Taking the Mexican festivity “Day of the Dead” as an opportunity to talk about Mexico’s colorful design, last weekend, the print edition of the London newspaper Financial Times published an articles about Mexican design featuring excerpts of an interview made to us a couple of weeks ago.
“One a wave of colour” talks about Mexican design coming to the international stage. The author Victoria Maw talked with important players like curator Ana Elena Mallet and london based designer Liliana Ovalle about the recent events that has put us at the International spotlight.
My contribution for this article was about how my generation is taking design abroad and shifting the Mexican industry’s views on design:
Jorge Diego Etienne, who is based in Monterrey, in north Mexico, is typical of the new generation of Mexican designers. In addition to earning a design degree from Mexican university Tec de Monterrey, Etienne has studied at Parsons in New York City and London’s Central St Martins. Although the Mexican design community is small, he says, many of his contemporaries share a common aim – that of international recognition. “We are a new generation with a very clear goal,” he says. “I think that is what separates the young designers of the day from past generations. Past generations did a lot for design in Mexico but getting international recognition was not their main objective.”
Etienne’s home town of Monterrey is a centre of industry. He says that industrial businesses throughout Mexico have overlooked the commercial value of design: “Industrial design has fallen behind, so what I am trying to do is inject good design into all this industry.” He is currently working with an established office furniture company, Ofimodul, helping them to reinvent their brand, as well as a newer company called Acixs, which specializes in stainless steel products. Etienne believes that good design will help Mexican companies such as Acixs compete in tough global markets, dominated by Chinese firms: “Design is not something that most companies in Mexico will invest in. This is what we are trying to change. Our proposition is that you are not selling less because China is selling more. You are selling less because you don’t have design in your company.”