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There is something mouth-wateringly yummy and creamily liquid going on in the interior of Cioccolato, a bakery boutique in Monterrey, Mexico. The designers aimed for a Willy Wonka factory feel of slight madness, and we think they’ve succeeded.
The new shop focuses on custom desserts and special events, and it is a specialized spin-off concept of the existing, fairly traditional Cioccolato pastry and cake brand.
The designers of the new concept are Savvy Studio Savvy-Studio.net of San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León, México. One of the main concerns of the design team was to ensure clear differentiation of the new concept, without confusing the brands current customers.
The gooey concept evokes cravings of sweet sugary treats and thick whipped cream, strong chocolate and colourful candies, feather-light macaroons and juicy cupcakes – anything sweet and happy and festive.
Our favourite is the white table with one leg formed by dripping something, perhaps jam or some other irresistible filling. Chocolate drips off shelves and the seats seem to be made of licorice and ice cream.
Savvy Studio was in charge of the entire rebranding concept, from visual identity to interior design and packaging. Savvy is a multi-disciplinary studio involved in industrial design, architecture, graphic design, marketing and communications. Tuija Seipell
Simple ideas meticulously executed make a big impact in Glocal Design Magazine’s trade show booth presented at the May 2011 Habitat Expo in Mexico City.
The 258 square-foot (24 square meter) exhibit was created by Mexico City-based ROW Studio, a partnership between Álvaro Hernández Félix, Nadia Hernández Félix, Alfonso Maldonado Ochoa.
The sponsor of the construction and material for the booth was Masisa Mexico, a leading manufacturer of MDF panels in Latin America. Masisa was looking to showcase the versatility of its 15mm DecoMDF Masisa panel, covered on both sides with a decorative foil in a wide range of colours and designs.
We love the way ROW’s creative team of Luis Larumbe and Daniel de Leon used fluid and undulating forms making the hard material seem pliable and inviting. We also love the use of colour, and the cocoon-like enclosure – all fitting qualities for a design magazine. - Tuija Seipell
Pencil Fair Stand
Grazia Magazine Pug Balloon Stunt
The stunning Sunset Chapel in Acapulco, Mexico, was completed only recently, but it has already gained much attention for its stark and arresting design by Esteban and Sebastián Suárez of Mexico City-based BNKR Arquitectura.
It is a memorial chapel that will eventually be surrounded by a "garden" of crypts. With its bare-concrete structure that appears eternal, and its slatted walls and glass cross that allow the light to perform its daily magic in the space, Sunset Chapel looks and behaves like a modern-day Stonehenge. Mysterious and stark, yet reassuring and calming; protective, yet part of the surrounding nature.
The elevated shape was partly dictated by an enormous boulder that already ruled the site, and by the wish to allow the spectacular view to be visible from within. At only 120 square meters in size, the chapel evokes a surprising sense of strength. - Tuija Seipell
It is not often that we see an extensive series of images depicting the visual and physical interpretations of a restaurant brand and we think: Wow. These are ALL great!
But that was the case with El Montero. It is a restaurant located in the city of Saltillo in the Mexican state of Coahuila, not far from the Texan border. The surrounding area is desert and the visual and culinary style of the restaurant reflect this.
The town itself is nicknamed both the Athens of Mexico (for its history and concentration of intellectuals) and the Detroit of Mexico for the automobile assembly plants of Mercedes Benz, General Motors and Chrysler. Seems odd that one city could be both an Athens and a Detroit, but that’s what we are told.
As always, we fall in love with dualities and juxtapositions. We like the combination of sophistication and aged materials, contemporary and historical, dark and light. One cannot miss the fantastic, custom-created chandelier consisting of more than 4 kilometers of chain.
Or the cactus forest of the roomy terrace. Or the great combination of an exposed old-stone wall with ornate gold detailing.
