Reflections from Design Week Mexico

After a lively, thought-provoking experience at Design Week Mexico, moderator Beth Dickstein reflects on her experience. 

Don’t do it in 26 hours! That was the mistake I made. There is so much to see and it’s really well organized. I missed so much. But I was there on a mission.


The Mission: to present a Be Original Americas talk about how creativity means originality in crisis situations. Luckily, I had a truly impressive panel – who had the experience, both locally and internationally with natural disasters and the response.

I first made a presentation about the Be Original Americas organization to Gensler Mexico City. This office was incredibly active with both local and international companies and sees how Mexico City is gaining prominence as a truly cosmopolitan city.

The team was welcoming and interested. The consensus was that it truly takes educating the client and all involved on the value of original design…for their own brand, for environmental concerns and true economics.

The next day was the panel: Creativity After Crisis: Why Should I Care of About Original Design Now?

We put together a panel from all facets of the design recipe – industrial designer, manufacturer, retailer and architect/interior designer. I had my work cut out for me to moderate their brilliance!

When asked what has been Gensler’s response having so many offices where natural disasters have occurred, Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, Principal, Gensler Mexico City, stated that the firm doesn’t wait for disasters but thinks ahead. For example, Gensler is part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Further, the firm focuses on the locations and the essence of place, and always acts as an advisor to their clients. When the disasters do occur, it impacts their people as well and they work to serve their own community. As a firm, they fund local organizations to help.

The same was the response from Antoine Roset, Executive Vice President, Ligne Roset, North & South America. From a manufacturer point, Roset’s company looks for continued advancement and improvement to make the company and its products safer and always looking for new materials for comfort, response to needs and greater value. Roset also funds local organizations dedicated to natural disaster response.

Antoine Roset and Mariela Buendia-Corrochano

Victor Alemán, Estudio Victor Alemán, has been organizing individuals who have been working to rebuild via community organization on WhatsApp. The thinking is sometimes the original design wasn’t the best. Focusing on that and the humanity issue, they are working to move people from shelters to structures, reusing materials that are safe and available. “People shouldn’t live in boxes, when they’ve lost everything”.

Guillermo Quintana, CEO, Design Primario & Ligne Roset Mexico, is both an architect and retailer. He feels ethics are important: “…not just build, but where to build.” Always understand the consumers’ goals, earn their trust and become an advisor, and have honest conversations on what their needs are. He noted that he feels his role now is to be more critical via his social network to bring issues to the forefront.

Victor Alemán, Guillermo Quintana, and Beth Dickstein

Overall, it seems “being Original” is problem solving – be it in natural disasters or just good business.

The Q&A was lively with many grateful for this discussion during this time and in this place. When a journalist asked how can we get this conversation beyond those design interested, it was suggested that THEY speak beyond just noting the decorative elements, and “pitch” beyond the generic design oriented media and networks. To this, applause.

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