Hector Esrawe is a Mexican designer with an international reputation who looks to his own backyard for inspiration. ‘A constant reference is the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City,’ he says. ‘I’m seduced by the stone carvings that appear on everything from ceremonial utensils to monumental sculptures.’ This pre-Columbian treasure trove, filled with Aztec goddesses and Mayan murals, is one of the capital’s unmissable sights and has informed all the limited-edition, handmade pieces Esrawe has made under his Ewe label.

Magma floor lamp, $14,800; Humo table, $27,000; Ceniza chair, $2,400, all by Ewe. Photography: Pia Riverola

Ewe was founded last year by Spaniard Manuel Bañó, Estonian-born Age Salajõe and Esrawe (pictured above, left to right), and draws on the skills and techniques of Mexican craftsmen. ‘We travel all over the country researching everything from clay and wood carving to copper,’ says Esrawe. ‘We then collaborate with artisans, translating their skills into new languages.’ Ewe’s new Alquimia collection, which launched at this year’s Zona Maco art fair, includes the Magma lamp, hand-blown in volcanic stone moulds by Mexico’s Nouvel Studio; the burnt steel and oak Humo table featuring black marble from Orizaba; and the three-legged Ceniza chair, assembled using an ancient technique called espiga vista.

A few years ago, launching limited-edition Mexican objects with price tags in the thousands, in Mexico, would have been unthinkable. But the country is becoming a major player on the world design stage. ‘We still can’t talk about a consolidated design scene in Mexico,’ says Esrawe. ‘But we do have a rich tradition of craft, more consumers wanting Mexican design, and a young generation of designers looking back to their heritage with pride.’

As originally featured in the April 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*229)