Mexico City was built on an ancient lake basin. This idea of the city disguising what lies beneath played a major role in the design narrative of the W Hotel Mexico City, which recently underwent a multi-phase transformative renovation. Located in the city’s Polanco neighborhood and drawing inspiration from Mexico City itself, the hotel’s 237 guestrooms now feature floor-to-ceiling imagery to showcase its locale and many notable characters.
This concept of costume and disguise and the intrigue of what lies beneath are all present in the story of the W Hotel Mexico City. “Creative freedom and uninhibited expression are often symptoms of costume and masquerade,” explained Emily Carretta, lead designer at HD Walls, who worked with design firm nemaworkshop on the design of the W Hotel Mexico City project. “Socially, the design pays homage to the numerous festivals that Mexico City is famous for, such as Dia de los Muertos. Other inspirations include the Lucha Libre wrestling phenomenon, night clubs, and numerous art galleries, all representing a suspension of reality and freedom of expression.”
These forms of creative expression are seen clearly in the W Hotel’s guest rooms where a unique partnership between a photographer, fashion stylist, and HD Walls resulted in a striking end result.
Guest rooms at the W Hotel Mexico City feature photography Annie Lask and Ivan Aguirre on HD Walls. Aguirre is known for his surrealist style of photography while Lask is one of Mexico’s foremost fashion stylists. The collaboration between them resulted in a bold wallcovering solution for the W Hotel guest rooms that continues the design language seen throughout the property. In addition to the wallcoverings, the photography was also used on bespoke throw pillows in the guest rooms.
The photography for the wallcovering was executed by the team of Annie Lask and Ivan Aguirre, using HD Walls as the printed canvas. Aguirre is known for his surrealist style of photography while Lask is one of Mexico’s foremost fashion stylists. Together, the duo photographed five different looks which encompassed iconic characters in Mexico’s history: the Aztec Goddess, the conqueror, the revolutionary, the screen goddess, and the masked hero. The collaboration between them resulted in a bold wallcovering solution for the W Hotel guest rooms that continues the design language seen throughout the property. In addition to the wallcoverings, the photography was also used on bespoke throw pillows in the guest rooms.
Other elements that play off the masquerading theme include Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) bottle openers in the in-room mini bars and two-tiered coffee tables with mirrored bottom surfaces revealing art reflected from the panel above. There is also an over-bed infinity mirror installation in each guest room with traditional Mexican crafts known as Alebrijes and toys suspended in the glass to create an optical illusion.
Lask and Aguirre created five different looks that encompass iconic characters in Mexico’s history: the Aztec Goddess, the conqueror, the revolutionary, the screen goddess, and the masked hero.
Carretta recently shared with interiors+sources more about how this striking marriage of photography and fashion came together in the design of the W Hotels Mexico City guest rooms:
i+s: How was that translated into the physical space itself? What products were used?
Emily Carretta: The photography was printed on wallcoverings at true-to-life size. It was printed on our base Silver Flash, which is metallic and highly reflective. The application of the photography onto this base produced a vibrant, mysterious, and unapologetic wallcovering which complemented the project narrative completely.
i+s: What challenges were encountered superimposing the photography at that scale?
EC: The photography was commissioned specifically for this project so it was shot accordingly and the quality was impeccable. We had absolutely no issues printing the photography at that scale.
i+s: How were performance/durability issues addressed in the wallcovering selection?
EC: The wallcoverings were all printed on our Silver Flash, which is a 20-ounce Type II commercial wallcovering, tested in accordance with ASTM E-84Tunnel Test NFPA Life Safety Code 101: Passed Class A. The print was done using UV inks which are incredibly durable and scratch resistant and meet or exceed requirements of GSA Federal Specification CCC-W-408D for Type 11 Material Including ASTM G21- Mildew Resistance.
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