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Centro University

Existe una gran y compleja tradición que se traduce en una enorme actualidad. Moverse entre distintas realidades urbanas es como estar en mundos distintos; esto hace de la ciudad de México un gran laboratorio del diseño. El estudio del diseño en México te pone en medio de una de los laboratorios más completos y complejos.

—Kirsten Scheuch

Design is about getting to destinations and about experiencing diverse ways of life. The Centro University was founded with the intention of exploring the ways in which design could promote open-mindedness and expose students to diverse Mexican and global design practices.

Fotografía: cortesía CENTRO
Fotografía: cortesía CENTRO

“What does it mean for a student of design to study in Mexico city?” asks Kerstin Scheuch, the founder and director of Centro. Centro University began as a way to answer Scheuch’s dilemma of reconciling Mexican identity with the design profession. Students at the institution are given access to traditional design pedagogy that focuses on products and services, while also being encouraged to explore design solutions to social concerns in order to develop a awareness regarding the impacts of their designs.1 In this lens, the scope of design is not just about the beauty and aesthetics of an object, but also about designing that object according to an urban context where climate, politics, citizens as well as social conditions and insecurity must be considered.2

Cities, especially those of Mexico City’s magnitude, possess well ingrained traditions that are not typically incorporated into design. Additionally, the diversity in the demographic groups and built environment of Mexico City make it a complex laboratory for cultural developments; Centro thus attempts to strike a balance between traditional and forward-thinking design practices.

Fotografía: cortesía CENTRO
Fotografía: cortesía CENTRO

What has taken Centro so far up the ranks of Mexican design schools is, according to Scheuch, the hard work the faculty has put into the structure of the programs. In designing the syllabus, the school collaborated with the Art Center College of Design and fifteen individual creative specialists in order to align the program’s outcome with its aforementioned goals. The concept of specialization was widely considered by all participating creatives as an unfavourable approach to teaching. The school instead decided that cultivating well-rounded design professionals was more in tune with the needs of a megalopolis like Mexico City. Centro is constantly involved in research initiatives and analysis of social responsibilities and provides a holistic view on the professionalization of design fields.

Cuando se experimenta la ciudad se puede encontrar cierto orden en la tradición. Las características de la Ciudad de México son visualmente inspiradoras debido a que es un lugar de contrastes. Cada imagen es muy poderosa debido a la fortaleza de la individualidad. Se podría argumentar que la poca funcionalidad o disfuncionalidad es nuestra maldición, pero en realidad, puede que debido a esas fallas en la creación de modelo con el fin de generar homologación y hacer que el sistema funcione, logramos preservar aquellos rasgos que nos hacen únicos. CENTRO exalta dicha originalidad, es un lugar que la fomenta y la asume.

  1. Kerstin Scheuch, Director of CENTRO, interview, 2017
  2. Ibid