At Zona Maco Diseño, Mexico’s art of collaboration gets experimental

At Zona Maco Diseño, Mexico’s art of collaboration gets experimental

Anyone thinking that the recent collaborative energy buzzing through Mexico City was simply window dressing for its designation as World Design Capital 2018 was proven wrong at Zona Maco (6-10 February). The ninth edition of Zona Maco Diseño (the 16-year-old art fair’s design chapter) was packed with collaborative projects on high voltage, cementing the value of skill and idea exchange that has been unifying the country’s artisan and design community.

‘A collaborative effort allows for interesting showcasing and more ambitious projects,’ comments Cecilia León de la Barra, director of Zona Maco Diseño. ‘We’ve worked hard to nurture these partnerships to become a platform where they are made visible.’

Dinner plates by local fashion and product designers, illustrators and muralists for tableware brand Anfora

Designer Luisa Restrepo, known mainly for producing glass jewellery, demonstrated this approach with pieces on display in two booths. She collaborated with mathematically-minded designer Pedro Cerisola, using his precise, symmetrical forms as inspiration for a glass wall sculpture. While, at Ángulo Cero, she designed two lamps with industrial designer Aitor Garrido, combining glass with brass to represent the sun in various states between rising and setting.

Guadalajara-based brand Merkki, which has brought artists together with ceramic studio Cerámica Suro for the past two years, premiered new collaborations, including Mauricio Lara’s ‘999’ collection of 999 one-off hand-painted monochrome crockery pieces. Elsewhere, tableware brand Anfora debuted a range of dinner plates with fresh designs and glazes by local fashion and product designers, illustrators and muralists.

Ángulo Cero

Ángulo Cero’s stand that includes lamp designs by Luisa Restrepo and Aitor Garrido. Photography: José Margaleff

Joel Escalona’s interior collection for furniture company Breuer offered a contemporary yet moody display. His black mirrors and linear metal tables complemented Breuer’s carpentry craftsmanship also on view.

Glass studio Nouvel, one of the country’s most forward-thinking collaborators, presented multicoloured vases by Swiss-French designer Julie Richoz and smokey-hued candle lamps by T+H, a studio based between Mexico and Switzerland.

Under limited edition brand Vissio, Nouvel also teamed up with Héctor Esrawe, Emiliano Godoy and Brian Thoreen, and the result was probably the most innovative element of the show. By casting glass vessels in layered plywood moulds that burn into new forms with each molten action, the collection is an evolution of the same shape changed by the entropy of every blow. Clear evidence that experimental minds coming together make for the most radical results. §

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