Words Allison Reiber DiLiegro Date 16 January 2023
The visionaries behind MUSA—the Modern Utopian Society of Adventurers—are Andrés Saavedra and Tara Medina, life and business partners who have spent a decade creating spaces and experiences through their lifestyle platform, LOOT.
With locations in Zihuatanejo and Mexico City, LOOT builds community through cultural events, contemporary retail spaces, cafes, and art galleries. And now, the pair sees MUSA as their next frontier. “MUSA is a beautiful evolution of Andrés’ lifetime of design development, our experiences in community-building through LOOT, and our understanding that hospitality makes spaces come alive,” Medina tells us.
Saavedra and his branding and design studio, ASD, oversaw the architectural plan and the interior design of the project, including the 13-room Hotelito. Inside, a tropical-modernist aesthetic reigns, blending Mexican modernism and an organic, Wabi-sabi approach. Public spaces feature natural materials, organic textures, and locally sourced, handmade details.
Black terrazzo floors were made onsite using stone and granite found on the land, custom tiles and mosaics were crafted by Oaxaca’s Tata Mosaicos, and bespoke Parota and palm wood furnishings were built by local carpenters and makers. Artworks from MUSA’s artist-in-residence program and permanent art collection, featuring such artists as Oso Parado, Brian Eno, Ryan Estep, and Linnea Goransson, decorate walls in guestrooms and public spaces.
Hotelito can be considered a microcosm of life in the community. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of all MUSA has to offer, including a mile of virgin beaches, adventure toys for land and sea exploration, social activities, talks, and art activations that blend live installations with music and experiences. Media labs, music studios, and workshop spaces are also in the works. The pragmatic well-being program includes meditation and yoga sessions, a fitness center, spa treatments, and more. A wildlife reserve is home to roaming peacocks, horses, ducks, chickens, and sea turtles. And, of course, the iconic Loma Bonita wave laps at the shore, beckoning surfers.
The team has taken great care to protect the land, building spaces into the existing landscape with minimal impact on the land and its ecosystems. Hotelito is net neutral on its power consumption and features rooftop gardens that cool the spaces.
Rainwater is harvested, biomass is repurposed as mulch, and an artificial reef helps generate healthy aquatic habitats. “When we look back at photos in a few years, we want to see that we’ve made it greener and cleaner, with more trees and more birds,” Saavedra tells us. “That will feel like a success.”