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Mexico City: Day 1

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On Thursday I headed down to Mexico City for four days of sheer design tourism. Things got underway that night with a molecular gastronomy feast the Polanco restaurant Oca. Parsley foam, man. Parsley foam. After that our small group of journalists retired to the W Hotel (which had a hammock in the bathroom!) for a good night's sleep. Click through the slideshow to see what we got up to on our first day of Mexico City design.

  • 
  The single most annoying thing in the world is people who leave their phones out on the table when at a restaurant, as though nothing you say could be more important than a message from AT&T telling them their bill might be ready. Slightly less annoying is people who photograph all their food. These chilaquiles for breakfast at the W Hotel demanded it.
    The single most annoying thing in the world is people who leave their phones out on the table when at a restaurant, as though nothing you say could be more important than a message from AT&T telling them their bill might be ready. Slightly less annoying is people who photograph all their food. These chilaquiles for breakfast at the W Hotel demanded it.
  • 
  After our meal we piled into Umberto's van and off we sped through traffic-choked Mexico City to the Nouvel Studio glass factory. I did a slideshow of Nouvel Studio's work on Monday so have a look. Here's just a glimpse of what they can do with colored glass.
    After our meal we piled into Umberto's van and off we sped through traffic-choked Mexico City to the Nouvel Studio glass factory. I did a slideshow of Nouvel Studio's work on Monday so have a look. Here's just a glimpse of what they can do with colored glass.
  • 
  After our tour at the Nouvel Studio factory we headed over to furniture designer Hector Esrawe's showroom. Esrawe is one of Mexico City's leading young furniture designers, and along with others like Emiliano Godoy is leading the charge to incorporate artisanal manufacturing techniques (Mexico has loads of them) into his work.
    After our tour at the Nouvel Studio factory we headed over to furniture designer Hector Esrawe's showroom. Esrawe is one of Mexico City's leading young furniture designers, and along with others like Emiliano Godoy is leading the charge to incorporate artisanal manufacturing techniques (Mexico has loads of them) into his work.
  • 
  Like any good host, Hector got the tequila out right away. I'd had two by 12:45, which was still quite a while before lunch. I really dug this brand, Alacran.
    Like any good host, Hector got the tequila out right away. I'd had two by 12:45, which was still quite a while before lunch. I really dug this brand, Alacran.
  • 
  Hector had recently moved into this showroom. He designed the carafe on the low table for Nouvel Studio. It was one of my favorites of his designs.
    Hector had recently moved into this showroom. He designed the carafe on the low table for Nouvel Studio. It was one of my favorites of his designs.
  • 
  This chair was designed for a Japanese restaurant in Mexico City. It will be on the market at some point for residential use, but if you're slinging sushi your ship has sailed.
    This chair was designed for a Japanese restaurant in Mexico City. It will be on the market at some point for residential use, but if you're slinging sushi your ship has sailed.
  • 
  This dog designed by NEL Colectivo, a Mexican design collective to which Hector belongs, is made of FSC certified teak. I love how playful and small they are. In another part of the studio Hector had them stacked up into a waist-high tower.
    This dog designed by NEL Colectivo, a Mexican design collective to which Hector belongs, is made of FSC certified teak. I love how playful and small they are. In another part of the studio Hector had them stacked up into a waist-high tower.
  • 
  My tourmate and fellow writer Stefan Marolachakis poses pensively next to the dog.
    My tourmate and fellow writer Stefan Marolachakis poses pensively next to the dog.
  • 
  We drove everywhere in Mexico City led by our guide Ana Elena Mallet, a wonderful host and independent design curator. She pointed out this truck, which trades old furniture for plants, and said that it had been on that corner for ages. Seems like rather a good deal.
    We drove everywhere in Mexico City led by our guide Ana Elena Mallet, a wonderful host and independent design curator. She pointed out this truck, which trades old furniture for plants, and said that it had been on that corner for ages. Seems like rather a good deal.
  • 
  Before heading to lunch we stopped in to see the Condesa DF hotel in the Condesa neighborhood. It was really really lovely. I can't say enough about the subtle design and lovely tropical modernism inside.
