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Exploring Mexico City: Our Trip to the 2018 World Design Capital

Posted by Michele Cernosia on

Opportunities to travel have been generous as of late and we’re not complaining. Indulging in the occasional getaway has been manageable and gratifying. A three day design excursion is just enough time to sufficiently explore a nearby destination and to connect with the art and culture. Plus we've long been inspired by Mexican art and design, as is evident in our collection of modern southwestern design furniture, so when we learned that Mexico City had been named the 2018 World Design Capital, we decided it was time to head south to find out what the buzz was all about. From the Parisian-inspired grande boulevards to the indigenously influenced art and cuisine, this bustling metropolis, full of energy and inspiration did not disappoint.

A contrasting curved stairway and cacti standing sentinel at Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo 

ARCHITECTURE

The first destination on any creative trip to Mexico City has to begin at the studio of famed 20th century artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Two functionalist buildings created for these two giants of the art world, who lived and worked there, are separated by a foot bridge.

Designed by the famed painter and architect Juan O’Gorman, a friend of Rivera, and built in the 1930s, they combine a bold functionalist style with more traditional Mexican forms and touches, including murals and rows of cacti. The structural color blocking and graphic geometry at the museum house and studio reminded us of the classic modernist architecture that has influenced our designs, including our popular wood cube side table

Graphic architectural geometry at the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in San Ángel, Mexico City

ESCAPE

Xochimilco, another iconic design destination, south of the historic city center, is an adventure full of color and movement. An extensive lake and canal system that dates to pre-Columbian times is today home to a vast fleet of colorful painted gondolas. Our visit there gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the artistry all around us as we glided along tree-lined waterways passing man-made islands called chinampas.

Museo Rufino Tamayo in Chapultepec Park

Modernist sculptures by Sergio De Camargo and Kiyoshi Takahashi

ART

A walk through lovely Chapultepec Park led us to Museo Rufino Tamayo which rises up from its surroundings in striking bold levels. Inside we were drawn to sculptures by Sergio De Camargo and Kiyoshi Takahashi. The influence of bold forms, visual balance, and use of positive and negative spaces reminded us of designs from our collection, which includes sculptural benches and modern wood end tables.

EAT

And no trip to Mexico City would be complete without a tasty repast, so we headed to Meroma, the hot new restaurant in the Colonia Roma neighborhood, that has everyone talking. Known as the spot where the best techniques and locally-sourced ingredients Mexico has to offer are served in a relaxed atmosphere of muted tones and warm woods, it all happens beneath a glass atrium and outdoor terrace under the trees. We were, of course, as focused on the interiors as much as the food, and especially loved how the cut-out patterns played with light and scale, allowing nature to peek into the modern space. 

After three days, nine amazing meals, and more art and design than we could rightfully process, our advice from this creative trip to the 2018 World Design Capital is essentially: go and visit what we discovered is "the good side of the wall."

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