Utilitario Mexicano uses two words to describe its approach: util sólamente, useful only. What began as an unexpected opportunity—to settle a debt for design work, creative couple Enrique Arellano and Libia Moreno were offered a pop-up space—has turned into a passion project.

Enrique, a graphic designer, and Libia, a textile designer, had moved to Mexico City from Colombia, and fallen in love with the everyday objects at local markets. And so, for their overnight emporium, they decided to become “street curators” and showcase their favorites: things like enamelware mugs, aluminum funnels, stove sandwich toasters, and rose-colored lightbulbs, all made in Mexico.

That was five years ago. Utilitario Mexicano is now a collection of 1,000-plus items, and both a Mexico City and online hit. It’s where we currently can’t stop browsing—with thanks to designer Cheryl Katz for introducing us. And has earned a spot on our shortlist of favorite shops for everyday essentials (scroll to the end for some of UM’s compadres).

Photography by Khaled Aboumrad unless noted, courtesy of Utilitario Mexicano (@utilitariomexicano).

Enrique Arellano and Libia Moreno keep shop in Mexico City&#8
Above: Enrique Arellano and Libia Moreno keep shop in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez in a much bigger location than their original outpost. They’re on the ground floor of an Art Deco apartment building with a canopy of plants overhead.
The space had been half demolished and &#8
Above: The space had been half demolished and “dark in all senses,” says Libia. Exhumed metal castoffs are now used for display: “recycling became an organic part of the project.” Striped cotton Kitchen Towels are $9.54,  Cotton Aprons are $44.20, and Guerrero Hats are $12.
Mexicano Utilitario is an archive of simple, useful wares many of which Enrique and Libia classify as &#8
Above: Mexicano Utilitario is an archive of simple, useful wares many of which Enrique and Libia classify as “objects in danger of extinction.” They continue to buy from local markets—La Merced and Jamaica are their Mexico City favorites—and they’ve also begun working with local factories directly.

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