    Before heading to lunch we stopped in to see the Condesa DF hotel in the Condesa neighborhood. It was really really lovely. I can't say enough about the subtle design and lovely tropical modernism inside.
  • 
  Here's a glimpse of the central courtyard. The building is triangular and open to the sky. I love how clean the space is. Hotels that seem to want to be nightclubs really bum me out. A friend, and bureau chief at the Associated Press' Mexico City bureau, told me that the hotel has earned the nickname "Fresa DF." Apparently fresa--which means strawberry--is also Mexico City parlance for yuppie.
    Here's a glimpse of the central courtyard. The building is triangular and open to the sky. I love how clean the space is. Hotels that seem to want to be nightclubs really bum me out. A friend, and bureau chief at the Associated Press' Mexico City bureau, told me that the hotel has earned the nickname "Fresa DF." Apparently fresa--which means strawberry--is also Mexico City parlance for yuppie.
  • 
  Guilty again. We went to Merotor for lunch and it was very, very good. I snapped a photo of a local beer called Poe that was wonderfully dark and chocolaty.
    Guilty again. We went to Merotor for lunch and it was very, very good. I snapped a photo of a local beer called Poe that was wonderfully dark and chocolaty.
  • 
  Utterly stuffed but soldiering on, we next visited industrial designer Ariel Rojo. He was really friendly and his studio was quite exciting. Quite cool to see so many products in development and to hear from him how he incorporates Mexican themes into his work.
    Utterly stuffed but soldiering on, we next visited industrial designer Ariel Rojo. He was really friendly and his studio was quite exciting. Quite cool to see so many products in development and to hear from him how he incorporates Mexican themes into his work.
  • 
  Here's a shelf in Ariel's studio filled with his products. Some are test cases, others finished and others still packaged up and ready to go.
    Here's a shelf in Ariel's studio filled with his products. Some are test cases, others finished and others still packaged up and ready to go.
  • 
  After seeing Ariel we went to see Suhab, a collective of young Mexican designers working with a very strong sustainable mandate. Not only do they try to employ local workers with a variety of handicraft skills, but every one of their products has a green element. Nice guys and with great values.
    After seeing Ariel we went to see Suhab, a collective of young Mexican designers working with a very strong sustainable mandate. Not only do they try to employ local workers with a variety of handicraft skills, but every one of their products has a green element. Nice guys and with great values.
  • 
  One of my favorite bits of their studio was this device that cuts the tops of bottles. We got a demonstration of a Corona bottle being cut into a small juice glass. You'd still have to sand the edge down to use it, but this brand of reuse is just up Suhab's alley.
    One of my favorite bits of their studio was this device that cuts the tops of bottles. We got a demonstration of a Corona bottle being cut into a small juice glass. You'd still have to sand the edge down to use it, but this brand of reuse is just up Suhab's alley.
  • 
  The final stop before dinner was at a new museum called MODO, the Museum of the Object of the Object. It's all part of collector Bruno Newman's massive cache of vintage objects. The idea behind the museum is to look critically at packaging design and the objects that make up our everyday lives. Newman has loads of boxes, tins, and wrappers from the 20th century and seeing them all at once is by turns utterly nostalgic and hilariously pedestrian.
    The final stop before dinner was at a new museum called MODO, the Museum of the Object of the Object. It's all part of collector Bruno Newman's massive cache of vintage objects. The idea behind the museum is to look critically at packaging design and the objects that make up our everyday lives. Newman has loads of boxes, tins, and wrappers from the 20th century and seeing them all at once is by turns utterly nostalgic and hilariously pedestrian.
  • 
  Before an amazing dinner at Rosetta in the La Roma neighborhood--the short rib with polenta was the best dish I had on the whole trip, which is saying quite a lot--we went for a nighttime walk. I happened across a streetwear shop and could not resist taking a shot of this Tecate-inspired Nike sneaker. Stay tuned for more of my Mexican design trip.
    Before an amazing dinner at Rosetta in the La Roma neighborhood--the short rib with polenta was the best dish I had on the whole trip, which is saying quite a lot--we went for a nighttime walk. I happened across a streetwear shop and could not resist taking a shot of this Tecate-inspired Nike sneaker. Stay tuned for more of my Mexican design trip.

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