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Brief Published: 18 Oct 2016

Crafting Mexico’s Cultural Heritage: Design Week Mexico

Clockwise L-R: Hanne Willmann & Familia Bernabé, Pablo Pajarito's Workshop, Hanne Willmann & Familia Bernabé, Elisa Strozyk & José Oscar Pedrosa

Linking up designers from Germany and Mexico with craftsmen from the Mexican state of Jalisco, Design Week Mexico’s residency programme Vision & Tradition aimed to explore the significance of traditional craft in contemporary design.

During a three-day workshop, the designers worked with artisans skilled in techniques typical to the area, such as pedal-loom wool weaving and horsehair weaving, pottery, wood carving, and colourful bead art and yarn painting. This resulted in fresh interpretations of traditional textiles, tableware and furniture.

German designer Hanne Willmann worked with traditional Jalisco petatillo potters Familia Bernabé. Together, they created tableware that retained clues of traditional decorative petatillo – characterised by a set of crosshatched lines and stylised images of plants and animals – while updating the style with angular shapes and minimalist patterns.

“These people are masters of their expertise, and the industrialisation let them down,” said Hanne Willman after the event. “We designers can have an impact and help preserve the crafts.”  

Results of the residency were shown at Museo Tamayo as part of the eighth edition of Design Week Mexico (October 3-9). Held in Mexico City, the festival selects a guest country and a national guest state to play leading roles throughout the programme.

Mulitcultural heritage style was a theme we also spotted at London Design Week; see LDF 2016: Home Accessories. To find out how designers are combining primitive and modern industrial processing techniques, read our report Considered Environment.