Thousands of animal bones line the macabre interior of this restaurant in a refurbished 1940s building in Mexico, by design studio Cadena + Asociados
Headed up by founder Ignacio Cadena, Mexican studio Cadena + Asociados converted a building in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco state, to create the 70-square-metre restaurant.
The client for Hueso Restaurant – which translates as Bone Restaurant – was Cadena's brother, chef Alfonso Cadena. Bone-white tiles patterned with a black linear design clad the exterior, while inside a array of animal carcasses decorates the walls. The skeletal decor takes its cues from the restaurant menu, which includes unusual meaty offcuts like bone marrow.
"The design approach begins with creating a double skin," said the studio in a statement.
"On the exterior, a clean artisanal, handmade ceramic tile covering with a graphic approach protects the inside skin layer, which becomes more organic and full of texture." A single bone suspended on a chain above the entrance gives visitors a hint of what lies within.
"Inspired in a Darwinian vision, the inside skin covers almost every vertical square inch of the interior with over 10,000 collected bones," said the team. Bare brick internal walls are washed in a patchy layer of white paint and covered from ceiling-to-floor with animal skulls, fragments of bone, anatomical drawings and white cooking utensils.
The morbid ornamentation is subdued by the white and grey colour palette used throughout. In a glass vitrine at the foot of a white staircase, a selection of specimens are laid out like a natural history museum display. Leg bones are stacked like logs underneath a sideboard, piled into white buckets, and positioned on tabletops, where they take the place of traditional floral centrepieces.
Steam-bent wooden cafe chairs line the edges of one long wooden table that steps with the tiered floor-level of the restaurant. White rods with small bulbs at their tips rise through holes in the table like umbrella stands and at one end of the space a dead tree trunk is planted in a patch of earth.
In the kitchen, orders are kept in check between the broken ribs of section of skeleton cast in metal. The concrete walls of the bathroom have been partially covered with glossy white tiles and a horned animal skull is mounted above the toilet like a hunting trophy.
Photography is by Jaime Navarro.
Architect: Ignacio Cadena Culinary
Concept: Alfonso Cadena
Concept and Art Direction: Ignacio Cadena
Lighting and Furniture Design: Ignacio Cadena
Architect of Record: Javier Monteón
Ceramics: José Noé Suro
Art Interventions: Los -Originales- Contratistas Tomás Guereña & Miguel Ángel Fuentes