Modern Design Meets Tradition at Home from Oaxaca

Sep 2011
Sami Hayek, brother to the talented Selma, has been an environmental designer for years.  This year at the ICFF this year, he realized a long simmering dream and launched a collection of high end furniture that combines modern design with sustainable old world traditions.
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His tightly edited collection, Espacio includes furniture, bedding, and accessories. He has formed a collective with the local craftspeople of the Oaxaca region, allowing them to support themselves while continuing their time honored techniques.


Most of Hayek’s designs are made from the rich, dark clay that is unique to Mexico’s Oaxaca region.  Called barro negro, the series encompasses everything from smaller accessories, to dining room tables.  When I visited the region, the well known clay pieces were ubiquitous, but always much smaller in size.  Hayek was able to revolutionize the process when he partnered with master potter Jose’ Luis Garcia, thus creating a material  strong enough to use  for larger pieces, yet refined enough for serving food.

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The intricate patterning on his Mestizo Credenza is painstakingly hand patterned by Huichoi artisans using traditional techniques from the 16th century. Incorporating the high gloss finish makes a very modern, contemporary statement.  Sami Hayek looks forward to moving the line into freestanding stores in L.A., Miami, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, but his primary focus will be on the collaboration with artisans to keep traditional techniques alive and his furniture looking fresh in the future.
All photos from the designer’s Espacio web site.