Hosted by LAGO in an old tram terminal that was in working condition until the 1950s, the event was designed to connect Latin America's creative industry with international buyers and possible opportunities for growth. As we explored the show floor—which hosted two massive turbines that used to power the trams—it became clear that Caravana Americana has become a destination where emerging designers can proudly share their work with an audience that’s passionate about empowering the industry. Even though this event was just the third edition of its first year, it was clear that the curated event has already caught the attention of design lovers throughout Mexico—and will continue to do so as they host more editions. What was even clearer, was the passion that the designers hold for their crafts—as well as a serious respect they have for their culture’s history, traditions, and ideals.
Specifically, a surprising number of designers are basing their business around the task of preserving traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations—some of which hail from their ancient relatives. They’re working with local craftspeople and cherishing their skills, while also introducing a modern design perspective.
Follow us as we introduce you to some of our favorite brands we discovered—all of whom are making sure these traditional techniques are preserved and reinterpreted for the modern consumer. And stay tuned for Part II, where we’ll share the rest of our top discoveries that celebrate local materials, cultural symbols, sustainability, and functionality.
txt.ure: Aztec-Inspired Seating Made With Tyle
One of the companies that truly embodied this task of celebrating forgotten skills was txt.ure, a collaborative design project that’s based in Mexico City and is working closely with New York-based furniture company, Luteca. With a goal of bringing back crafts that were popular in ancient Mexican culture, they’re identifying lost fragments of their design history, and reintroducing endangered manufacturing techniques—while updating them for the modern consumer.
Colorindio: Textiles Made With the Backstrap Loom
Colorindio began in 2009 when two women, Libia Moreno and Paulina Parlange, took a trip through Mexico to bring together women weavers from multiple communities who create beautiful textiles with techniques that have been passed down for generations. Today, they work with 22 women cooperatives to help them sell their work and connect them with consumers. When we stopped by their booth, Paulina explained how they’re working to acknowledge and encourage women weavers who create cotton textiles with the backstrap loom, a Mayan technique that's considered one of the most ancient types of looms—according to Paulina.
Peca: A Modern Take on Piteado
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Peca is an independent design studio that collaborates with local artisans while exploring natural materials, textures, and forms. Their newest introduction they shared with us was their line of Pita Cushions, which look like clean, modern leather pillows—but are actually so much more. Each cushion includes a section of embroidered details that are created with piteado, a leather embroidery technique that’s traditionally been used to create ornate belts, saddles, and accessories, and embodies the craftsmanship of Jalisco, Mexico. Though this technique has usually been used to create baroque-style creations in Mexican culture, they decided to reinterpret it for the modern home.
Colectivo 1050°: Pottery From Oaxaca
As a non-profit organization that’s funded by donors, volunteers, and the sales of their pottery, Colectivo 1050° is a project by Innovando la Tradición and is based out of Oaxaca, Mexico. This group of artisans creates handmade clay products that are inspired by Oaxacan traditions, but adapted for everyday modern living. Along with striving to produce products with a fair trade mentality and ecologically-sustainable practices, the artisans work together collaboratively to create simple and functional pieces that can be used in an urban lifestyle.
Filamento: Lighting With Pounded Copper and Bruñido
Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, Filamento is an independent design studio that crafts lighting fixtures by hand with local materials—and also aims to provide fair trade opportunities for craftspeople. While searching for local materials and artisans, they ended up diving into an exploration of different techniques and processes that celebrate Mexican history. As a result, they currently work with pounded copper and bruñido to create simple, modern light fixtures.
Make sure to stay tuned for Part II of our experience at Caravana American.
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