Inside Casa Hormiga: Finding Inner Peace Through Wabi-Sabi

August 26, 2022
Emily Wordsworth

With a vision to create a sanctuary for healing and a deeper connection with self, Casa Hormiga is as much a place for journeying inwards as it is outwards. Nestled away from the crowds in Bacalar, Mexico, the wabi-sabi interior design of the property reflects higher concepts of self-love: the beauty of imperfection.

Not long after commencing this project, the 2020 pandemic hit and the entire world was forced to come to a pause. During this time, the team had a unique opportunity to see the project in a new light. They knew when life got back to normal, their focus needed to be deeply rooted in greenery and the tranquillity of the outdoors.

The property owners, Sofia and Jose, were heavily inspired on a visit to Morocco - they became particularly smitten with the use of high walls, aged doors, handcrafted detailing and a balance between luxury and simplicity. Casa Hormiga was fashioned together with familiar elements seen in Spanish colonial architecture with thick stucco finished walls, exposed wooden support beams, and airy central courtyards brimming with nature and minimal decorative items.

The utmost attention to the dense jungle surrounding the property and the town of Bacalar became an integral part of Casa Hormiga’s design. The Bacalar jungle is more than just a pretty sight. It represents both the beauty and hardships that life brings.

Within its walls, you’ll find a curated selection of artisanal objects that each celebrate their own personalities. Such handcrafted items are strong reminders of slow living and observing a more intentional way of life. Their entire concept is closely aligned with the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy, which perfectly encapsulates Cara Hormiga’s mission — Allowing guests to be free of judgement and create better rituals for well-being.

In the same vein, the team worked with a handful of Mexican artisans who follow sustainable, fair trade practices; many of the rooms feature Guadalajara furniture, regional clay pottery, locally-sourced sustainable woods, Oaxaca weaving, traditional Mayan woodwork and reclaimed woodworks sourced from local antiquarians. In fact, much of the property utilises antique furniture, doors, and objects throughout, bringing the beautiful spirit of aged, wabi-sabi furniture into the space. The presence of these items makes no small impact. Their naturally aged aesthetic brings the wabi-sabi patina to life. It is a staunch reminder that beauty can be found at any given moment in time.

“Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry.” ― Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers