It’s no secret office cubicles are making a comeback. Originally designed in 1964 by Herman Miller president Robert Propst, the compartments peaked in 1980s corporate America but eventually lost their appeal as they became associated with artificiality and traditional, monotonous workflow. However, as workers have returned to the office post-Pandemic in need of quieter and more private workspaces, they are transforming their cubicles into areas that inspire and foster collaboration. In Mexico City, Pink Essay plays with this trend by reimagining the office space to experimental and visually striking ends.
For their new exhibition, “LA OFICINA,” the creative studio and platform by David Eardley and Matt Pecina partnered with EN EL 14, an art and creative space run by Ximena Robles in the city’s historic Torre Latinoamericana skyscraper. Curated by Eardley in a traditional office setting, “LA OFICINA” builds upon Pink Essay’s ethos of radical design subculture. The group show features the works of 26 artists and designers who have reimagined ordinary office objects, such as a calculator, keyboard, and post-it notes, infusing them with innovative and subversive sensibilities. Voidfill Studio, the New York-based creative practice and design studio of Sebastian Bidegain, transformed a vintage cord phone into “Sapofono” using Pompeii Green patina—with its Bluetooth and Siri features, this work of art is guaranteed to ignite lively discussions around the water cooler. Other artists include Pamela Hernández Venegas of the Mexico City-based shoe and accessories brand Cruda, the Iranian-American artist Danielle Firoozi, visual artists Maximiliano Rosiles and Paloma Villalobos, and contemporary knitwear designer Krystal Paniagua.
“LA OFICINA” coincides with Zona Maco, Mexico City’s biggest art fair, which showcased local, long-time exhibitors such as Galería OMR, Kurimanzutto, and Galería de Arte Mexicano as well as emerging artists in the fields of photography, jewelry, textiles, furniture and decorative objects for its twentieth anniversary edition. Other highlights from this year’s Mexico City Art Week include Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj first solo show in Latin America, Gabriel Orozco’s new exhibition at Kurimanzutto, and new works by Beatriz González, one of South America's first Pop artists.
Based between New York and Mexico City, Eardley and Pecina share a strong desire to transform the culture of furniture and object design. Originally launched as a newsletter by Eardley in 2019, Pink Essay gives young designers from marginalized communities and art students access to a space to showcase their work. Pecina, founder of New York-based Studio Guapo, became Pink Essay’s conceptual director during the Pandemic and has worked on enlarging the scope of the platform by hosting “free for all” exhibitions and events. Their website offers a curated digital archive for anyone interested in furniture design while their Instagram community of designheads boasts more than 100,000 members.
"LA OFICINA" is on view through February 16, 2024, at Torre Latinoamericana at Francisco I. Madero Avenue 1, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, Mexico.