Guides

The Design Lover’s Guide to Mexico City

American design icon Kelly Wearstler shares her top spots for aesthetic awe.

SINCE LAUNCHING HER namesake firm in 1995, American designer Kelly Wearstler has been at the vanguard of bold, multilayered, and provocative design. From residential to hospitality, commercial to retail — her expressions of beauty are globally recognized and countlessly awarded. Here she shares her exclusive list of must-sees in Mexico’s capital city, famed for its rich aesthetic heritage and vibrant culture (with a few bonus recommendations in Jalisco’s Tlaquepaque!).

Architecture

El Nido de Quetzalcoatl, Javier Senosiain

A serpentine property you can sleep in
Senosiain’s experimental approach to architecture is encapsulated by this crazy snake-shaped property set outside of Mexico City, which you can even rent on Airbnb! For reservations, email hello@elnidodequetzalcoatl.com.

La Casa Azul, Museo Frida Kahlo

A true artist’s residence
La Casa Azul, which translates as the Blue House, was the home of Frida Kahlo. At the request of the artist, the property was turned into a museum following her death. Its architecture provides an incredible tapestry of materiality including tiles, walls of stone revealing incredible shells, and bold colors.

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Juan O’Gorman

Where Mexican history and modernist architecture meet
Museo Casa Estudio is composed of two houses completed by modernist architect Juan O’Gorman, one for his father and one for creative couple Rivera and Kahlo in the 1920s and ’30s. O’Gorman, who was inspired by Le Corbusier, combined modernist architecture in a Mexican style using bold red and blue hues.

San Cristóbal Stable & Egerstrom House, Luis Barragán

A stunning compound for horses and humans
Located just outside of Mexico City, this is one of the most recognizable works of iconic Mexican architect Luis Barragán. The equestrian-focused property features iconic monolithic bright-pink walls surrounding a shallow pool designed for horses to bathe. Spend an afternoon getting lost in the... Located just outside of Mexico City, this is one of the most recognizable works of iconic Mexican architect Luis Barragán. The equestrian-focused property features iconic monolithic bright-pink walls surrounding a shallow pool designed for horses to bathe. Spend an afternoon getting lost in the architecture and landscape. Email cuadrasancristobal@gmail.com for reservations.

Casa Möbius

A compelling marriage of industrial and organic materials
On the outskirts of Mexico City, Casa Möbius is the 1970s self-designed studio and home of architect Ernesto Gómez Gallardo. The residence made incredible use of form and materiality with monumental gridded concrete ceilings, stone walls, and cantilevered rooms. (Temporarily closed.)

Casa Orgánica, Naucalpan de Juárez, Javier Senosiain

A mind-blowing merging of nature and architecture
This expansive, experimental house was designed by renowned Mexican architect Javier Senosiain. Featuring curving walls and windows, a mottled exterior, and even a slide, the project is an incredible and surprising exploration into the practice of organic architecture. (Note, this is currently closed to the public.)

Design

Atra

Where Scandinavian minimalism meets Mexican design
For more contemporary design, head to the showroom of Atra, a contemporary furniture, design, and architecture firm with Swedish and Mexican roots by Alexander Díaz Andersson.

Chic by Accident

An enchanting intersection of past and present in a gallery-like setting
If I lived in Mexico City, this would be my go-to shopping spot, with an ideal mix of vintage and contemporary design. It was created by Emmanuel Picault.

Museo Regional de la Cerámica (Tlaquepaque, Jalisco)

A captivating look at the rich history of local ceramics and handcrafts
This museum showcases designs that are indigenous to its location in Jalisco, a place with a strong history of producing ceramics. Some of my favorite pieces are the human-sized glazed pots.

Paco Padilla Studio (Tlaquepaque, Jalisco)

A master ceramicist’s colorful playground
While on my trip, I was lucky enough to stop by the workshop and showroom of Tlaquepaque ceramicist Paco Padilla. One of my favorite elements was a wall installation of pottery.

Perla Valtierra

An alchemy of traditional and modern pottery
Perla Valtierra is an incredible ceramicist living and working in Mexico City. You can experience her innovative designs in person by visiting her showroom, which is accessible by appointment only. Email to reserve one: hola@perlavaltierra.com.

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Art and Galleries

Galerie Hilario Galguera

An intimate gallery with international presence
This modern-art gallery was founded in 2006 to showcase both contemporary Mexican and international art, kicking off with Damien Hirst’s first-ever solo show in Latin America.

