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Mexican chair with Brazilian designer collaboration in wood

Artisans and designers collaborate for Vision and Tradition exhibition in Mexico City

Craftspeople from rural communities were paired up with designers to create a selection of collectible design pieces for Design Week Mexico 2022.

Showcased on a pedestal at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, the exhibition features work that was produced under Design Week Mexico's Vision and Tradition residency program for artists and designers.

Design Week Mexico Chair
Top: a bench created by Brazilian designer Rodrigo Ambrosio and Mexican artist Victor López. Above: design studio Ad Hoc worked with Marcio García Torres to design a chair for gallerists Ammann Gallery and Ángulo Cero

Designers were tasked with formulating an object that would then be created through the techniques of the craftspeople, many of whom work with traditional methods and materials.

"Vision and Tradition, throughout its eight initial editions, has developed and adapted to new forms of work and creative production," said Design Week Mexico co-founder Andrea Cesarman.

Design Week Mexico Textile
Mexican designer José María Balmaceda worked with artisan group La Rebocería on a line of textiles

Each year a guest country is invited to submit designs alongside the designers from Mexico. For 2022, Brazil was selected as the guest country.

A town or region of Mexico is also specially selected each year to bring its artisanal tradition into the spotlight.

Metepec, in the State of Mexico – the region adjacent to the federal district of Mexico City – was chosen for 2022, with all the craftspeople hailing from the town or from those nearby.

Lighting fixture mexican craft showcase
Brazilian designer María Fernanda Paes de Barros worked with Sergio Hernández to develop a lighting fixture

The aim was for the artists and artisans to create "a piece that generates a dialogue and shows the importance of the residence as a platform for intercultural development", according to Cesarman.

The residency used various collaborative arrangements to create the works, based on proximity and restrictions introduced during the pandemic.

Ceramics mexico design week
Brazilian designer Nina Coimbra and Metepec's Cecilio Sánchez Fierro combined cultural motifs for a set of ceramics

One arrangement was a face-to-face collaboration, where the designers visited the artisans' workshops.

Among the pieces that were created by designers who met the craftspeople in person were woven products developed by Mexican designer José María Balmaceda with artisans from Calimaya, State of Mexico.

Together, they created mohair textile works by combining traditional techniques and modern technology.

Ad Hoc at Mexico Design Week leather-faced side tables
Ad Hoc's catalogue is part of a long-term collaboration

The exhibition also showcased existing programs that aim to "strengthen crafts" and their relationship to the design market.

Longer-term collaborations that show how the process can turn into durable design brands were also on display, including the work of Mexico City studio Ad Hoc, which also helped curate the whole exhibition.

The studio works with papel picado – a papercutting technique – to create modern leather home goods that draw on traditional designs, including wooden side tables with leather faces featuring the decorative designs.

Finally, the showcase also explored the potential of digital communication. The curators wanted to see "how virtual processes can be linked" to the same design processes, according to Cesarman.

This led to some challenges, such as gaps in communication between the designers speaking different languages from the craftspeople they were assigned to work with.

Mexico Design Week Crafts
Mexican studio Leca worked with woodworker Antelmo González Garduño

Among these collaborations was a project by Mexican artisan Francisco Huazo Cedillo and Mexican designer Naso Vargas, who created a series of ceramics together.

Other exhibitors included Mexican design studios AcoocooroLili Cortina, Rodrigo Noriega, Sergio Matos, and other artisans from Metepec included Rodolfo Sánchez, Juan Hernández, María Molina, and Daniela Soteno

The photography is by Achach Fotografïa

Vision and Tradition is part of Design Week Mexico and runs from 12 October to 5 November 2022. Design Week Mexico will run various programming until 5 January 2023. For more architecture and design events, fairs and talks, visit Dezeen's Events Guide

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Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition
Vision and Tradition