Archivo is the only project in Mexico dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and rethinking design and architecture.
Archivo is focused on researching and advocating design, as well as in exploring its history and evolution, questioning its principles, and exploiting its potential as a tool for everyday transformation.
Through our permanent collection—consisting of 1,800 objects, a specialized library, and a dynamic program of research, exhibitions, and activities, Archivo has established itself as a pioneering space and an essential reference for design and architecture in Mexico and abroad.
Archivo is not your typical archive. Instead of simply organizing and preserving documents that are only accessible to specialists, we want to produce new readings, perspectives, and ideas regarding material culture in its broadest sense, without restricting ourselves to categorical definitions or expert knowledge.
We are not a repository of records and documents, but of artifacts, testimonies, activations, and any sort of exploration about design. Archivo is an open archive: our storage rooms are accessible and our catalog is open; we share our resources, and we make our processes public.
We see Archivo as the raw material for learning and experimenting with design and architecture, a source of inspiration for designers, where curiosity, knowledge, and critical thought are instilled.
HOW DOES ARCHIVO WORK?
Archivo reasserts the relevance of design in our daily lives. We are pioneers in researching and exhibiting design in Mexico and we offer a unique study collection of everyday design. We’ve broken down our SPACE and work into three areas of activity:
- COLLECTING design:
From our foundation, Archivo has focused on acquiring, cataloging, and preserving a permanent collection of popular and industrial design as well as limited edition objects from the 20th and 21st centuries. Convinced that there is a difference between interacting with an object and seeing a representation of it in a book or website, we decided to open our archive in 2016, through Archivo Abierto—our open storage, consultation, and exhibition area, allowing anyone to see our collection up close and to interact with the pieces.
The other half of our permanent collection is the Archivo library, which specializes in architecture, art, and design. It is divided into two: the Personal Collection of Enrique del Moral (CEM) and the Archivo Collection (CAD). Both can be perused in our Reading Room.
You can also explore our entire collections (both the object collection and the library) in our online catalogue.
- EXHIBITING design:
Design and architecture are meant to be used and experienced, not displayed in a museum or gallery space. So, how and why do we exhibit design?
For Archivo, the answer to this question changes and adapts as time pases and according to different scenarios, but we generally believe that the practice of exhibiting design is important to rediscover histories, make processes public, and to go beyond the surface of a finished product. Our purpose is to strip design from any sense of mystery trying to tie it to a broader discussion regarding cultural and collective processes.
Our exhibitions delve into these concerns and attempt to push their boundaries: they question the nature of authorship in design and the relevance of process; they reveal the engineering logics behind a common artifact or blur the object-based focus of design; they reactivate historical memories, and seek to redefine the relationship between design and contemporary life in Mexico.
You can explore a complete history of our past exhibitions, learn more about our current shows, or discover the ones we have planned for the future.
- RETHINKING design:
Archivo seeks to inspire and encourage people to think design in non-traditional ways, to break disciplinary boundaries, and to create a broader view of the practice and its contexts, processes, histories, uses, and impacts.
Archivo is both a practical and educational resource for students and professionals, as well as a space that introduces a broader audience to design and material culture.
We generate and promote original and informed perspectives through a range of formats that are accessible to everyone: research projects and publications, opinion pieces, workshops and collaborations, and even informal gatherings and other kinds of activities.
HOW CAN YOU USE ARCHIVO?
Archivo is an exhibition space, as well as a research and gathering space; entrance is free of charge and open to the public. We want you to visit Archivo, but we especially want you to use Archivo. We want you to see our exhibitions and spend the day reading our books in the Reading Room or in the garden, having a coffee. We invite you to use our archive for your research or school project, or to participate in one of our conversations and workshops.
We may be a small, independent space, but we offer a considerable variety of resources and activities, as well as an ambitious program, and original, quality cultural offerings.
You can collaborate with Archivo through our volunteer program. If you are part of the design community in Mexico and you have a project or a collaboration proposal that involves Archivo, you can also contact us.
Sometimes we offer spaces for private events. If you are interested in hosting a photo shoot, a book launch, a dinner or a private event in Archivo, you can request information through our e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.