The presence of art is perpetually coveted, a yearning that ushers people to queue outside art galleries and sneak in moments of solace in the mundane whirlwind. In art, people find—albeit momentarily—their own rendition of a haven. Exhibition spaces have most certainly witnessed innumerable whispered wishes left behind by guests as they cruise through the halls, wishes that speak of carrying the artworks home or perhaps just living with them. What if art clambers out of stifling four walls and seeps into your abode? What if art could be inhabited?
This wistful pursuit, formed the foundations of Casa Nueva, a livable gallery space and apartment hotel realised by New York-based designers River Valadez and Sebastián Arroyo Hoebens. Launched in November 2022 in the heart of Mexico City, the inhabitable art and design gallery unveils its inaugural show titled New Solid in collaboration with digital gallery Adorno. With ongoing programming of three-month-long exhibitions, Casa Nueva welcomes visitors to experience and live in a milieu of curated transdisciplinary contemporary works traversing collectable design and functional art. The gallery circumscribes the concept of a home as a functional entity and an epitome of cultural beauty in tandem, with a repository curated by local emerging talent from Mexico City and New York. The exhibition will remain on display from November 6, 2022, to January 15, 2023. According to the gallery founders Valadez and Hoebens, “Functional pieces deserve the freedom to be both seen and used as beautiful tools to live with, and not caged in a gallery setting.”
The exhibition space came to life prancing on the cobblestones of exploration, a waltz guided by a simple question: how can one illustrate ways to live with functional art? The artworks are created in a correlation found in geometry, technology, and crafts—each a bliss for the contemplative eye and a joy to use. As a result, the body of work spanning furniture design, tableware, lighting design, and rugs designs, entices viewers to investigate the levitating and multidimensional nature of concepts such as mass, volume, or weight.
Convening emerging talent and focusing the attention on contemporary design and art, Casa Nueva aims to launch curated exhibitions spanning across the duration of three months at a time in the 100 sqm space distributed over two floors. The apartment is an aggregate of a fully equipped kitchen and a living room on the lower floor. Concrete chair designs usher the viewers to the upper floor where a bedroom, a bathroom, and a large rooftop terrace with a breathtaking view of the rooftops of Colonia Centro, wait to be discerned. The event was part of the Design Week Mexico festivities, in collaboration with Adorno as well as Ángulo Cero, a Mexican art gallery, and with the support of Yunuen Sariego, a Mexican promoter and curator of contemporary art.
Hoebens, born in Mexico City and raised between Mexico and the Netherlands, and Valadez are now residents of and run their practices in Brooklyn, New York. Their local insights and a shared dedication to crafts led to a collaboration that morphed into a cultural bridge between the two great capitals. Amidst the undulating mirrors, animated rugs, gaping lamps, and eccentric furniture, the viewer encounters a vision of not only experiencing but living with art. In pursuit of this muse, Casa Nueva blurs the disparities that sit between an exhibition space and a dwelling. What emerges is a mise en scène where art is not a backdrop, but a protagonist anticipating admiration and interaction, inviting you to pirouette and settle in—and perhaps stay.
New Solid will remain on view from November 6, 2022, to January 15, 2023, at Casa Nueva in Mexico City.