Oddly enough, design fairs don’t always take place in particularly inviting (or avant-garde) places. After more than a year of canceled events, I can’t say that I can’t wait to return to the dark and endless rooms of the Javits Center in New York, the Fiera in Milan or the Parc des Expositions in Paris, where I easily clocked five hours. appointments without looking at a single window outward. But last weekend, as things started to return to ‘normal’ whatever that might be, I found myself at a different kind of design fair, agua fresca in hand, examining new furniture, lighting, textiles and accessories, under a blazing sun and The Crash of the Waves at Casa Naila by architect Alfonso Quiñones in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
It was the first edition of Mexico Design Fair, a concept developed before the pandemic that focused on an inspiring venue, an intimate guest list of collectors and design insiders, and the latest crop of products made in Mexico, at a time when the country’s design scene whole is booming.
“It is a hybrid between the stimulating nature of an exhibition and the commercial interest of a fair,” says organizer Carlos Torre Hütt, who organized the exhibition. A designer himself, he has been involved in Mexico’s contemporary design scene for the past two decades, and while he noticed a growing creative force in his country, he also realized that the domestic market was changing to a slower pace.
“Eager to find a mechanism to stimulate the acquisition – and not just the celebration – of contemporary utilitarian pieces, I decided to create a new platform that could bring together global and national players,” says Torre Hütt. “But we wanted to rethink the format of trade shows, where the booths, their area and their layout tend to be more important than the content.”
Torre Hütt worked to create a narrative around New Mexican Design, ordering almost any piece made specifically for Mexico Design Fair. Highlights included steel and brass fixtures by Pola Jose, an architectural walnut and stainless steel coffee table by Todomuta Studio, and vessels based on pre-Columbian jug shapes designed by Pedro Leites and cast in silver by a Mexican silversmith. Tane. The home kitchen, which functioned as a sort of gift shop, featured tableware made by Colectivo 1050º and Tierra Norte, both of whom work with indigenous artisans from Oaxaca and Chihuahua, respectively.