April 21, 2020

Héctor Esrawe Joins Cindy Allen in Conversation via Instagram Live

Joining from Mexico City, Héctor Esrawe, of his namesake cross-disciplinary studio, joined Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen for a conversation over Instagram Live today. The two friends virtually reunited to speak about the duality of struggle and growth of the designer mind amidst COVID-19, touching on the search for a good WiFi connection and existential meaning during a global pandemic. 

“Society took action” instead of the government, Esrawe said, referring to the way Mexico is handling the pandemic. Many streets are empty and thus many small businesses have had to close, but the people have come together to help those impoverished and without resources to survive this crisis. Even rival galleries have since come together to support local artists and artisan product makers by collectively purchasing their works. “The first response always comes from the society,” Esrawe shared, noting that after an earthquake or during a health issue, Mexicans look out for one another. 

Looking ahead, having maintained his team, Esrawe is focusing his effort on local designers and clients. This is a time where Esrawe also is learning and digesting a lot of new information. How to provide immediate relief and enable the community to grow and be sustained in the future are questions Esrawe and his team grapple with every day. Everyone is working all day from their home offices, with less free time than anticipated, he shared with Allen. Projects have come and gone, but this time has urged Esrawe to promote Mexican heritage and culture through local ateliers. As Allen underscored, it cannot be overstated just how much Mexican design has influenced the wider industry over the last decade. 

Allen then showed viewers images from some of Esrawe’s past works. First, was the studio’s office, which was converted from a dance studio. “We like the idea of creating an archive,” Esrawe said about the collection of various knickknacks—a prototype of a lamp, sketches of a brass sculpture—he’s kept from past projects in the studio for inspiration.  Many of his lighting pieces also were shown off to virtual viewers, the different ways light can be contained being a never ending fascination of his. A fan—and Cindy!—favorite is the interior of Tori Tori Santa Fe, a Japanese restaurant in Mexico City that features two hanging elements made of holm oak that evoke Samurai armor.  

“As soon as the pandemic is over and we can travel again, you guys [the Instagram audience] should come visit us,” Esrawe said to close out the chat. Proud of his community and its heritage, Esrawe will be championing Mexican artisans, designers, and architects until the whole world’s had a chance to experience it. 

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