Vintage cars may be popular collector’s items, but rarely do you see them used as restaurant decor. That, didn’t stop New York and Guatemala-based architecture firm Taller Ken from parking a couple of repurposed vehicles inside the incredible Madero Cafe. The ambitious team also filled the 4,844-square-foot space with an array of vibrant colors and soaring 15-foot-high trees to create a playful culinary greenhouse.
Located on one of the busiest streets in Guatemala City, the Madero Cafe holds court from the exterior as an odd monolithic red block with four cars protruding out of its exterior walls. We’ll never know if the design is a sarcastic nod to the speedy drivers that whiz by or the city’s chaotic urban design, but we do know that the interior design is just as irreverent.
The quirky interior is a light-filled oasis of color with a forest of soaring palm trees that create a playful greenhouse ambiance. The massive amount of greenery is irrigated thanks to an integrated rainwater collection system installed on the roof. The plants are also kept healthy thanks to the natural light that floods the interior through multiple sawtooth skylights.
The rest of the interior is a hodgepodge of colors and textures, supported by a dizzying multi-colored floor. Although at first glance, the vibrant concrete mosaics on the floor may seem random, they actually follow a pattern that leads to the kitchen and bathrooms, and a few other unique areas in the restaurant. Taller KEN refers to the project’s eclectic appearance as locally-inspired: “this project mines local patterns, materials and textures and collects them to make a fresh tropical atmosphere”.
Photography by Leonardo Izaguirre via Taller Ken