The Frank Kyle – Pepe Mendoza connection

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Interior designer, sculptor and artist Frank B. Kyle opened in the early 1950’s first in the Zona Rosa area, and then later in the south of Mexico City in the La Florida neighborhood his design and decorating studio Kyle de México, S.A. He created a whole range of modern and distinctively styled furniture pieces combined with elegant accessories for residential, office spaces and Hotel interiors, using innovative combinations of unique designs, new materials and superb craftsmanship.

When visiting his showrooms, Kyle´s clientele experienced an integrated interior design atmosphere: he combined his furniture pieces with whimsical lamps, a selection of screens, tapestries, batiks, exotic oriental accessories, etc. Some of his furniture lines would include enamel accents or capricious bronze ornamentation, which were designed by Kyle and commissioned to well-known metal workshops like Pepe Mendoza´s or Los Castillo, among others.

José Mendoza manufactured many of Frank Kyle´s designs, including lamps, decorative objects and bronze fittings. Below I have included a small selection of Frank Kyle designed furniture pieces with exquisite metalwork manufactured by the Mendoza foundry, which was located in the street República del Salvador, Mexico City:

Coffee table by Frank Kyle with brass ornaments from the Pepe Mendoza workshop

Frank Kyle Coffee Table with Pepe Mendoza hardware

Frank Kyle Credenza with metal fittings produced at the Pepe Mendoza foundry

Credenza from the Frank Kyle gallery with Pepe Mendoza pulls

As long as the largest hinge producers in Mexico during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s used to be FANAL or BIMEX, I wonder why galleries and museums, etc. have not come to the idea yet to attribute pieces of furniture to “Mr. Fanal” or to “Mr. Bimex”. As it happened with the hardware from important metal workshops like the Mendoza foundry or Los Castillo, that are usually stamped and this is most likely one of the reasons why much of Frank Kyle´s furniture pieces have mistakenly been attributed to Pepe Mendoza; or maybe it is the lazy and lousy intel of the above mentioned.

The funny thing is that the market price of a furniture piece attributed to Pepe Mendoza is much higher than a furniture piece attributed to Frank Kyle. So I urge the people in the business to now discover “designers” Mr. Fanal and Mr. Bimex and assign to them a higher price tag than to the previously mentioned designers and not to worry about scarcity of the product!

José Mendoza did not design or manufacture any wooden furniture pieces at his foundry, he produced however some magnificent tables in different sizes made in brass or bronze. I have included some samples to clearly differentiate the typical Pepe Mendoza DNA:

Coffee Table designed by Pepe Mendoza (ca. 1960)

Set of occasional tables by Pepe Mendoza (1960’s)

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved.

Mexican Modernism – Furniture Design in Mexico – Part # 7



6) Furniture manufactured by particular designers and Mexican furniture companies that have left us a legacy and should not be forgotten for their enriching contribution to Mexico’s Modernism Furniture Design History, like the Frank Kyle Gallery. Frank B. Kyle was an American sculptor and furniture designer from Minneapolis, though he mainly lived in California. Kyle moved to Mexico City in the early 1950’s and opened his gallery where he exhibited his furniture pieces and sculptures. Kyle´s furniture designs included elegant dining sets, chairs, tables, lamps and screens. One of his trademarks was the exceptional lacquer finish that he provided to some of his furniture lines… Below see some of Kyle de México most iconic furniture designs:

Pair of Kumoto Armchairs designed by Frank B. Kyle

The Muller’s Onix store, which was famous back in the 1960’s until the 1980’s for selling beautiful onyx decorative items and furniture, including small and large chess sets, sculptures, platters, bowls, plates and tables in different sizes. The store was located in Mexico City and owned by American Guy Muller, who was also known as “Mr. Onyx”. His beautifully handcrafted Onyx Tables are unique; you may still find them sometimes at Mexico City’s flea markets. A significant number of Muller´s tables and sculptures were sold to the US and Canada. Lately I have seen many Muller´s Onix coffee and side tables erroneously attributed to Arturo Pani.

Founded in 1909 in the northern city of Monterrey, Nuevo León, the Compañía Manufacturera de Muebles La Malinche, S.A. was one of the pioneering furniture manufacturers in Mexico. “La Malinche” specialized in the production of rocking chairs and chairs in all kinds of woods (pine, mahogany, elm, cedar and beech). Their chairs were used almost at every Monterrey household and public spaces like schools, restaurants, hotels, canteens, etc. The company also produced complete living room sets, all sorts of cabinets, coffee tables, bedroom sets, dining rooms, etc. and was well-known for its good quality and high manufacturing standards. Unfortunately, the factory closed its doors in the early 1970’s. Their furniture designs are very popular among collectors all over Mexico.


…to be continued in part # 8

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved.