform, Artpothecary, which celebrates modern Mexico through art and hospitality. The commitment to championing Mexico’s contemporary craft and creativity on a global scale was also seen in the launch of the Maestro Dobel Latinx Art Prize in Miami, understanding the lack of representation in the art world for Latinx artists. The inaugural winner of the biennial award, announced in February 2023, will be supported with a $50,000 grant, and a show at El Museo del Barrio in New York.

Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.