Part II of Our Exploration of Mexico City’s Caravana Americana
We were truly inspired by the artisans, makers, and designers who are each doing their part in preserving their culture’s traditional techniques, while introducing a fresh perspective for the modern consumer.
As we explored the show floor, we also noticed a number of other themes taking place, including modern interpretations of traditional symbols—along with efforts to source local materials, follow sustainable practices, and create functional pieces for everyday life.
Follow us through the second half of our adventure and get to know these companies who are working to produce handmade goods that exude passion and pride.
Sourcing Local Materials
AYRES: Utilitarian Goods For the Kitchen
AYRES was created by Joana Valdez—an industrial designer from Mérida who began her career with jewelry design—and Karim Molina, a Venezuelan publicist who studied textile design in Buenos Aires. After meeting in Mérida, the two have come together to design simple, utilitarian goods that are handmade by artisans in Mexico out of locally-sourced, natural ingredients. They work primarily with lava stone, marble, and woods sourced from the Yucatán.
CU29: Lighting Made With Locally-Sourced Copper
According to CU29, "We are proud of tradition. We hold a true commitment to preserving artisans’ techniques through fair trade of unique materials and talents of regional craft secrets that have been passed down through generations." As they’re currently working mostly with copper, they source all their material from Michoacán, Mexico, which is known to be a town that’s worked with copper since pre-Hispanic times. Since the town’s copper mines are now closed, they use recycled copper that’s smelted into ingots—and then beaten, rolled, and cut into a precise gauge and diameter once it’s cooled. They then hand it over to a coppersmith who turns it into a lamp by weaving the copper or hand-pounding it from a flat sheet.
ISHI: Jewelry Made With Oaxacan Silk
One of the jewelry designers that caught our eye was ISHI, a line designed by Regina Barrios—who also owns LAGO with Alessandro Cerutti, a boutique shop in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood. Based in Mexico City, she collaborates with talented communities throughout the nation, including the Zapotec from Oaxaca and the Huichol in the northwest Sierras. She strives to introduce ancestral craftsmanship into our modern, globalized lifestyle, while expressing Mexico’s rich culture through jewelry design. A line of necklaces Barrios presented at the show was made with silk that she sources from two small villages in the northern Sierras in Oaxaca, where the Zapotec people create natural thread and dye it with cochineal that they grow (a small insect that produces the natural dye, carmine).
Reinventing a Traditional Shape
Los Patrones: A Fresh Take on the Rocking Chair
With a name that translates to "The Bosses," Los Patrones describes themselves as a "tribute to those who have paved the way for the path we walk today. Who taught us how to work—with responsibility and dedication—in the old way." Though they create mostly metal furnishings, they presented La Norestense at the show, a handwoven rocking chair designed by Christian Vivanco. Made with the Tule palm, it’s a reconfiguration of the traditional rocking chair from Monterrey, Mexico.
Celebrating Traditional Symbols
Korimi: Playful Kids' Products Inspired by Mexican Folk Stories
With a name that translates to "rainbow" in Tarahumara, Korimi creates handmade clothing and accessories for children that are inspired by Mexican stories and legends. The founders create playful, colorful illustrations that are then hand-embroidered onto muslin cotton by women in Chiapas and Mexico City. Each piece tells a story that shares Mexico’s imagination.
Escudo Peru: One-of-a-Kind Fashion Pieces
Inspired by Peru’s traditions and based in Barranco, Lima, Escudo Peru designs clothing that takes cues from Peru’s soulful culture. With a commitment to their heritage, they create one-of-a-kind pieces with a a careful attention to detail and a high respect for artisanal techniques and Peruvian folk art.
Aiming For Sustainability
Xaquixe: A Glass Studio With Sustainable Practices
Studio Xaquixe showcased their beautiful glassware at the show and shared their holistic perspective that guides their design and manufacturing processes. With a goal of counteracting an environmental destruction of Mexico, they’re doing everything they can to innovate sustainably and to protect the glass-making culture of Mexico. As a result, they’ve become a pioneer in glass recycling.
Cuchara: Functional Furnishings Inspired by Graphic and Industrial Design
Based in Mexico City and founded by Emiliano Molina, Cuchara works with craft resources that have survived from the traditional carpentry industry in Mexico—but reinterprets them with a modern sense. Molina takes inspiration from graphic and industrial design to create simple furnishings that are geometric, durable, and functional.
Natural Urbano: Common Elements Turned Into Useful Objects
Originally from Ensenada, Mexico, but currently based in León, Guanajuato, Natural Urbano calls themselves a study focused on value creation. They bring together common elements to create conceptual objects that can be adapted for different uses. They’re all about functionality, simplicity, and usefulness.
Malte Taller: Pewter Gets a Graphic Treatment
The team behind Malte Taller stands proudly behind pewter and all of its functional aspects. They use the malleable metal alloy—traditionally 85- to 99-percent tin with a mix of copper, antimony, and a few other ingredients—to create tabletop goods that are given a graphic design treatment. As a material that’s become a popular material in Mexican culture, it can be used with any source of energy including gas, induction, or direct fire. It's also easy to clean, resists bacteria, scratch-resistant, dishwasher-safe, and doesn’t rust.