Andrea and Ana Cristina have been in their new studio for a month now. North of Mérida, in the middle of Montes de Amé, their office and soon-to-be showroom begins to take shape.
“Our idea is to feature our furniture all over,” says Cristina. “We already have our baskets here, but our lamps and wooden pieces should arrive soon. We want the backyard to be fully decked with our designs, too.”
The young pair met during college, and have spent the past four years building their reputation in the world of design. Andrea studied interior design and Ana Cristina architecture. After some time working on their own, they decided to join forces.
“We realized many clients wanted our take on furniture and design,” says Ana Cristina, “and it made sense with the strengths we both bring to the table. Our artisanal pieces complement our architectural projects, and more clients are excited to bring them together.”
Elán — an anagram of elegance and the starting syllable of their names — is their design firm. They have divided it into two separate branches, architecture and decor.
Andrea thinks that their combined styles make sense in the development of ready-to-use homes.
“Most of our clients are foreigners,” says Andrea, “and they are usually looking for the Yucatecan aesthetic — bare stone, chukum, pasta tiles. They need someone who understands those elements and that can translate them into their personal style. We’re thrilled that they trust us with that work.”
Their projects are concentrated in downtown Mérida, and north of the state, at Yucatecan beaches. Andrea and Ana say that they are getting familiar with the building process, including the necessary permits, collaboration with constructors, and even design decisions requested by customers.
“We often become personal shoppers to our clients,” says Andrea. “And it’s one of the things we enjoy the most. Curating and finding the right piece for each space. And we love bringing our furniture in when the project calls for it.”
Their furniture line started in late 2020, and for the past couple of months, they have worked with communities and artisans developing their designs — handmade pieces intended to function in contemporary Yucatecan homes.
As the young designers begin their trajectory in the architectural world, they are excited to find trust and opportunity in both clients and fellow developers.
“We think of it as a sign of trust,” says Andrea, “that we’re welcoming more customers from recommendations and that we’ve created strong alliances with constructors and developers. We want to continue growing and creating in this direction, polishing our style and highlighting Yucatán, our main source of inspiration.”