What we enjoyed the most when doing a project in which we are able to intervene an old building, is the great opportunity to transform it for a new useful life. The project for the restaurant El Presidio Casa Bon gave us for raw material a nineteenth century mansion in Culiacan, Sinaloa, in the northern part of Mexico.

The property was abandoned and was showing the existing building materials, so we decided to use this condition and turn it into the axis of our project. One of the elements that caught our attention was the original floors of the building, with chess style in black and white. Combining these two elements we decided to leave the walls and ceilings apparent, restoring only the parts where needed and even left the plants in their natural form that had already taken over some areas. Inspired by the original floor, we made a new proposal to refer to its past with a different geometric pattern that gives a new image and dynamism, covering all interior spaces and going up some walls.

This project has one restaurant area inside and other outside in the courtyard surrounded by arches. To make the most of this area all the time, it was decided to install a retractable glass roof that provides natural light during the day and isolate the space according to weather conditions. The bar and the cellar are also two very important areas that have presence throughout the whole place as the bar counter goes over the place appearing through doors or hiding behind the walls.

The courtyard with granite floors and the garden with a water mirror and lush vegetation give the guests a place to rest and enjoy the local flora. The hall that leads to the restrooms has mirrors in different directions with neon lights in two colors —pink and blue— that gives irregular reflections to the wall not showing the exact source of light or the image reflected on them. In the restrooms the floor goes up the walls framing the monolithic sinks made of black terrazzo with round brass mirrors. On the back there is a large window that brings in the light and green from outside.

The biggest challenge —and what we enjoyed the most— was reconstructing the space fusing the old with the new without confronting each other. Our target was achieving both elements to coexist within the same ambiance in harmony. Plain and simply there are things that cannot be erased, so we decided to accept the existence and all traces of time as part of the history of the place to enhance the original essence of the building.

  • Architect: German Velasco – German Velasco Arquitectos
  • Photographer: Mas proyecto

Posted by German Velasco

He studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Once he finished his graduate studies he knew he needed to go deeper into the spaces, because at the university the projects were done to satisfy a function, without achieving the ultimate goal; to create full environments that take into account everything: materials, lighting and furniture, something that has always thrilled him. He then signed up for the Interior Design diploma course at the same university, and that is where he realized that interior design was also his passion. His vast experience in architecture and interior design has led him to thoroughly grow professionally. He has also been fortunate enough to collaborate in important projects such as the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, now the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya in Mexico’s Caribbean Coast as a member of architect Gilberto Borja’s team at Baia Group. Years later, as a partner of Muro Rojo Arquitectura, he participated in the development of many outstanding projects that have received important awards such as the Hotel Brick in Mexico City, restaurant Cumpanio in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Hotel Bö in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, just to mention a few. Today he is the director of his own firm: Germán Velasco Arquitectos, specialized in hotels, restaurants and residential architecture and interior design projects. For Germán and his team, each project is a new challenge in which they rewrite the rules by being: different, proposing and sometimes even irreverent.

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