Inside a biophilic restaurant high above Mexico City

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Framed by foliage and overlooking the atrium is a hand-painted mural by Mexican artist Paola Delfín. Titled “Guardian of Nature”, the design was inspired by Xochitl, the Aztec goddess of beauty, flowers and love. In addition to serving as a feature wall, the piece is part of the Fundación Arte Abierto, a program initiated by the founder of Sordo Madaleno.

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Local Mexican pine and poplar were selected for the patio portico and the interior’s vaulted ceiling, whose arches are another nod to local style. “We made a modern interpretation of it by cutting [the ceiling] in a stereotomy,” Patiño says of the 165 unique elements, adding that this structure has helped reduce scale, creating a more comfortable environment.

Across the restaurant’s wedge-shaped floor plan, a flamboyant collection of local, exotic and dried plants provide visual cohesion. “We think of them as theater props,” says Patiño. “In some places, the greens become a little denser to create these little nooks where people can have a more intimate experience.”

She explains that with ceilings over ten feet high, dried plants became necessary as restrictions prevented the hydraulic systems needed for irrigation. “We also play with seasonality,” says Patiño of the choice of plants, using the scent of blooming flowers as a biophilic design element. “From one season to another, customers will experience a different atmosphere,” she notes. “It really brings the project to life.”

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