The branding and interior design of El Montero were developed by Anagrama, a multi-disciplinary creative agency located in San Pedro Garza García in the state of Nuevo León. - Tuija Seipell
Romita Comedor is a restaurant that is less than two years old yet it has the ambience of a well-loved, casual tradition.
The interior touches - the use of wood and tile, the wood furnishings, the many plants and various surface treatments - all seem to belong here, and they seem to have belonged for a long time. Nice vintage-chic patina that also looks fresh and modern – not easy to achieve.
The dining room is located in Mexico City, in the heart of Colonia Roma, at Avenida Álvaro Obregón 49.
The building dates back to early 1900s and its style was inspired by grand railway stations. It is also protected by the INBA (Instituta Nacional de Bellas Artes).
The massive windows, glass ceiling and a retractable awning all take full advantage of the station-style architecture, and let the light in for the benefit of the many plants.
The building’s current owner, Rodrig Espinoza, and his two partners, Marcela Lugo and Arturo, designed the restaurant with the idea in mind that it would become a gathering place that would attract not just the locals but visitors as well.
Romita Comedor is known for authentic Mexican cuisine, great cocktails at the two bars, and live entertainment by well-known DJs. The building also houses a design shop and a hair salon. - Tuija Seipell
Walls don’t often strike us as exciting, but in this office project for ON Headquarters, located west of Mexico City, we really do like the large surfaces. We also like the subtle, elegant lighting, and the subdued color scheme.
ON provides services to the oil and gas industry, so the designers at LSA Arquitectos and BLANCASMORAN (Imanol Legorreta Molina, Pablo Sepúlveda de Yturbe and Abel Blancas Morán) selected surface materials and textures that reflect the passing of time.
The boardroom exterior walls and the directors offices are covered in walnut veneer, the lobby walls and the customised assistants’ blocks in the concourse are of Iranian Travertine marble, and the interior walls of the boardroom are of wool fabric.
The floors in the lobby and concourse are covered with metal sheeting, and in the directors’ offices with oak.
Much of the furniture is custom-made, including the welcome desk that is made of metal sheeting and black Emperador marble. The chairs are desks are by VITRA and the lighting by Construlita, Delta Light and Tom Dixon.
The overall effect the designers have accomlished in this 780 square-meter (8,395 sq.ft) space is calm, opulent and restrained. - Tuija Seipell. (Images by Rafael Gamo)
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For someone born in 1977, Mexico-born and educated architect Manuel Cervantes Céspedes has scooped up his fair share of accolades. With his team at CC Arquitectos, he has completed both residential and commercial project that deserve attention.
One residential project in particular, El Mirador, located in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, and completed in 2013, has remained in our minds as an impeccable example of how to create elegant balance.
In this mountaintop residence, the architect and interior designers – as well as the owners – have resisted bravely the temptation to add just that annoying bit of attention-demanding “interest” - a contrasting dash of colour or a contemporary piece of furniture or art in a completely unrelated genre.
We admit that when we first saw the images way back then, we fell in love with the free-ranging horses. Then we admired the use of reclaimed railway ties as logs for the walls and then we were intrigued by the mirror-like pond at the entrance that also functions as a drinking fountain for the horses.
In the end, all of these features are essential parts of the balanced whole: A natural theme that is not disrupted.
There isn’t a single material or colour, inside or out, that breaks the theme, yet the house does not look or feel over-themed or over-designed.
The structure is a combination of steel and wood, and local stone is used extensively throughout.
The residence itself is a one-bedroom plan and takes up only about 550 square meters (5,920 sq.ft) and includes a kitchen and a large family room that connects to the outside terrace.
In El Mirador, Manuel Cervantes Céspedes’s team included José Luis Heredia Alvarez, Rafael Rivera Sanchiz and Javier Claverie. - Tuija Seipell.
Photos © Rafael Gamo
We had forgotten how beautiful grey concrete can be until we saw what Ezequiel Farca had done with a 1970s residence in Mexico City.
