Not long ago, while putting the final touches on the expansion of Dos Casas, his standout modernist-meets-traditional hotel in San Miguel de Allende, Alberto Laposse solved a problem in his own inimitable way. In order to offer parking to his guests, he built a lot very close to the hotel. But, as he puts it, “I decided it would be a shame to have a space in the center of town only for parking, so I designed it in a way that it could also be used for art events.”
Those who know Laposse will not be surprised by the versatility of his thinking. This is a man who stemmed from generations of Italian bakers and who studied the fine art of making pastries in Paris while also getting one degree in architecture and another in finance and management. At 24, along with his brothers, he inherited his father’s baking business and became its general manager, taking the company public and growing it to more than 2,000 people, before selling it at the age of 40.
Emerging from the business world, Laposse looked inward. “Something that always interested me greatly is human and spiritual growth,” he says. “So after we sold the company I took personal development seminars in India and New York and then spent four years helping people enrich their lives.” This included a period in which he taught meditation in his new home of Mexico City, which itself was not far from his weekend house in San Miguel de Allende.
That house, where he’d vacation with his two children, would become Dos Casas. “I transformed it into a B&B and then a boutique hotel,” he notes, before eventually buying adjacent properties and expanding it further. That expansion played into Laposse’s strength as an architect. “The house is built on thick walls from the 18th century, which became a real challenge when unifying the individual townhouses.”
But it was his skills as a designer that truly made Dos Casas so unique. “San Miguel is a colonial site and people are used to doing things in a traditional way,” he explains. “But I have a real passion for early 20th-century design—works by Le Corbusier and Serge Mouille—and I decided that there was a good connection between modern design and the colonial years. Through those modernist pieces, I wanted to create an atmosphere that brings together diverse cultures, refinement, and tradition. I strived to create a hotel that expresses itself as a house.”
Incredibly, Laposse is equally busy with other projects, including a hotel “designed by architects for architects,” a bread atelier where “we invite people into the kitchen to see how we make our goods,” a bakery, a restaurant, and a 2.5-hectare organic farm.
Keeping a strong, guiding hand on so many enterprises can be hectic. Perhaps this explains why in a rare moment of repose, the man who finds spiritual reward through experience says with a smile, “I miss baking. I am dying to put on an apron again!”