United by Design

In Mexico City, a Design Scholar and His Daughters Create Timeless Furniture

An orange seat, two side tables and a sconce by Loyzaga Studio in the firm's showroom

The confluence of cultures in Mexico City spans millennia. Spanish baroque cathedrals and palaces are built atop Tenochtitlan, the ancient Aztec capital. In the fashionable Colonia Roma section, the Beaux-Arts vogue is evident in neoclassical architecture on a grid of avenues echoing Haussmann’s Parisian plan. 

Perhaps no one knows this better than Jorge Loyzaga. It was within this context, more than half a century ago, that he launched his architecture firm, Loyzaga Studio. Ever since, he has devoted his life to the study and practice of architecture, interior design and historical restoration, and in 2019 his firm introduced a line of furniture and decorative objects developed with the same scholarly rigor.

Sophia Alexandra, Jorge and Fernanda Loyzaga in their Mexico City showroom
Jorge Loyzaga, center, founded his Mexico City architecture and interiors firm, Loyzaga Studio, in 1969. His twin daughters — Sophia Alexandra Loyzaga, left, and Fernanda Loyzaga — have joined him in the business, which now includes a line of contemporary furniture. Top: A corner of the studio’s showroom is decorated with, from left, Loyzaga’s stone side table, fringed seat, bronze wall lantern and marble-topped side table. The bronze gingko-leaf lamps are vintage.

Following in his footsteps, his twin daughters, Sophia Alexandra Loyzaga and Fernanda Loyzaga, have joined him in the business. Although Jorge remains the head of the studio, Sophia and Fernanda now carry the baton. “I was immersed and instructed in architectural history, decorative arts and interior design from the earliest time I can remember,” says Sophia, the firm’s CEO. “Fernanda studied architecture and continues my father’s tradition.”

Greeting a visitor in front of the studio’s headquarters, in Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec, Sophia, clad in a black sheath dress, projects a cosmopolitan air. Her father and sister oversee the architectural and interior design projects while she is in charge of the furniture collections, now available through 1stDibs

The entrance to Loyzaga Studio
Visitors enter the firm’s headquarters, in the city’s San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood, through a corridor that leads to a sunny courtyard.

The building’s industrial-looking exterior belies the nearly monastic calm of the courtyard inside. Entering from the street transports visitors to another world, a magic trick revealing sun-dappled paving stones and a white-washed three-story neoclassical edifice. Sophia leads the way through the reception area, the sample room, the library and Jorge’s office. “There are maybe thirty thousand books throughout the studio,” she estimates. “My father says there are secrets in these books.” An atmosphere of erudition pervades the space. “Scholars come to the studio to research history, architecture and art,” she adds. 

“This framed letter from [architect] Tadao Ando suggests a building designed by my father deserves to be a World Cultural Heritage site,” she notes. The high praise is perhaps unsurprising for a polymath whose CV includes the interior decoration of the city’s Chapultepec Castle, the restoration of the altar of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, countless other historical restoration and residential projects throughout the world and collaborations with celebrated interior designers Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and Christian Liaigre

The Loyzaga Jazz table in the firm's showroom
Loyzaga’s Vie d’Or furniture collection, which includes the three-tiered Jazz table and marble Ruhlmann ashtrays, is influenced by the Art Deco style of the 1920s and ’30s.

The second floor is a hive of activity, with architects and designers busy drafting. “A team of about twenty works with us,” Sophia says. More books line the walls up to the third-floor showroom, a long, airy gallery of classical proportions. 

A framed drawing for a residential commission of a 100-foot-long vaulted ceiling in the Mudéjar, or Hispano-Arab, style is a showstopper. “Every piece was hand carved and installed — nothing we do is prefabricated,” she explains. “We can customize anything for a client request. But in general, I want clean lines for the Vie d’Or collection.”

Vie d’Or is Loyzaga’s third furniture collection, on display in the expansive showroom. Released in 2021, it riffs on the glamorous Art Deco style of the 1920s and ’30s (earlier collections were inspired by the city of Florence and Paris’s Place Vendôme). “Good proportions are based on nature,” Sophia declares. “These pieces are timeless and work in a variety of settings.” 

A standing lamp, graceful as a sapling, seems to nod in agreement alongside a marble-mosaic-top table whose geometric patterns hint at the golden section. 

The pieces transmute the restrained, biomorphic lines of Art Deco. A side table made of ebony inlaid with bronze invites touch. “There is an attention to detail and integrity of craftsmanship,” Sophia says. “Loyzaga furniture suggests a lifestyle, a sensibility, a joie de vivre.”

Introspective sat down with Sophia to talk about the inspiration behind the collections, their meticulous craftsmanship and her indispensable trick for getting things right the first time.

The Vendôme bar cart in the Loyzaga showroom
With its balanced proportions, fine materials and sense of gracious hospitality, the Vendôme bar cart typifies Loyzaga’s furniture designs, says Sophia. It’s complemented by the studio’s Chinese Chippendale–style mirror, which is handcrafted from wood and gold leaf.

