Contract - November/December 2010 - (Page 44)

design mexico city minimalism Entasis employ steel and glass, slate, and ash in a temple of culinary experimentation that is also a timeless design statement By Michael Webb Photography by Jaime Navarro OCA is a supernova in the constellation of Polanco, which has become the place to go in Mexico City for fashionable stores, cool bars, and fine dining. Over the past decade, this neighborhood has boomed and its best restaurants rival those of the United States and Europe in quality and originality. Entasis Arquitectos, a partnership of Alejandro de la Vega and Ricardo Warman, has designed several of these culinary treasures, including Terrasse Renault, Biko, and a restaurant for the Cordon Bleu cookery school within a mansion that was formerly the French Consulate. Pared-down elegance is the design firm’s signature, and OCA may be its finest achievement to date. “I wanted an open, airy space that was as pure and audacious as the cuisine I planned to serve,” says OCA owner Karen Wix, who commissioned Entasis after lunching at Biko. That restaurant occupies the upper floor of a mixed-use block, and it feels entirely new: a sybaritic, soft-toned space in which sun and streetlights are filtered through tilted slats of blond wood. The OCA site presented a different challenge. Brick houses of the 1940s had been repeatedly altered and extended to serve as commercial premises. The building had lost most of its original character and had become a warren of tiny rooms on three levels. “It was total chaos, and our immediate impulse was to tear it open and give it lungs to breathe,” says Warman. The client agreed to this radical surgery, so they gutted the interior down to the brick party walls and cut away the concrete slabs of the two upper Open terraces on the street facade are screened by creeper climbing a grid of steel cables (above left). The original brick party wall (left) has been exposed, and the rough texture plays off the structural steel frame. A private dining room (opposite), screened by a Venetian blind, is half concealed behind a wood screen that defines the entry area. 44 contract november/december 2010 www.contractdesign.com http://www.contractdesign.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - November/December 2010

Contract - November/December 2010
Contents
Editor’s Note
Industry
Focus: Suspended Reality
Palette of Time
House of Sweet Dreams
America’s Lounge
A Fine Winery
Mexico City Materialism
Risqué Business
Brooklyn Baroque
Reading on the Walls
Trends: The Real Social Network
Designers Rate: Lounge Seating
Sources
2010 Brand Report
Ad Index
Perspectives: Anurag Nema, Nemaworkshop

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