The Mexico City Design Duo Infusing L.A. With Soulful Artisan Touches

On the heels of Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin’s West Coast expansion, we share details on their new book and a forthcoming furniture collection



Relocating from Mexico City to Los Angeles to open a new studio outpost felt like a natural fit for Ezequiel Farca, who, along with his business partner, founded their eponymous architecture and design firm, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin.


Drawn to the similarities between California’s modernist architecture and what’s currently happening in Mexico’s art and design scene, Farca says, “I fell in love with L.A. It was an immediate connection with the city, the culture, the food, the people, the museums.”

First introduced to the city while visiting Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he later moved to the area in 2012 with his wife, designer Monica Calderon, to pursue an MBA at the University of California Los Angeles — and then he chose to stay.

The firm, established in Mexico City in 1992, also has an office in Milan, Italy, which oversees the yacht design side of the business. Opening its studio in Santa Monica in 2017, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin has brought its sophisticated modernist aesthetic for residential and commercial spaces to the West Coast.


Recently they’ve had the opportunity to work on such local projects as a Venice Beach townhouse showcasing the homeowner’s art collection and an Encino home completed for an MGM Networks Latin America executive, characterized by a mix of contemporary Mexican furnishings, handmade accessories and a midcentury vibe.

While Farca’s designs are influenced by the modern style of Mexican architect Luis Barragán, he makes a point to weave in handcrafted details, either handmade by local artisans or elements that are inspired by their work.

For example, Farca has designed a dining chair with a seat made of tiny strips of woven leather — an idea that later evolved into the concept for chairs woven with plastic for an outdoor collection for Janus et Cie, which debuts in February 2020.


“Mexico traditionally does a lot of weaving and rattan, like the Acapulco chair,” Farca says. “It’s a challenge in how we could design and implement this modern design into the tradition of their work.”

Finding a balmy climate here very much like Mexico’s, Farca also felt a sense of familiarity with Spanish villa-style homes nestled in the Southern California landscape, built with courtyards that make the most of their natural surroundings. This emphasis on an indoor-outdoor connection, he notes, is something he likes to blend into much of his architectural projects. “In California, everything is very relaxed,” Farca says. “It’s a way of living.”

Oftentimes Farca discovers practical architectural solutions that later become an art piece. For the Maravilla House in Mexico City, he designed an exterior screen that’s used as the main entrance to the home, with a pierced white and gray geometric design that casts captivating shadows at different times throughout the day, while also providing privacy. The design, he says, is a contemporary take on colorful handpainted talavera tile from Puebla, Mexico.


Unique projects like these are featured in Farca and Grappin’s newly launched book, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin (Rizzoli New York, $85), which highlights the past 10 years of the firm’s work, from luxury vacation homes in Mexico — many featuring their custom furniture pieces with artisanal details — to restaurants and bars to a Benetti Crystal yacht.

“I like to describe our projects as having a soul,” Farca says.

207-B Hollister Ave., Santa Monica, 310-309-9615.


Feature image: In Casa Barrancas, full-height windows were installed, affording natural light and outdoor views without compromising the comfort and privacy of the residents. Photo by Jaime Navarro.


Oct. 29, 2019

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