A Beautifully Restored 1940s Apartment in Mexico

Images by Ana Laframboise

This week on the Journal we’re thrilled to return to Mexico City to meet creative couple Luis Garvan & David Ericsson at their beautifully restored apartment in Cuauthémoc. Luis works as a photographer shooting interiors and still-life while David is a partner at a boutique architecture firm, we spoke to them about working together to bring their shared vision for their space to life and some of the most inspirational parts of their neighborhood.

Luis Garvan: “This is our first place that we’ve lived in together. After three years of a long distance relationship between Texas and Mexico City we moved together in September 2020 so it’s been a little bit more than a year now. Our apartment is designed by the architects Luis Barragan and Max Cetto during the 1940’s in the Cuauthémoc neighborhood, it’s designed for artists to live and work. In the past the designer Clara Porset lived here and also the painter Juan Soriano, some remarkable figures in design and art of the Mexican modernist movement. This place has a creative and inspiring energy and I like to imagine all the stories and creations that happened here in the past.”

David Ericsson: “Our home also doubles as my studio… before I moved to Mexico City, I would stay with Luis in his studio in centro. On one of my trips down to Mexico City during the pandemic, we had discussed me spending more time there, and when we found this place it just clicked.  Since it was designed as a live/work studio space, it seemed perfect to also make it my office. The double height north facing window looks into the treetops and we designed a standing height table to butt up against the windows so I could look out while working.”

Luis & David’s bed is dressed with IN BED 100% linen in Dove Grey.

DE: “The bedroom is situated in a mezzanine above the living room and studio, which I like because it’s out of sight from below but gets a good birds-eye view on anything happening in the living room. I designed our bed as a simple pine platform with end tables-and our only TV in the house is there, so we use it as our tv room as well.”

LG: “One of my favorite activities is sleep, so having a comfortable bed and nice sheets are very important to me. I also really enjoy watching tv series or movies before going to bed, it’s fun.”

LG: “There’s a few special pieces of art and objects in our place, I particularly enjoy a Japanese hand printed paper that we found on a trip to there a few years ago. There’s a photograph of Todd Hido that’s normally above the fire place, he’s one of my favourite contemporary photographers and the vibrant colors add a touch of electric energy to the place.”

DE: “We also have a collection of periodicals and design/art books that I love having around. Right now, our books on Vija Celmins and Dondald Judd are my current favourites. I enjoy coming back to their work on a regular basis.”

Luis sits at the dining table dressed in an IN BED 100% linen tablecloth in Natural.

LG: “I love our neighborhood, it’s very quiet and well connected to the rest of the city, with a lot of restaurants, my favs: Le Tachinomi Desu, Madai, Bistrot Arlequin, Gohan Kobayashi just to name some, and nice cafes too, my favorite one is Chiquitito, I like to go there in the mornings and grab a coffee to go to my studio or drink something in there. Also I enjoy going for a walk or to Chapultepec park any day during the week, especially in the afternoons and visiting near by museums like the Anthropology Museum and Museo Tamayo.”

DE: “I love how quiet our neighborhood is. It's like being in the eye of a storm. I like to run, so our neighborhood’s proximity to Park Gandhi and Chapultepec is a plus. It also has some great architecture, with notable works by Mario Pani which are fun to study.”

LG: “I started taking pictures at a young age but I have always been interested in visual arts, since I was a child. My work is about portraits, interiors and still life.”

DE: I currently run a small architecture practice with two good friends with projects across the US and hopefully Mexico soon too. We have a focus on creating well crafted works of architecture that are rooted to their landscapes. I recently completed the design of a family compound in Long Island, New York, while I was with Lake Flato Architects. I served as the project manager for the design of the home, as well as the interior designer. The project consisted of two new buildings, and two renovated buildings, and is targeting net zero energy use. The project is reminiscent of a series of boat barns along Peconic Bay, and has some pretty minimal detailing. Luis also took some great photos of the project.”

LG: “[We don’t really work together at the moment] but we have some ideas to do something in the future. Our home is the first thing that we worked together on, where our two aesthetics and taste live together. But it’s undeniable the influence that he has in my vision and in my work, introducing me to the works of architects, designers, artists, landscape designers, etc. that really inspire me and open my mind in different directions.”

DE: “To echo Luis, though our home is our first collaborative project he’s been influencing my work since we first met. Luis’s interest in art, composition and love of detail and the vignette has made me think differently about how you can occupy a space. He has an eye for beauty, and our home reflects that through the objects that he has mostly found.”