10 Questions With… Maritza Lara Cáceres and Daniel Cruz Maldonado
Casa Quieta means “quiet house” in Spanish and it’s exactly what you feel when visiting this furniture and home accessories showroom, which is nestled in an Art Deco building in the chic neighborhood of Polanco, in Mexico City. Founded in 2018 by Daniel Cruz Maldonado and Maritza Lara Cáceres, and opened by appointment only, it was designed as a fully furnished and shoppable apartment. In this urban refuge, all the furnishings and objects combine artisan techniques with contemporary design in a serene and timeless atmosphere where simple forms are celebrated.
Cruz Maldonado and Lara Cáceres have a shared vision based on the preservation of traditional techniques mixed with a rationalist aesthetic while drawing inspiration from functionalist architects including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Richard Neutra. The two founders, who are both architects, also lead their own design studios: Capital Studio for Cáceres and Cotidiano for Maldonado.
“As opposed to the bustling context of modern metropolis and the busyness of the digital era, we believe in creating everyday sanctuaries that result in places of stillness and refuge,” they say. Casa Quieta perfectly reflects this idea.
Interior Design: What is the story behind Casa Quieta in Mexico City?
Daniel Cruz Maldonado: Casa Quieta was born out of the idea to create a physical space to promote our furniture brands and our marble accessories brand (Casa Mineral that we launched in 2015) all together. While traveling for work to New York City, we discovered the concept of The Apartment by The Line where everything can be purchased and it gave us inspiration to create something similar with Mexican design and art only.
ID: What type of products do you showcase and sell at Casa Quieta?
Maritza Lara Cáceres: The main products and brands are our own furniture and marble accessories but we also have lighting fixtures, artworks, ceramics, textiles, and rugs from other studios. We only look for contemporary design made in Mexico and mostly handmade with craft processes. We are also very interested in showcasing new talents in our space.
ID: How did you meet and decide to work together?
MLC: We met when we were 17 years old, while studying architecture. We’ve been very good friends since then. Our desire to create a brand with products in Mexican marble made us start to work together in 2015 (with Casa Mineral) and in 2018 we launched Casa Quieta.
ID: How do you complement each other?
DCM: Marisa brings a lot of warmth to Casa Quieta, as well as her vision to create atmospheres and communicate through the spaces and photography. I am particularly interested in the attention to detail, the customer experience, and the strategy to make our business and collection grow.
ID: You are both architects leading your respective design studios (Capital Studio and Cotidiano). Can you tell us more about that?
MLC: We both studied architecture and have experience in interior design. We are still doing projects on our own but also through Casa Quieta. With Capital Studio, I like to focus on a personal and intimate scale to design, hand-in-hand with my clients, true retreats in their home.
DCM: With my team at Cotidiano, we do projects that allow us to be in charge of the whole design, from the renovation of a building’s façade to the smallest finishes.
ID: What is your first memory of design?
MLC: When I was a child, I played with my brothers to create a warm area in the patio of our home and I reorganized my bedroom all the time to transform it into a serene space.
DCM: When I was a child, there was a carpentry workshop on the ground floor of my home. As an adolescent, I usually wanted pieces of furniture for my birthday and I started to collect design magazines when I was 15. When I heard about the Parisian apartment of Botero, I realized that Latin American people were doing fascinating things in the world of art and design.
ID: What made you want to become an architect?
MLC: Since I was a child, I was very attracted to different art forms and in particular dance, painting, and music. At a young age, I also understood the impact of interior spaces in our daily life so that’s why I decided to study architecture. I loved to think about how the arts could create a living space with a positive impact on human life.
ID: Can you name some people in the industry who inspire you and tell us why?
DCM: I am very inspired by designers and brands that work on different scales and in different countries. I love Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi and how she introduced modernism in Latin America through unique buildings and furniture; the beautiful designs of Norm Architects, who develop products with different brands around the world such as Karimoku in Japan; Danish furniture brand Menu and their hospitality project Audo in Copenhagen; and the spaces by Vincent Van Duysen and how his ideas are also translated into furniture with design pieces for big brands such as Molteni, B&B Italia, and Flos.
ID: What are your upcoming projects?
DCM: We want to become a key venue for architects, interior designers, and design lovers. Every year we launch a new collection of furniture and accessories.
For the future, we would like to collaborate with other designers to create exclusive pieces for Casa Quieta; we are interested in showcasing Latin American design from other countries; and we would love to explore new materials as well as to expand the concept to the hospitality and real estate sectors.
ID: When you feel that you need to find inspiration, what do you do?
MLC: For us the best way to be inspired is to investigate, learn from the daily life with consciousness and travel. We find inspiration in human and universal concepts such as the beauty of raw materials, the impact of simple shapes, and the architecture and design from the 20th century.