Beyond Borders


Though her various roles, Sarah Len champions multidisciplinary design world creatives from her home base of Mexico City

The Len Co. founder Sarah Len. Photo by Fabian Martinez.

Sarah Len keenly understands how careers in the art and design worlds can take nonlinear, surprisingly exciting paths. And since moving to Mexico City in 2020, she continues to hybridize her own professional trajectory. Trained as an architect, the former Bay Area resident focused on the business side of the design industry at firms such as Ken Fulk and AvroKO before establishing The Len Co. agency in 2016. When she began visiting Mexico City regularly in 2017, “I was seduced by the city and felt this was going to be a place that I could continue to grow and to learn—and also to contribute,” Len says. From her new home base, she continues to represent architecture and design creatives on the Len Co. roster while launching another incubator.

“I’ve centered my life around helping people discover creative talent and thinking about what’s another way we can shine that light and create a lens,” Len notes. So Materia, her most recent project, is a multipronged effort featuring an editorial platform, a carefully curated art and design collection available for sale via its website, and as of this summer, a flexible studio space for hosting experimental installations and events in CDMX’s Colonia San Rafael. Given Mexico City’s historical role as an international collaborative haven where you can find “multidisciplinary architects practicing art and fashion designers practicing sculpture,” the city seems to be having a particularly thrilling moment, and the time is right for Len’s latest venture. “I find you get more originality and it’s more interesting because they’re not operating from a playbook,” she adds. Following are Len’s insights into the selection of compelling Mexico-based artists and designers she and her team champion through MATERIA.

Limited edition Solsticio lamp by Héctor Esrawe. Photo courtesy of The Len Co.

HÉCTOR ESRAWE “He’s been called ‘Mexico’s Renaissance Man,’ and rightfully so. He brings a ton of context to his design in creating culture and environment. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable and informed creative, and also just has a ton of range and he touches every aspect of design.” (The Len Co. also represents Esrawe Studio.)

Brian Thoreen’s large hammered copper works. Photo courtesy of The Len Co.

BRIAN THOREEN “Along with Esrawe, Thoreen is also a co-founder of the nomadic MASA Galleria. He’s an artist and designer from Los Angeles and comes from a background in fabrication. He was mentored by some of the greats, like James Turrell. Brian is super sophisticated in his understanding of materiality. He’s using interesting materials you often don’t see in furniture design. There’s a lot of flexibility in his pieces.”

Volcanic Vessel by Tomás Díaz Cedeño of Disciplina Studio. Photographer by Luis Garva.

DISCIPLINA STUDIO Multidisciplinary practitioner Tomás Díaz Cedeño of Disciplina Studio works with a ceramics collective based in CDMX’s Colonia Buenos Aires. “He’s really exploring with clay, but he brings in things like obsidian and pyrite and materials that show themselves. There’s this kind of vulnerability and exposure to the way he crafts that he doesn’t try to hide. Tomás has variation in the colors and arrangements, but also this real commitment to keeping things looking straight from his hands. He’s committed to the exploration.”

Queen of Darkness vase with installation entitled Imagine a Multidimensional Spider Web by Alejandro García Contreras.
Photo courtesy of The Len.

The Chiapas-raised, Guadalajara- based ceramic artist creates intensely personal, narrative-based instal- lations. “His ceramics are insane. Each one of them is an entire conversation. Alejandro is taking all these interesting points of reference and influence and building them into these miniature worlds. I’ve been able to get to know him and understand what’s coming through in each of his pieces. There’s a lot of layers to them.”

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