Tezontle, part architecture practice and part creative studio based in Mexico City, was founded by Carlos Matos and Lucas Cantú in 2015. Walking into the studio, you feel as if you have stepped into a mini-Smithsonian filled with objects that feel as if they have come from ancient times of Latin America. The space is filled with artifacts, some designed by Tezontle, and others inspiration for their work. We sat down with the two founders, shared some mezcal, and spoke about their inspirations and how they began Tezontle.
Pour yourself a glass of mezcal, turn on the Madre Playlist Tezontle has crafted, and dive into the world of Carlos and Lucas.
Tezontle’s practice is research based. We feel very inspired by our Mexican heritage from ancient cultures up to modern times. We have a big library composed of old books on Mexican subjects; mostly craft, architecture, design, modern and primitive art. A lot of what we study and read somehow ends up manifesting in our work. We also collect found objects and pieces from flea markets, which we then use in our explorations creating material collages and table arrangements that function as reference boards.
In Mexico, we have amazing examples of artists and architects whose work reflected a contemporary practice combined with ancient Mexico, such as Diego Rivera, Juan O’ Gorman, Luis Barragan and Mathias Goeritz. We like to believe Tezontle is playing in this same field presenting a practice that is current, yet very much informed by the past. Mexican roots combined with influences of international figures like the modern masters of sculpture: Brancusi, Noguchi, Modigliani, Jean Arp and architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Adolf Loos, Rennie Mackintosh, Josef Hoffmann, Carlo Scarpa to name a few.
Our studio is based in downtown Mexico City, literally on top of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. We are surrounded by history and a energy that we cannot ignore. We first started thinking about Tezontle while taking long walks in the historic center and through numerous visits to the anthropology museum. We thought, “Wait a minute… Why don’t we just start from here? Why is no one looking at all these amazing narratives we are standing on top off?”
We never wanted to be good-taste designers, so we try to create our own story. We feel that this way of thinking and working, and this language we created called Tezontle, is no longer pushed by us but on the contrary, it is pulling us.