Latin American design: a party of colors, materials and visions

Written by Cirze Tinajero

From mexican mud, guatemalan textiles to ecuadorian pottery they have been fundamental pieces of inspiration to define what we know as latinamerican design.


According to University of Palermo, design is defined as a process of intellectual and manual work that looks to Project an object that, for some reason, is needed.

In the case of Latinamerica, design in its different aspects, as much as industrial, graphic, textil or interior, it has been a discipline that in the last 70 years has taken the material resources available to explode them to the máximum without forgetting the cultural aspects of the region.

According to Néstor Damián Ortega, teacher of design disciplines for different Universities of Latinamerica and coautor of the book “Industrial Design Methodology”, a vital part of latinamerican design has been the artistic and artisan wealth of each country.


“Latinamerican design has excelled for the huge cultural wealthness of our countries, in objects, pottery, textiles  and also in countries like Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador bet for continue with their crafts and art as a way to have a root in their region”. 

“The enormous tradition of our towns is what gives strength to latinamerican design; designers are the inheritors of material, artistic and productive traditions of past generations” shared Ortega in interview.


Especially latinamerican design has been nurtured by the fusion that is achieved by combining indigen elements with other cultures and specifically with other methods that have been consolidated globally in the field of design. 

“Many of the object production techniques, illustrations and textiles have their origin in the mixture that occurs between local, european, asian and african techniques.

“The world view of indigen towns, the way of explain reality and transmit it, reaches the colors,  clothing, dance and from there some of its elements are taken to express the design object, which, with no doubt is an extensión of our familiarity and bring us closer to origins of our towns”, said Ortega.



Over 20 and 21st century, design has developed in popular culture, cultural and social activities.

Especially,  graphic design has been the way to show a region that never stood still, neither social, nor politically, nor economically speaking; in other words, it has become  the canvas to capture experiences and concerns of the region.

According to María Belén Garcés Custode, expert in the field, latinamerican design success is closely linked to  the concept of the exotic.

Both, sign and symbol chromatic, together, create a remarkable graphic, of loud colors that makes the object evident, which combines so well with posmodern opinion about everything attracting attention and being visually stunning.


The Latin impact in interior design

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When approaching latinamerican design, interior design must be emphasized by the impact it has on daily life by creating environments that respond to the needs of each user.

Specifically, interior design in Latinamerica looks to be elegant, useful, but without forgetting the kindness of what means to be latino.

According to Luis Martín Sordo, interior designer and creative director at Martínez & Sordo Interiorism office, currently latinamerican interior design is distinguished by being extremely  demanding and with a totally unique offer.

“Designing in Latinamerica is very different from any place in the world. Here, not only  elegance is looked for but also comfort, which for Latinos means feeling that we connect with what belongs to us, our roots, our family.

“It is useless if it looks pretty, if it is not, it is a space where you can be happy with yours”, Luis Martín explains.


The use of colors, different materials, textures and crafts turns basic in latinamerican interiorism, according to the expert.

Even in latino homes who are in other countries.

“The house of a latino in The United States would be very different from any other Northamerican. I would even dare to say that it will have a more demanding design.

“Most  interior design firms usually follow certain parameters of design and choose their range of materials that unify their projects but latinos  especially don´t like that.

We have grown up with a fusión of colors, flavors, materials and we also want to take that to the place we live in, and even more when we are far away from our own”, Luis Martín said.


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