The creative power duo behind Palo Santo have recently launched an online shop, offering its handselected core collection of dinnerware that fuses Mexican artisanal heritage with contemporary design.
Palo Santo Barro Taxah Collection. PHOTO COURTESY OF PALO SANTO
When Mariana Narváez and Concetta Bondi met while working together in Phoenix, they instantly connected. Both inspired by travel and sharing a passion for culture and design, they spent years traveling together throughout Mexico, exploring, learning and collecting along the way. “We were captivated by the beauty of the country’s raw materials (including natural stone, barro/clay and volcanic stone, among others) as well as its artisanal heritage, with many of these traditions having existed since pre-Hispanic times,” recalls Narváez. “Initially, we began searching for special pieces for our own homes that would encapsulate the experiences and memories we had made together. These small treasures highlight the natural beauty of the raw materials as well as the perseverance of the communities that have ensured the survival of their ancestral traditions. We are particularly drawn to the nexus or fusion between ancestral and contemporary—the new and the old—reflecting a new wave in Mexican design. This movement is mainly fueled by young creative collectives and artisan groups and is something that we felt had not been represented outside Mexico, especially in the Southwest. Wanting to showcase this, we decided to launch our own brand, Palo Santo, in 2021.”
Palo Santo founders Concetta Bondi and Mariana Narváez. PHOTO COURTESY OF PALO SANTO
Since then, Narváez, an artist and corporate finance professional turned entrepreneur, has relocated to Monterrey, Mexico; and Bondi, a university professor and design enthusiast, continues to reside in Scottsdale. Together founding Palo Santo (palosanto-decor.com, @palosanto.decor), they specialize in elevating everyday rituals with their curated collection of dinnerware that combines original, limited-production designs with handselected pieces sourced from all around Mexico. Both utilitarian and decorative, each object is a usable piece of art, showcasing thousands of years of Mexican artisanal heritage fused with contemporary design.
Barro Kabil Collection. PHOTO COURTESY OF PALO SANTO
“We have always been believers that home is a sacred space and should be filled with pieces that speak to the soul,” says Bondi. “We believe in the beauty of simplicity, slow design and conscious consumerism. By partnering directly with artisans, we offer our clients a bespoke experience from design to delivery while supporting these microcommunities and the continuation of their traditions.”
Black Onyx barro dinnerware. PHOTO COURTESY OF PALO SANTO
Online shoppers will find a thoughtful, curated selection of the duo’s favorite pieces. “Our core collection is centered on three main organic materials: clay, stone and wool, spanning dinnerware, decorative objects and textiles. The pieces represent techniques and natural materials native to the regions of Oaxaca, Mexico City and Tulum, respectively,” explains Narváez. “Each piece has been handcrafted from start to finish in a family-owned, small-batch studio or taller in Mexico and takes from 20 days to 15 weeks to complete. Our artisans are true artists with a passion for their craft.” In addition to purchasing the collection online, shoppers can get an overview of the creation process and, of course, the makers, plus a lookbook section featuring design tips and inspiration.
“After having worked with designers and hospitality groups on larger projects, we wanted to introduce a handselected core collection for those looking to bring soulful pieces into their own homes,” says Bondi. “Each piece reflects the Palo Santo aesthetic and is not only beautiful, but is multifunctional and of heirloom quality. We drew upon our own struggles furnishing our homes and having difficulty finding unique, high-quality staple pieces that were not massively produced or found in big-box stores. The result is a curated, cohesive collection of pieces that can stand alone or be seamlessly paired with others to create a calming aesthetic.”