The Industrial Revolution changed the economics of handicraft indefinitely: displaced from large-scale production, craft has since acquired ‘artisanal’ and ‘hobbyist’ subtexts. Designer and artist William Morris, aghast, started the Arts and Crafts movement to preserve and raise appreciation for crafts including ceramics, textiles and furniture. Since Morris’ days, creatives and cultural purveyors alike have continued to conceive ways to keep these traditions alive. Boutique hotel Casa Hoyos is one such actor: the hospitality brand uses its platform to showcase local craft culture.

Casa Hoyos is located in San Miguel de Allende, a town rich in cultural and architectural history: The surrounding centro histórico is a UNESCO-world heritage site, celebrated for its baroque and neoclassical architecture – designers AG Interior Studio were careful to maintain the former Spanish manor’s colonial features during renovation. Mixing preservation with Mexican craft, the studio incorporated local artisanal techniques in to the interior’s glazed ceramics, pasta tiles and clay slabs.

The casa is comprised of 16 suites, outfitted with a mix of traditional and contemporary Mexican furnishings and goods including Calaca armchairs, woven tapestries and mirrored plant pots. A courtyard constructed of concrete – a reference to Mexican modernism – is offset by halls clad in cheerful bright tiles. At one end of the courtyard, printed on ceramic tiles is a graphic of a Madonna, arranged symmetrically above a console as if in imitation of an altar. The interior’s textured glass, steel framing and black grout are all informed by local Mexican building practices.

A rooftop terrace offers guests a privileged view of the Guanajuato sunset: here, terracotta-coloured tiles and bright-red lounge chairs complement the surrounding pink cityscape.

In our Jan—Feb 2020 issue, Frame 132, Annette Lin further explores the economics of Mexican craft culture, questioning the role of 'popular design'. Get your copy here.