At the same time, we were also reminded of how much we love Farca’s elegant work in general.
To start with, the Barrancas House in Mexico City had a lot going for it before Farca came along.
It is located on a sloped property so that the four levels of the house, from basement all the way to the top, or second, floor, are all in fact on ground level.
In addition, the site overlooks a great wooded area with grown trees and greenery. The house had good bones that Farca and team members Cristina Grappin and Fernanda de la Mora preserved and then took to a new level of cool, modern comfort.
The 720 square-meter (7,750 sq ft) house is a family residence. Keeping that in mind Farca maximized the exposure to the views and daylight by opening up the rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the woods. He also knocked down interior walls and replaced some with sliding screens and hidden doors and providing bay windows that open fully . All of these give the family members the option of creating specific spaces for their changing needs.
Much of the furniture was also custom-designed by Farca’s team for the Barrancas residence.
The new luxury amenities of the house now include a home theater, a wine cellar, a gym and two large terraces. Our favourite luxury features are the chic long pool on the topmost level and the skillful use of greenery both inside the residence and outside in the new garden.
The landscape was designed with plants that adjust to the local climate, with green roof and green walls, it also has a solar energy system and a automatized water saving system.
Marble, stone and wood dominate the interior, with earthy tones and neutral colours throughout. The interior flows seamlessly together with the exterior and all of that gives the sensation of expanded, unblocked freedom.
Ezequiel Farca and his team have achieved that tough-to-define and even tougher to accomplish harmony where the old and new coexist, where the exterior and interior belong together and where the meticulous design work does not honk its own horn but instead, stays stylishly in the background where it belongs. - Tuija Seipell.
Photography: Jaime Navarro, Roland Halbe
We admit. We are suffering from a mad case of barbershop envy. And that takes some doing, pampered as we females supposedly are with spas and salons and boutiques.
But a true gentleman cave like this gorgeous barbershop, Barberia Royal in Mexico City, threatens to flatten our powdered noses as we peer into the brand-spanking new salon that manages to exude that annoyingly suave and hard-to-replicate old-world charm while seeming thoroughly modern.
Barberia Royal is located on the street level of a relatively unattractive building in a historically important neighbourhood. The corner is famous for the Reforma - the ceremonial boulevard created in the 19th century by Maximilian Habsburg as Emperor of Mexico - the city’s best hotels and the Chapultepec – one of the world’s largest urban parks.
Mexico City-based ROW Studio with team members Álvaro Hernández Félix, Nadia Hernández Félix and Alfonso Maldonado Ochoa tackled the project with confident gusto, although it had some unusual and potentially unattractive components. Chief among them was the fact that the space had already been partially developed as a barbershop but that particular project was never completed.
Incorporating parts of the previous design, and recycling mouldings, wooden elements and other components has perhaps been the secret that made the new Barberia Royal appear so refreshingly and eclectically new, although the chief tone is decidedly traditional and old-world.
We love the tiled black-and-white hexagonal tiles of the beautiful floor; we love the dark-panted wood, the brass and the marble. But we especially like the rounded edges that are echoed in many pieces and elements: the windows, the mirrors, the chair backs; even some of the lighting fixtures speak this soft-edged language of timeless grace and elegance.
The insanely confusing ceiling is an attractively out-of-place eye-catcher with its reflective cut-outs of golden anodized aluminum.
The space is divided elegantly into two areas: The barbershop proper - with all its traditional accoutrements including original chairs from the 1950s upholstered in mustard-yellow leather, each facing a large beveled mirror with golden heads of a lion, a wolf, a stag, a zebra, an elephant and a moose as decorative accents,- and the waiting area with its leather seating and fully stocked courtesy bar and display cases showing the best grooming products.
And yes, what indeed would a manly enclosure of contemplative grooming be without a vintage motorcycle (a restored Triumph) or real buffalo head? - Tuija Seipell.