Design Spotlight: Colectivo 1050° Ceramics

This post is the first installment in a series featuring (mostly) Mexican designers, from fashion to furniture and home goods.

I’m from New York City, so I developed a bit of a temper during my teenage years that stuck with me in my early 20s (at least I blame it on being from NYC). Maybe “temper” isn’t the right word––more like “reactive”. You know… when things just get to you more than they should.

For the past year or so I’ve been really good about being less reactive. In fact, this past summer my rental car got a flat tire in Lenox, Massachusetts at 5pm on a Sunday (meaning the rental car place was closed and there was no way to swap it). It cost me over $150 and a couple hours of my time to get it fixed, but I was totally calm throughout the whole thing. Cool as a cucumber.

One of the last times I can remember getting truly upset––like really, really angry––is when our cat, Señor Pickles, knocked one of my favorite pieces of ceramic off a shelf, shattering the top part.

Señor Pickles is highly skilled at knowing which things are most special to me (ceramics, jewelry, etc.) and finding a way to knock them on the floor whenever he’s feeling moody, which is pretty much always.

Truth is, I was devastated. I’m kind of obsessed with my ceramics collection, and each piece holds special memories of the places I’ve visited in Mexico and the people I’ve traveled with.

I might have even cried a little when this happened, which is why it seems appropriate to kick off a new series on this blog with a post on Colectivo 1050°, a design collective from Oaxaca that makes some of the most beautiful ceramics I’ve ever seen.

They describe themselves as a group of designers, artists and artisans working together to make high-quality, unique and functional products. Colectivo 1050º is the commercial branch of a non-profit that offers services to potters and pottery communities in Oaxaca in order to support the development of their craft.

I first came across their work while eating at Café Zena in San Miguel Chapultepec. The restaurant uses their white cups and bowls to serve food; I thought they were amazing and asked where they got them. A few months later I took a trip to Oaxaca and visited the Colectivo 1050˚ studio at Hub Oaxaca.

Often, Colectivo 1050˚ takes traditional styles and techniques and updates them with a modern touch––maybe a more elegant shape or an unusual glaze. They describe their design as “conscious”––their products are lead-free, and they seek to minimize the environmental impact of the production process.

Check out their work below (all photos via the 1050° website or their Facebook page).

From San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca.

Mezcaleros are glasses used to drink mezcal. I love this elegant take on them!

From San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca.


Tea/coffee cups made from black clay

A family of pig cups, bowls and jugs made with red clay from San Marcos Tlapazola, Oaxaca

Red clay frying pan from San Marcos Tlapazola

These black-clay wall tiles from San Bartolo Coyotepec would look incredible in a kitchen or bathroom.

For further reading check out the book “Barro y fuego: El arte de la alfarería en Oaxaca“. It takes you through the many types of Mexican ceramics and the styles of each region, and the photos are gorgeous.