The outer shell of the ‘Tori Tori Restaurant’ in Mexico City is outstanding and certainly gets noticed, the inner glass façade is embraced in the open structure which of a huge undulating mesh screen. Completed in 2011 this was the ambitious joint project of Rojkind Arquitectos + ESRAWE Studio. It is also an award winning design. Due to the massive popularity of the ‘Tori Tori’ Japanese restaurant, the owners decided to relocate to larger premises. The area where the new restaurant is sited is in a rapidly developing urban area where architectural change is nothing new. Due to this it was important to the designers that they created an eye catching structure that wouldn’t get lost in this rapidly altering region. Intriguing Japanese design influences are evident throughout this unique project.
The existing building has been transformed from top to bottom. The result is this chic and stylish eatery. By night the ‘woven’ façade is illuminated and appears to glow with ultra violet light. Dining areas are on both the interior and exterior of the building, the architecture contemporary Japanese design influences encourage harmony between these two areas. Although the style of the building is not typically Japanese, the essence of Japan is woven into its very fabric.
Within the ‘Tori Tori Restaurant’ different zones have been established each with its own unique atmosphere. The stunning upper storey is dominated by a warm timber clad ceiling and a fabulous living wall with dense foliage that reaches from floor to the ceiling. Here the Japanese design influences are at their most obvious. The dominant color in this area is a tranquil green and the custom built seating and chairs are at floor level, embracing an important aspect of the Japanese culture.
Downstairs, the design scheme is more urbanized and western in construction and concept. The Japanese design influences can be seen in the dominant color scheme which is monochromatic using black and various shades of grey through to white. This is complimented by the inclusion of warm mellow timber accents on the floor and furniture to provide a welcoming ambience. The interior is also influenced by the violet glow of the exterior lighting. The interior lighting is important in creating and enhancing the mood within the space. Different levels of directional and accent lighting focus attention on seating zones and illuminate important architectural features.
All interior areas are spacious and uncluttered reflecting the Japanese design influence. The sleek surfaces are sophisticated and incorporate a range of aesthetically pleasing materials such as polished stone, stainless steel, wood and glass. The contrast of these enlivens the interior design as does the outer mesh pattern which viewed from the interior adds an unusual and fascinating element of pattern to the otherwise unadorned surfaces/ light traveling in through the pierced outer shell cast fascinating shadows all around the interior.
As the designers state, the ‘Tori Tori’s atmosphere is; “…..enriched by the spectrum of subtle changes.”
By Rojkind Arquitectos + ESRAWE Studio of Mexico City
© Paúl Rivera