Of all the cultural exports for which Mexico is famous, design ranks far lower than it ought to. While it’s hard to compete with carnitas tacos, mezcal distilleries, and the paintings of Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s tradition of spectacular architecture spans centuries — from the Mayan pyramids to the mid-century sports venues of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Now, with Mexico City anointed this year’s World Design Capital, the country is stepping into the global spotlight. Here’s a primer on some of the best designs it’s produced as of late.
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest city and, as a result, is frequently overshadowed by the country’s bustling capital. This restaurant, decorated by designer Ignacio Cadena in thousands of carefully arranged animal bones, proves that Guadalajara can more than hold its own in the realms of both design and food.
For this concert hall in Boca del Rio, architecture firm Rojkind took inspiration from the coastal town’s rocky breakwater to conceive of a jagged composition of sculptural concrete volumes. During orchestra performances, live video is projected onto the building’s exterior for the entire community to enjoy.
Founded by artist Diana Quintero Vallejo and architect Ismael Bachri, this studio specializes in furniture and lighting that fuse graphic flair with expert craftsmanship. Geometric tables and chairs with frames made of tubular brass and blackened iron have an airy-but-substantial feel that’s appropriate in a humid climate.
Where to Stay:
This boutique hotel by JSa Arquitectura is an oasis of contemporary design in the heart of Mexico City. With private rooftop terraces, a central courtyard with a swimming pool, and furniture made locally by the design studio La Metropolitana, it’s a gift to both stylish travellers and their Instagram followers.