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LOCATION: Mexico City, Mexico

DESIGN: Emmanuel Picault and Ludwig Godefroy

You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd made a wrong turn when you get to the heavy refrigerator door in the back of the Mexico City cantina La Surtidora, but through the unmarked door, past the shelves of yogurt and butter, and down the pine stairs you'll find Jules, a speakeasy of sorts. Or what architects Emmanuel Picault and Ludwig Godefroy term a "shrine."

Turning a hotel basement into a sleek cocktail bar wasn't simple, and the two French expatriates say evidence of the space's former life is everywhere if you know where to look. "There were so many constraints," Picault says. "Anywhere you see a design on the ceiling it means there was a beam or pipe we had to hide." Now the ceiling is covered in silver-leaf blocks and wooden pyramids, meant to evoke the spiky Ceiba tree that in Mayan cosmology unites the heavens, earth, and underworld. Gigantic ceramic skulls inside glass tables leave no doubt which segment of the tree the bar occupies. Godefroy and Picault say they were inspired by the iconography of Dia de Los Muertos. To compensate for the low ceiling, Godefroy and Picault used floor lights to reflect off the wall's leather folds, creating bright columns stretching upward, and murkier lines reflecting downward off the bar's black resin floor. "The resin on the floor looks like a dark lake reflecting the light," Picault says, "so it gives you a feeling of deepness as well."


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Title Annotation:INTERIORS
Author:Dzieza, Josh
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:May 1, 2012
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