A limited edition of glass objects translates the best of Mexican crafts into a new language. And local design makes a mark on the international scene for expressive quality and reinforced collaboration between design and industry. We talked it over with the designer Héctor Esrawe
Article Valentina Croci
Blown glass bubbles of large size rest on brass trestles in delicate balance. Sculptural appliques send golden, iridescent light thanks to the variable thickness of the glass and the hammered surface inside the volumes. These are pieces from a limited edition of the new brand Nouvel Limited, a division of Nouvel Studio, a leading Mexican company in the field of glass decor complements.
The collection is the result of the focus of the designers Héctor Esrawe, Emiliano Godoy, Brian Thoreen and EWE Studio on the exploration of the frontiers of the factory, taking crafts skills to extremes and offering the international public an image of Mexican design that is more experimental, less “ethnic.” While remaining within the confines of the applied arts.
We asked Héctor Esrawe, a designer based in Mexico City with extensive experience in both industrial design and in more independent, artisanal production processes, if the Nouvel Limited project is the best way to bring out the excellence of Made in Mexico. “More than being the best way, it is another way, based on the expertise and pride of applying crafts to extraordinary pieces, through the collaboration between designers and artisans. Companies like Ceramica Suro and Nouvel Studio have understood the importance of the combination of design, art and industry. Both of them collaborate with designers and artists from all over the world to create unique pieces and collections that bring out the talent of their craftsmen.”
Esrawe Studio has received international honors like the Wallpaper and Frame awards, and the Green Good Design Award in Chicago. What is the perception of Mexican design abroad?
The Nouvel Limited collection presented at Design Miami|Basel 2018 met with a surprising response from collectors, press and critics regarding the expressive quality and complexity of the pieces. Mexican design has found its voice and space on the worldwide design scene, because it is the manifestation of an original, unique language. The interest has increased exponentially over the last five years, when the Mexican designer community has started to look to its own heritage with pride, working side by side with artisans, understanding the importance of horizontal collaboration and creating awareness in industry of the benefits of design as a means of differentiation.
You are engaged on two fronts: Esrawe and Ewe-studio. How do these two realities interact?
Esrawe Studio is an interdisciplinary design atelier that develops projects and solutions ranging from furnishings to architecture to exhibit design for museums, hotels, restaurants, offices or residences. Ewe Studio was created with Age Salajõe and Manuel Baño for the creation of limited editions for the circuit of collectible design, made by some of the most talented artisans and workshops in Mexico, with the goal of translating our heritage into new languages. The two realities operate in an independent way, but they share the respect and passion for Mexico
You are also active in the area of education, from the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) of Mexico City, to the degree program in Diseño y Producto at the CENTRO of Miguel Hidalgo. Are there signs of change in the design schools?
There are more and more well-trained, talented designers who can teach in the academies. The attitude and the capacity to work on aware design are growing. The main task, at this point, is to connected industry to design. And the Mexican universities are making strides in this direction.