Is there a piece on 1stDibs that exemplifies the Loyzaga philosophy?

The Vendôme bar cart. Made with bronze, one of the materials we use most, it also has the aged mirror we often use in architectural projects and leather on the handles. The combination of materials is important to our work, and like every piece, it’s handmade by our artisans. 

We love the aesthetic of this cart, which was designed by Jorge and Fernanda. It elevates the space in which it is placed. Strong and elegant, with good proportions, it suggests the art of receiving, enjoying life, gathering with people you love.

A wall unit in the Loyzaga showroom with shelves displaying books, hand-painted lampshades, marble ashtrays  and other decorative objects
Shelves in the showroom display colorful hand-painted lampshades, including one with green vines and pink flowers from the studio’s Florence collection. The bottom shelf holds the Vie d’Or collection’s Claridges box, an homage to the Marion Dorn–designed carpet that used to grace the floor of the London hotel.

Can you describe the creative process, selection of materials and craftsmanship involved in creating the final product?

Jorge and Fernanda design the pieces, usually inspired by an architectural style, work of art or period. For example, our marble tabletops are inspired by floors in Venice’s Palazzo Grassi

First comes the inspiration, then the design, followed by drawings rendered by the artists. After that, an artisan makes a one-to-one-scale drawing, regardless of the size of the piece. Whether it’s of an enormous entrance door or a little box, the drawing must be made so we can correct the way the materials fit together and are assembled. It is a key process in determining changes in proportion or to the design itself and a lot more efficient than correcting the piece after it is produced.

Each piece is made hand in hand with the artisans, led by a master craftsperson. Our first contact is always with the maestro, who’s the most knowledgeable about working with fine materials. We have worked with several maestros and their teams over generations. Craft is passed from generation to generation.

Your Vie d’Or collection echoes an Art Deco sensibility. How does that relate to Loyzaga style?

We designed the collection to celebrate the combination of elements that created Art Deco. We found inspiration in nature, architecture, the Gilded Age and ancient cultures. Art Deco has many faces. We have designed several Art Deco houses, interiors and objects. It’s one of my favorite movements, and it was my idea to make the Vie d’Or collection.

We employ woods such as ebony and mahogany, as well as colorful marbles and inlays in bronze. Each piece was designed with utmost attention to detail and executed by Mexican artisans known for their superb craftsmanship.

Sophia and Fernanda Loyzaga in the doorway leading to the terrace outside their third-floor showroom
The sisters pause in the doorway between the showroom and the adjoining terrace, which is furnished with their oak-and-marble Florence side table.

Much of your work is inspired by classical design and its reinterpretation. Is there a particular period or style that embodies your idea of perfection?

The eighteenth century is especially interesting, because during that period, architecture flourished, and the great cities — Paris, London and Mexico City, among others — were created. Also, the second half of the nineteenth century, with the Beaux-Arts movement, because of the novelty, freedom, imagination and possibilities for design.

Jorge trained in architecture and the restoration of historical monuments and has the knowledge and ability to design in any period. He is the basis of Loyzaga Studio. Classical design is not just an inspiration. It is our core value.

Sophia Loyzaga’s Talking Points

Oak side table with marble top and brass inlay, new
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Oak side table with marble top and brass inlay, new

The marble and bronze work on this piece is amazing, and its geometrical style works in contemporary or classic interiors. It’s available in two different designs.”

Side table in oak veneer and pink poui, new
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Side table in oak veneer and pink poui, new

This elegant table is a favorite among our modernist clients. The way the wood is assembled is complex yet clean. Great for books or collections of any kind.”  

Floor lamp in nickel-plated brass with embroidered shade, new
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Floor lamp in nickel-plated brass with embroidered shade, new

This is a perfect lamp for a sophisticated living room or reading nook. Nothing more chic than reading under this lamp.”

Oak table with ebony veneer and bronze inlay, new
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Oak table with ebony veneer and bronze inlay, new

This table is very versatile — as a side table, a nightstand, a hall table — and the bronze inlay is superb. It takes us a lot of time to achieve this look.”

Oak cabinet with bronze hardware, new
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Oak cabinet with bronze hardware, new

A favorite piece. This cabinet livens up any room and can be used to store practically anything — it can be a bar or a library.”

Box with ebony veneer and springwood and bronze inlay, new
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Box with ebony veneer and springwood and bronze inlay, new

This box holds a dear place in our hearts because it’s inspired by the Marion Dorn–designed carpet from Claridge’s, our favorite hotel in London. Although this pattern isn’t on the floor anymore, we wanted to honor it with this box. You can store jewelry or cigars in it or just use it to decorate any space.”

Hand-carved ashtray in Rosso Francia marble, new
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Hand-carved ashtray in Rosso Francia marble, new

Our ashtrays are not just for smoking. You can use them for keys, coins, jewelry and more. A coffee table instantly looks cool with one of these pieces on it. They come in a variety of marbles, and you can mix and match them to suit any interior.”

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