Mid-Century and Modern: Timeless Chair Designs of Mexico

by Ron Morgan Properties

If Frida Kahlo, celebrated Mexican artist and feminist, were alive today, what inspirations, forms, colors and materials would she surround herself with in her inspired Mexican casa?

This very question was the basis an article/pictorial by Home Inspiration Ideas.

Incorporating every contemporary-traditional combination available, the article focused on furniture – beautiful modern-vintage Mexican furniture.(the article is well worth a look)

Feeling inspired, we pulled together some beautiful Mexican classics from the past which promise to stand the test of time, and in beautiful contrast with contemporary  interiors of a modern, new Vallarta condo.

The Acapulco chair

Originally fashioned from steel and plastic, it’s origin remains somewhat of a mystery.

The Patio Production blog, in a lovely and lengthy profile, put it this way:

“While the true history surrounding the origins of the Acapulco chair is buried in obscurity, we do know that the chair started back in the 1950’s. This unique design is easily recognizable and can now be seen on balconies and patios across the world.

Acapulco chairs were originally made using steel and plastic. Rumor has it, a French tourist was lounging on a rooftop on a hot afternoon. He became unsatisfied with the sweltering heat and had an idea. He decided to make a chair using the stringed construction of traditional Mayan hammocks. From this, the Acapulco chair was born.

Equipales Chair & Pedro Ramirez Vazquez

You could say the Equipales is everywhere and nowhere. Some restaurants in Vallarta are filled with them, so much so, you may not even notice.

Well, it’s ‘officially’ back and in some circles, considered an essential for any modern home.

According to The Spruce, the noted home design blog:

“This barrel chair with roots in Mexico is making appearances everywhere. From the rooftop of LA’s popular Ace Hotel, to chic dining rooms in homes around the country.

Crafted from tanned pigskin and Mexican cedar strips, Equipale furniture is made by hand with all natural materials. The seating blends rustic details with an organic shape, making it cozy seating for just about any space in the home.

And if you search online, you’ll find every imaginable material and color. It’s a classic that will infuse any contemporary home with a hint of traditional mexico and contemporary chic.

Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, celebrated architect and industrial designer from Mexico City, created his vision of the Equipales using cowhide and chrome in 1964 and it would look brilliant in any condo today.

Butaque-Inspired Totonaca Chair by Clara Porset (aka the Campeche Chair)

In the 1940s, Mexico was the inspiration – and new home –  for Cuban-born interior and furniture design pioneer Clara Porset.

She, among many other designers, reinvented and revitalized the classic Butaque design to give it an enduring quality.

With its signature ‘x’ where the legs meet the backrest, and originally called a Campeche chair with its roots in the Mexico state of Campeche, these chairs were introduced to the United States where French Creole aristocrats called the in Butaca chairs. And many designers have used them for inspiration, putting their own stamp on them to add a modern twist.

The Illustrated History of Mexico Furniture

For a complete and illustrated history of Mexico furniture, designers and ideas, including more on the Acapulco Chair, Butaque, Clara Porset, Equipale, Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, check out the historical site of Don Shoemaker, another one of many Mexico’s esteemed mid-century furniture designers.



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