How Mexico City’s Design Scene Is Separating Itself From the Pack

“Centro Histórico is layered with history,” says Carlos Matos of the Mexico City (CDMX) district where he and Lucas Cantú live and work. Together they make up Tezontle, a multidisciplinary practice named after the indigenous volcanic rock used for construction since the Aztec era. He means “layered” quite literally. The neighborhood in the city center—home to pre-Columbian restaurants, buildings of nearly every architectural style, and a dense network of hardware stores (“It’s like a big factory where we can source materials and get special things made”)—is actually built upon the ruins of Tenochtitlán, the ancient capital of the Aztec empire, invaded by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés in 1519. That architectural patchwork serves up endless inspiration for the studio’s totem-like concrete sculptures and furnishings, which meld pre-Columbian aesthetics with contemporary material culture. As Matos, who grew up in CDMX, explains, “We see Mexico City as an archeological site that is still

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