Can art help you feel safe? Is there a universal idea of comfort and what best communicates it? How to feel connected to the world still fragmented by a pandemic? A private paradise is the new normal for the global business elite. New York has set a historic record for luxury property sales. Demand for townhouses in London is “the strongest in years”. Dubai recorded its most expensive transactions since 2015. Globally, wealth invested in luxury real estate increased by 79% in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic data. Mexico has always had a special appeal to American buyers because of its proximity, climate and culture. I first reported on Punta Mita in 2018. Since then, the private peninsula has welcomed new rental properties and nearby Punta de Mita has welcomed many new resorts. Given the severe restrictions imposed by international lockdowns, people want to feel at home in the world more than ever. In response, interior design has become a powerful art form for connecting cultures for the truly globalized audience of digital nomads and travel-savvy expats.
I have forged links with interior designers responsible for bringing the coveted decor I do not know what to two properties that are currently attracting interest in the local resort and residential market. David Hall and Ashley Gillen of Paul Duesing Partners are the talented duo behind the look and feel of Susurros del Corazón, the newest member of the Auberge Resorts family. Located opposite the volcanic islands of Marietas, the property includes hotel suites and residences with award-winning culinary and spa options. Yezmin Hadad of Hadad Interiorismo is the designer of El Surf Club, the “instantly legendary” spot in Punta Mita frequented by the crowd of professional surfers and admirers of this extreme sport. It’s hard to keep up with a desire for authenticity and high expectations for quality gear, as well as the “good vibes only” ethos that people have been missing lately. These professionals manage to remove it seamlessly. What makes a home at the end of the world feel like the heart of cosmopolitan abundance?
How can global interior design trends manifest themselves in site-specific designs?
Hadad: The biggest interior design trend right now is being outdoors! [Laughs] We need to find a way to merge living and public spaces with nature. For example, what better place for a giant sofa than in the shade of a beautiful tree with a view of the ocean? We all love to feel wood, the textures of natural materials, to experience them in their purest form. This desire for a organic the sentiment had a great impact on the project. Street art is a very popular means of expression these days. We have created our own palm tree wall graffiti that represents the rich flora of the surrounding Sierra Huichola. This staple of the urban environment so familiar to our customers has been updated in a tropical interpretation.
Hall & Gillen: We embraced the trend toward greater simplicity and rekindled the appreciation for natural, handmade, and raw materials. Since its creation, this has been the development objective of Susurros del Corazón. We are happy to see it more widely realized and become a pioneer for the region.
How to align inspiration with the atmosphere of the place and the expectations of buyers?
Hall & Gillen: The original inspiration behind Susurros del Corazón was the concept of “raw” in various forms depending on the local nature. In architecture, we used native natural and whitewashed wood, textured stone contrasting with bronze iron finishes and hand painted tiles. In Home Furnishings, we focused on great fabric textures and unique Mexican objects and artwork. The other idea was to keep a very “high-low” contrast to make something approachable quite elegant. For example, silver tones against raw wood or polished leather against textured linens. Appeals to many aesthetic sensibilities.
Hadad: The place was already magical. We just had to bring some fun and color into nature itself. People are always looking for an elegant and relaxed place. Color is a big game changer in your everyday mood. It has the power to make you feel vibrant and happy and that’s what you get when you enter The Surf Club. Texture is very important and with a sharp design we could bring out interesting patterns to play with light and shadow on the bar.
Given the boom in luxury construction, what attracted you to this particular project?
Hall & Gillen: Our company has been working in Mexico since we have been in business. We have a very deep relationship with the people here who are part of our daily lives. The Riviera Nayarit was an exciting opportunity to engage in a new place. We loved how close Susurros del Corazón was to the bustle of Puerto Vallarta, but how remote it felt once you walked through the gates of the property. You truly experience a unique ecosystem here!
Hadad: The Riviera Nayarit offers some of the most amazing aspects of Mexican hospitality. However, it also has a very personal connection for me. My uncle was one of the visionaries at the heart of this project. He believed in building sustainable places to set an example of a better Mexico that respects its most precious resource, nature. Thanks to Fernando Senderos Mestre, this vision has become Punta Mita, one of the most upscale luxury developments in Latin America. Working on this project gave me the chance to contribute to the legacy of great Mexicans who shared incredible ideas and incredible dreams for this beautiful region.
How did you engage with local culture and resources in Nayarit State and beyond?
Hadad: Our 20-year success is based on the human factor. Our human relationships are the most powerful tool that cannot be replaced by any CRM application. We work hard not only to create a beautiful space, but to create emotion. Therefore, we always try to involve local artisans! For this project, we were inspired by the Huicholes, one of the most important ethnic groups. The Wixarikas are known for their mysticism and craftsmanship. They create extraordinary pieces with threads and colored beads. We loved their clever use of color for the dining room pendant lights. No wonder he has become a natural focal point for the club.
Hall & Gillen: We drew heavily on the culture of many parts of Mexico to shape the story of this resort. We paid great attention to import as little as possible, so that the space is imbued with authenticity. From bathroom tiling to furniture, we have worked with Mexican manufacturers to develop bespoke pieces designed for the property. We traveled extensively to work closely with local artisans to achieve the final results. Often many tequilas are involved in the process! [Laughs] Each unique piece is accompanied by a story of friendship and true collaboration.
Which artists and artisans participated in the creation of this project?
Hall & Gillen: We pride ourselves on our highly curated collection. When it comes to artwork, we’ve taken the less is more approach. The architecture itself is bold and can convey a strong presence without particular support. Selected pieces specifically highlight Mexican heritage. We have worked with Oaxacan artists Adan Paredes, Jacobo and Maria Angeles, Itzel Sanchez and Omar Hernandez as well as Jane Maroni who is based in Punta Mita. We also worked with professionals from Galerias Arther and Terra Cu in Guadalajara and Choya Rose in San José del Cabo to source our bespoke furniture and accessories. Custom lighting and hardware come from Galerias Preciado and Teté, Arte, y Diseño in Tlaquepaque in the Jalisco region. Oh, and we display the famous Barro Negro ceramics from Oaxaca. We have favored authenticity and simplicity as guiding principles for each element of the property. This relates to the previously mentioned “raw” thinking. It is relevant both to the natural environment of the place and to the desires of today’s buyers.