The prelude was from 21 to 25 October, when Mexico City hosted the 7th DWM/Design Week Mexico: the intense, stimulating and talent-packed Mexican design scene, but also a platform to promote design as an event of international appeal.

The high point will be 2018, when Mexico City, as the world design capital, will monitor creativity open to grafts and contaminations “as a value that contributes to the cultural, social and economic development of the country.”

The words of the mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, in full accord with Emilio Cabrero, one of the founders and director of DWM, introduced the 2015 edition, based in the Museum of Modern Art and the Museo Rufino Tamayo. Italy was the “guest country” and Chiapas was the first “guest state.”

A paradigmatic feature, already starting with its title, was Under the same sombrero, an installation in the gardens of Museo Tamayo by the Italians Palomba + Serafini Associati with C Cúbica Arquitectos (i.e. Emilio Cabrero, Marco Coello, Andrea Cesarman) and Pedro Sanchez. A metaphorical pavilion-bridge placed against the museum at the entrance facing the park, which reworked several elements of Mexican culture in its figure.

Arch. Palomba comments: “We have come up with a macro-object of design, an overhanging iron structure on which to wrap ropes and chains, reminders of the typical looms of Chiapas with which the women made marvelous fabrics. Accompanied by the natural element of green climbing plants, the installation forms a canopy in evolution, offering the original play of light and shadow, over the central archetype of the kitchen counter, taken back to the essence of the elements required to prepare food (fire, water and top).”

As if to say: the soul of DWM wants to be open and versatile. In the event Vision & Tradicion Italian and Mexican designers were invited to work with artisans from different communities of Chiapas to interpret and enhance the particular features of a territory full of colors, rugged materials, stories, imagery and signs; a unique cultural heritage interacting on the global design stage, in a logic of standardized production processes.

Without overlooking the rediscovery of the use of silver in design, between tradition and innovation, associated with the Premio Nacional de la Plata Hugo Salinas Price. Shifting gears, Territorio Creativo put the accent on the quality of products invented by about forty successful Mexican designers.

The showcases of Design Content, on the other hand, were for promising younger talents: 19 containers painted red and installed at Lincoln Park, in the shopping area of Polanco, next to the Temporary Structures created by university students of design and architecture, in the pools and amidst the fountains of the zone.

The leap of scale was triggered by Design House: as usual, a group of well-known designers and architects interpreted the various zones of an existing house; for this edition, with the concept “Design Hotel,” the choice went to a building of San Miguel Chapultepec that featured the skillful intervention of the master Raymundo Sesma/Advento Art Design on the facades and in the common internal spaces.

Last but not least, there were conferences and talks on the contribution of design culture to face future challenges, with the participation of international architects and designers like Mario Botta, Piero Lissoni, Roberto Palomba, Luca Nichetto, Matteo Zorzenoni, Mauro Panigo & Andrea Balestrini representing the studio LAND, Fortunato D’Amico for Fondazione Michelangelo Pistoletto and Gilda Bojardi for the magazine Interni, the media partner of the event.

Possibilities for encounters and dialogue, aptly represented by the site-specific work Terzo Paradiso by Pistoletto, a tribute to the master of Arte Povera installed in the gardens of the Museum of Modern Art. “In its image based on the sign for infinity there is the sense of an I and an us, of nature and artifice that have to range towards new, shared ethical-aesthetic goals,” D’Amico explained.

In the meantime, the festive atmosphere in the city opened showrooms, art galleries, the Archivo Arquitectura y Diseño, the Casa Estudio Luis Barragán and other places to the Mexican design populace. After this brilliant prelude and with further developments, there can be little doubt: in 2018 the world design capital will be ready to act as a hub of reference for Latin America. And the world.

Text by Antonella Boisi