The 9th edition of Design Week Mexico — the country’s prominent platform for design and architecture — closed on Sunday October 15th, with an ambitious program of exhibitions, residencies, talks, architectural interventions and trade fairs across the city. Hosting Switzerland as guest country — coinciding with 70 years of diplomatic relations — and Puebla as guest region, Design Week Mexico 2017 launched a series of exhibitions and installations that will remain on display until next year.
Conveying more than 200 design studios and brands from across the country, Design Week Mexico drew over 85,000 visitors from October 11th--15th from around the world across its key venues. This edition reinforced the event's role as one of the most influential Design Weeks in the world, boosting the local economy and enabling a meaningful dialogue between design practitioners and the general public.
The Design Week Mexico Inédito prize 2017 was awarded to Studio äCo., who received $100,000MXN ($5,200USD) for their project “Calefactores”. The Mexico City-based studio, led by Lucila Torres and Max Almeida collaborated with Fernando González to produce ceramic nest heaters. Both prototypes, ECN02 (fire ceramic nest 02) and ECN03 (electric ceramic nest 03) are characterized by their sophisticated looks while boasting a high level of functionality. They seek to exploit the properties of ceramics to dissipate and conserve heat, by creating spaces between layers that function as air cushions. As they are gradually heated, these trap and retain the temperature inside the ceramic decks, which in turn are heated, raising the temperature of a confined space. Thanks to the prize, Studio äCo. will carry out this project in the region of Chiapas, to provide heaters to vulnerable communities.
The Jury for the prize comprised of Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher (Curator of Design and Architecture at SFMOMA, USA); Juan A. Gaitán (Director of Museo Tamayo, Mexico City); Alexis Georgacopoulos (Director of the Design school ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland); Sylvia Navarrate (Director of Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City); Zoë Ryan (John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago) and Vanessa Sattele (Professor of Design at UNAM, Mexico City).
The fundraising show Design House, which sees a group of designers and architects intervene on a disused neocolonial-style house at the heart of the upscale district of Polanco, will remain open until October 29th. The space has been transformed into a site-specific installation, displaying the latest creations and collections of 18 studios including Ezequiel Farca, Studio Roca, Sofia Aspe, MOB and C Cúbica.
Tamayo DWM Project, a major architectural pavilion designed by Mexican studio Materia in the gardens of Museo Tamayo, will be up until March 2018. The project, which is entitled Parteluz, is a place for contemplation and reflection. The structure comprises two curved rows of white concrete columns. These 70 identical cuboids measure 4.8 metres tall and are linked close to their tops in pairs by pine wood beams. Similarly to the Serpentine Pavilion in London, the temporary structure becomes a central element of the contemporary art museum and its surrounding park, Bosque de Chapultepec, until the Spring.
Also on view until February 2018 is the exhibition 100 Years of Swiss Design at Museo de Arte Moderno: a significant exhibition looking at Switzerland’s design legacy and its international influence in the field. Initially mounted in 2014 at the Museum für Gestaltung (Zürich), this new iteration will explore the shared histories of both countries, for instance with the work of Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, who lived in Mexico from 1938 for a decade, after directing the Bauhaus School. Mexican designers will be celebrated too, for instance Uzyel Karp and Moisés Hernández, who both spent time in Switzerland before returning to their native Mexico.
The aftermath of the devastating earthquakes, which hit central and south Mexico on September 7 and 19, have generated overwhelming levels of solidarity and self-organization. In this changing context, and as the city gears up to become World Design Capital Mexico City 2018—responding to the theme of Socially Responsible Design—Design Week Mexico continues to explore the role of design and architecture within the urban environment.
Estudio äCo. said:
“We are very grateful to the jury for awarding us this prize, which will support the development of our project, an ambient heater that responds to a problem in vulnerable communities of Chiapas. With this prize we will continue exploring the possibilities of such heater and bio-fuels, as well as the way to foster networks with organizations that are currently working with these communities. This is the first time that we participated in Design Week Mexico, and wining is therefore a very significant achievement for our studio. We have no doubt that this achievement will compel us to continue working, in collaboration with Fernando González, on this project and any other projects that invite us to work with multidisciplinary teams, and which encourage creativity and the generation of innovative ideas.”
Emilio Cabrero, General Director of Design Week Mexico, said:
“For this 9th edition of Design Week Mexico, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Embassy of Switzerland to encourage collaboration and dialogue across creative communities in Mexico and Switzerland - a country with a rich history in design innovation. De- sign Week Mexico enables to strengthen a network of practitioners nationally and international- ly, while offering a high-quality program of activities which explores the role of Design in culture and society. This edition of Design Week is a great opportunity to discover the latest in- ternational trends and debates in Design while we prepare for the launch of World Design Cap- ital 2018.”
Louis-José Touron, Embajador de Suiza en México, said:
“Our country has a strong design legacy which enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide, prob- ably because of the way it has ignored fleeting trends to focus on concepts which have gone beyond form, with a high degree of precision, graphically as much as industrially. It’s a great honor to be the Guest Country at Design Week Mexico 2017, which coincides with a series of other recent projects to strengthened alliance between the two countries, like our participation at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Casa de Suiza pavilion in Chapultepec Park and the inauguration last year of the Mexico-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The honor is even greater a few months before of the inauguration of World Design Capital Mexico City 2018, which will celebrate the capital’s design achievements.”