Interview with Inca Hernandez, Mexico

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Inca Hernandez

Inca’s work with internationally renowned architects allows her to express herself through great designs and the improvement in quality of life of the occupants.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Inca Hernandez

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I’m an Architect graduated from the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira (UNET) in Venezuela. I worked independently in different real estate, housing and cultural development projects in my native country. In 2015, I moved to Mexico, to work with BAAQ’, an emerging architecture firm, where I had the opportunity to work with world-renowned Architects such as Tadao Ando (Pritzker, 1995) and Alvaro Siza (Pritzker, 1992) in different projects in Oaxaca for Casa Wabi’s foundation. I had also worked in new real estate developments and restoration projects in Mexico City and recently started with my own firm.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I grew up in a creative environment, both of my parents are engineers and my father also a poet. They encourage me to explore different types of art. Therefore, architecture appears to me as the middle point between science and art.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

With my firm I develop research, art direction and architecture projects in Mexico, Venezuela, Italy and Colombia.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is the purest form that human beings have to express themselves. Also, I believe as Philip Johnson said design, architecture design in particular, is the purest form to contain, cuddles, exalt or stimulate persons.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I have dabbled in different types of design from sculpture and painting all through architecture. I appreciate all scales of design as a way to get involved in the everyday life of people. However, my favorite is architecture design. For me it’s the art where we inhabit and have the possibility of improving the life quality of their occupants.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

As Vitruvius established, I believe good design is grounded in three principles: beauty, functionality and durability. But in the contemporary world I think one more principle should be added: sustainability, as a form of committing ourselves to the future of our planet.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

I don’t identify my work with a specific style, I believe architecture should respond to the site where it’s placed. Therefore, my designs are related to the immediate context of the building, I like to understand the idiosyncrasy of the place and response to the people, the materiality and bioclimatic factors.

8Tell us about your design process.

The most important thing is to know the site: the people, the social dynamics that take place there, live the space and the neighborhood in order to understand the future inhabitants of the building. For this reason, the first thing I do when I start a new project is to live in the space, its surroundings, the natural landscape in order to understand the future inhabitants of the building. Once I figure out the site I work with paper and watercolors, the hand drawing allows me to activate my mind and explore different ideas.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?


I came from a small town in Venezuela, Socopó. There I learn a lot of things: to care about the environment, to value our origins and to work hard. Being a place with so much traditions, it has had a great impact on me.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Architecture it’s a collective process, the award is a recognition for all the people involved in this project: my team work, collaborators, the local community and the actual inhabitants of the building. We are honored to have been awarded in 2020 MUSE Design Awards.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Mar Mediterráneo 34 is my first solo project, as a young architect I consider the MUSE Design Awards it’s the perfect platform to present my project with a worldwide audience. I knew about them through photographer Joao Morgado, dear collaborator.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

There were two big challenges in the project. First recover the historical building, almost in ruins, in order to give it a second life that allows a new generation to inhabit it. And second, understand and connect with the nearby residents. I want the community to acknowledge the heritage that exists in their area as a form to give value to the Magic Barrio de Tacuba.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Receiving this award is a great opportunity to promote my work to a wider audience. But more important is the recognition for the site and the community. I hope this honor will bring acknowledgement to the immense cultural heritage of el Barrio de Tacuba.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about the industry?

Architecture, industrial design and photography.

15What makes your country specifically unique in the design industry?

Currently in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile it’s an interesting architecture scene, because regulations give flexibility to design. Also, the design industry has a large legacy of great architecture like the work of Luis Barragan, Carlos Ruiz Villanueva and Oscar Niemeyer has been recovered and is a reference in contemporary architecture.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I believe technology, social networks and the over linked world will be the decisive factor in this industry. On one hand, in the possibility of collaborating with people anywhere in the world and on the other hand in the huge commitment we will have to absorb for the future generations. Technology, communication and sustainability will mark the future of design.

17 If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Work hard, persevere and establish connections through your work.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Explore the more artistic way of your practice, get back to the basics to pencil and paper. Then learn and take advantage of the design technologies.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

When I design, my creative process is linked to the music. I enjoy listening to music, dancing and drawing as a form to unleash my creativity.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

In my personal life my parents are a great inspiration, they are something out of the ordinary: engineers and my father, also a poet, motivate me to explore my artistic side.

In the architecture realm, are profoundly inspired by the work, writings and sensibility of Peter Zumthor.

Finally, the music of Florence Welch, the vocalist of Florence and the machine, energize and inspire me to live my life with intensity.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I believe you have to find a way of living life in a unique and original way. Take all the opportunities to make wonderful things, explore, travel, create, imagine something better. All with lots of passion.

Winning Entries

Mar Mediterraneo 34 | 2020

Mar Mediterraneo 34 | MUSE Design Awards

Mexico City has an enormous cultural and architectural heritage protected in its “magical neighborhoods”, like Tacuba, which has undergone...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Inca Hernandez

Inca’s work with internationally renowned architects allows her to express herself through great designs and the improvement in quality of life of the occupants.