Frëims Condesa restaurant by Arqmov Workshop, Mexico City – Mexico

June 20th, 2016 by retail design blog

The project involved the renovation of a house built in the 1920s, to transform it into the first restaurant specialized in serving waffle sandwiches in Mexico, along with a great variety of freshly brewed coffee made with the best extraction methods available.

The new franchise is based on an entirely new approach where the primary concern is to ensure that each space takes on its own personality. The design features a flexible program where normal commercial restaurant activities are enhanced by integrating different cultural and artistic expressions, thus providing a suitable space for reading groups, book presentations, acoustic concerts, and wine tasting events. The common thread consists of using the spaces distributed all through the venue to promote art and literature, including a gallery where different artists can exhibit their work for certain periods of time. This specific part of the project included an interior wall put up in the patioto create a focal visual point from the moment you walk into restaurant that offers a platform for artists to exhibit their works.

The building is located on one of the busiest avenues in La Condesa neighborhood in Mexico City and was brought back from a prolonged state of abandonment and remodeled in a way that preserved its original layout to the extent possible. The facade was renovated and adapted to its new use, and its original materials were kept throughout the house and garden to serve as “testimonies” to the building’s historical nature, with examples including the fountain, benches, and boundary walls, in addition to the conservation of construction techniques from the era in which it was first built.

A set of openings allow the sun light to penetrate well into the interior, and the window works were replicated to arrange the architectural language both inside the building and in the distinctive patio, whose original fountain’s silhouette has been respected, reinterpreted, and adapted in harmony with the outlines created for the new design. Set up around the new water-mirror fountain is an ample space for intimate group dining intended to add an element of diversity to the way people eat by creating an environment that allows for contemplation, relaxation, plentiful vegetation, shaded areas, and the natural fresh and cool air flows provided by the restaurant’s location.The original architectural layout of the spaces has been respected, which means that the structure of the house has been altered as little as possible. For example, the kitchen was remodeled to fit its original area and ensure the optimization of its space and functionality.

A key consideration in the development of this project was the recovery and recycling of materials that were used to design the furniture, the original windows, the ceramic plaster floors, and the wood paneling. The interior flooring was made to resemble polished concrete, with the patio decked in colored paved stones with solid bases and hollow spaces strategically created as planters to grow greens and an organic garden.

The primary elements featured in the design of this restoration project include the basic lighting provided with Edison light bulbs, and old-fashioned or concrete lamps, whose soft lights accentuate the combination of materials and textured facades. It is, in essence, a light-hearted space for art and socializing that offers diners a relaxing experience and a welcome diversion from the daily grind.

Architects: Arqmov Workshop
Photographs: Rafael Gamo
Architectural Design: Eduardo Micha, Fabio Correa, Gabriel Merino, Christian Rodriguez, Oscar Osorio, Patricia Pérez, Miguel Ángel Chiney, Eduardo Acosta, Armando Hernández Maricruz Pérez, Mario Moreno

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