Kurimanzutto

A dynamic gallery with an innovative philosophy
Kurimanzutto is a studio and exhibition space dedicated to experimental projects. First established as a moving gallery in the 1990s, it has settled in a building that was formerly a bakery in San Miguel Chapultepec.

Masa Gallery

A roving exploration of materiality and intentionality
Masa Gallery is a nomadic gallery of collectible design and art serving to showcase local design talent, founded by some of Mexico City’s leading creatives, including designer Hector Esrawe, art curator Cristobal Riestra, curator Age Salajōe, and design Brian Thoreen.

Museo Tamayo

A hub of contemporary art in the middle of the forest
Located in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park, this museum showcases contemporary art exhibitions year-round. It is housed in a spectacular reinforced-concrete and white-marble stone building.

OMR

A bold contemporary art space championing new creative voices
Established in the 1980s, OMR is a staple of the Mexico City art scene and recently expanded to include a cultural center in Chapultepec Park.

Onora Casa

A curated celebration of contemporary Mexican artisans
Contemporary and traditional Mexican design are melded together in this emporium. A true celebration of handcraft, it features homeware, accessories, and fashion.

Trouvé

An eclectic wonderland of vintage design and furniture
As many of you already know, I am a huge lover of vintage furniture, so I was delighted to find Trouvé, a gallery of modernist design and furniture in Mexico City.

Food and Drink

Contramar

A delightful blend of fresh seafood and national flavors
If you, like me, think of fresh seafood as one of life’s greatest delights, then Contramar is a must for your Mexico City agenda. Its indoor-outdoor location dishes up freshly caught fish every day — get the tuna tostada with a healthy serving of fresh guacamole.

Hugo

Where natural, biodynamic (and often local) wines balance creative bites
For a lighter bite and a great glass of wine, head to Hugo. It provides a more intimate setting to relax and wind down after a long day of exploring.

La Casa del Pan Papalotl

A vegetarian-friendly, organic cafe serving national favorites
La Casa del Papalotl serves up vegetarian fare throughout the day and is a great spot for breakfast.

Maximo

A farm-to-table fusion of classic European techniques and local ingredients
Maximo is one of Mexico City’s first farm-to-table eateries. Because of its focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, it has a new menu every day. It’s top of my list for when I return!

Páramo

Where you can imbibe, dine, and dance late into the night
A menu of delicious, fresh tacos and mezcal is housed in a relaxed atmosphere in Páramo.

Pujol

A Michelin-starred showcase of Mexican gastronomy
Regarded as one of the best places to eat in Mexico City, Pujol is located in a former house in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood, with interiors designed by JSa.

Sartoria

A mecca of fresh, handmade pasta and seasonal ingredients
Serving up Italian fare in Mexico City’s Roma Norte neighborhood, Sartoria is enveloped by an incredible arched, board-marked concrete ceiling. The concrete detailing continues to wrap around to a takeaway coffee shop named Buna.

Tori Tori

A laudable Japanese venue with a fresh, futuristic vibe
Mexican design legend Héctor Esrawe completed Japanese eatery Tori Tori with standout detailing like tall dark-wood walls with imprinting intended to reference Samurai armor, and a pale-wood cylindrical installation in the center.

Fashion

1/8 Takamura

A utilitarian meditation on contemporary clothing
Owned by Mexican designer Guillermo Vargas, 1/8 Takamura in the Roma Norte neighborhood features a plethora of custom-made, high-quality designs. The fabrics are woven at a small mill outside Mexico City, and everything is cut and sewn in-house at the studio.
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Our Contributors

Kelly Wearstler Writer

Kelly Wearstler, founder and principal of Kelly Wearstler design studio, is an American designer creating multi-faceted, experiential residential, hospitality, commercial and retail environments as well as expansive collections of lifestyle product designs and brand collaborations. Wearstler is internationally recognized with distinctive design awards – including Architectural Digest’s AD 100; Elle Décor’s The A-List; Wallpaper Magazine’s Top 20 Designers; and Time Magazine’s The Design 100. She is the author of five design books.​

Karina Spritze Photographer

Karina Spritze is a luxury brand consultant and content creator based in Los Angeles. Her world travels and close observations of consumer behavior and cultures have made her a conceptual visionaire.

Brian Bowen Smith Photographer

Brian Bowen Smith is an American commercial and fine-art photographer known for his celebrity portraits. He was mentored by Herb Ritts, who helped him discover his own personal photographic style.

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