A new Mexico City show explores design imitation as the sincerest form of legacy

‘Oscar Hagerman: Sillas de México’ on view at Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
‘Oscar Hagerman: Sillas de México’ on view at Kurimanzutto, Mexico City
(Image credit: TBC)

A survey of work by the designer and architect Oscar Hagerman opens at Kurimanzutto gallery in Mexico City exploring imitation as the sincerest form of legacy. ‘Oscar Hagerman: Sillas de México’ features both his Arrullo chair from 1969 — as well as its myriad knockoffs.

Available at freeway off-ramps and markets across Mexico, these slightly modified reproductions reflect Hagerman’s generous sense of ownership. In each iteration of his classic chair is a mark of ingenuity: a woven rush seat native to a region, or a joinery technique suitable for a different climate.

mexican woven chairs on a rug

(Image credit: TBC)

Born in Spain in 1936, Hagerman long collaborated with craftspeople in isolated regions of Mexico, and based the Arrullo chair on a traditional design. Its ubiquity now, nearly 50 years later, was always the intention, says the designer, who first presented a range of utilitarian furniture while at the Emiliano Zapata Collective for workers and peasants.

The exhibition highlights Hagerman’s social work within these rural communities, and its connection to the ergonomic chair designs. ‘Industrial design teaches us to look for original forms, but the greatest achievement is to create a universe that belongs to people and makes them feel like they own and create it,’ Hagerman says. ‘When I leave, they know how to do it, and they don’t need me anymore.’

Small scale models of Oscar Hagerman’s designs

(Image credit: TBC)

Installation view of ‘Oscar Hagerman’s chairs

(Image credit: TBC)

Variations of Oscar Hagerman-designed chairs

(Image credit: TBC)


‘Oscar Hagerman: Sillas de México’ is on view until 8 September at Kurimanzutto Mexico City. For more information, visit the website


Gobernador Rafael Rebollar 94
Mexico City


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.