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Xokol Restaurant by ODAmx and Rubén Valdez


Photos by Rafael Palacios

Architects ODAmx and Rubén Valdez have collaboratively designed a restaurant within a former repair workshop in Guadalajara, now situated in the Santa Tere neighborhood of Mexico City. Operating for over three years in an unassuming 890-square-meter space in Santa Teresita, Xokol has gained recognition for offering some of the most innovative and refined cuisine in Mexico. The building, once a rental house, ceramics factory, and modest eatery, underwent a transformation where architects Valdéz and López removed columns, walls, and suspended ceilings while preserving beams and arches to honor the building's history.


 

"The architecture of the space acts a catalyst for the reinterpretation of Mexican culinary traditions and a communal dining experience in which the boundaries between diners, staff and food preparation are non-existent."


 


Relocated in 2020 to a larger space, the focus was on maintaining the intimate connection between diners and chefs. The restaurant's interior boasts a minimalist and monastic aesthetic, featuring dark grey plaster on walls and ceilings, open kitchens with black clay charcoal ovens, and hand-mixed black plaster on walls. Black concrete tiles from a local workshop were used for the floors, creating a canvas to showcase the kitchen's work, described by Valdéz as a "catalyst for the ritual of collective eating."



The architects divided the space into a well-lit open kitchen and serving area on one side, and a 50-meter communal table on the other. Crafted in oak by Joselo Maderista, a carpentry studio in Guadalajara, the 15-meter-long table accommodates 48 people simultaneously, enhancing the shared dining experience. A central skylight, covered with a metal grille adorned with hanging corn cobs, introduces a subtle touch of color to the otherwise monochrome restaurant, complementing the diverse cuisine served. The kitchen, located at the back, features a grid of shelves for fermenting ingredients. The exterior of the concrete workshop building remains largely unchanged, with steel panels added to the garage door entrance to guide guests. All materials used in the project were locally sourced, and the dining table, pendant lamp, and shelves were crafted by artisans from Guadalajara.



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