You have to be a pure carnivore to dine at this one - a restaurant in Mexico where animal bones make up the major part of the decor.
Housed in a refurbished 1940s building in Mexico, Hueso is a new concept restaurant that has an eerie décor. The idea of the décor came from its name, which in English means bone. Handmade ceramic tiles covered with graphics make up the facade that sports a double skinned exterior used to protect the inside textured layer. ´The graphics on the tiled exterior are inspired by knitting, attaching, stapling and sewing techniques and translated into a simple eight module visual system,´ shares Ignacio Cadena, President & Creative Director, Cadena Concept Design, the firm behind the interiors of the restaurant.
Reflected by the food that is served (the restaurant serves unusual meaty offcuts like bone marrow) and inspired by the Darwinian vision, the inside skin covers almost every vertical square inch of the interior with over 10,000 collected bones from animals and plants mounted on wooden layers painted pitch white.
´Bones were collected during a period of approximately six months by visiting ranches and different places along the desert in the northeast of Mexico. Bones from cows, bulls, pigs, deer, boars, goats, birds and fish among many other animals were found. Bones from plants and trees, that is, seeds and branches from endemic species were also seen as organic structures during the recollection process,´ shares Ignacio.
Mixed with objects and cooking tools and intervened by urban visual artists, the morbid ornamentation is subdued by the white and grey colour palette used throughout. ´Some objects were glued, some were tied, other pieces were immersed in clay, some stapled or nailed,´ shares the designer. No bones or pieces have been fabricated, all have been recovered. Some bones were selected to be cast in metal to be placed as pieces that allow visual demarcation and create an abstract barrier between groups on the massive wooden table, thus simultaneously maintaining a sense of privacy and community.
Contrasts and complements
There is a glass vitrine at the foot of a white staircase, with a selection of specimens 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. To lend a contrast, steam-bent wooden cafT chairs line the edges of the long wooden table that is in step with the tiered floor-level of the restaurant. ´The stepped table was built from recovered pine wood and runs along the main room until it ends in the back patio where it meets with a large tree trunk that had died many years ago but it seems almost as if it was left in the courtyard as a spectator waiting to meet its dead co-inhabitants,´ says Ignacio. Through holes in this table, white rods with small bulbs arise like umbrella stands.
The place has two different ambiences - daylight enters through the large windows of the 40´s architecture giving the space a sense of peace and calm, and at night the restaurant becomes mysterious, as it is lit up by lamps built from recovered construction wood designed to highlight the walls and the objects that tell the story of the place. The long table is lit by a system of vertical steel lamps inspired by Le Corbusier. Direct lighting is only used in the kitchen.
And if you still have the appetite for it, your orders are kept in check between the broken skeletal ribs cast in metal!
With bones for interior décor, dining at Hueso is bound to be one impressive experience, one that´s definitely not meant for the fainthearted.
Text: Sumisha Gilotra
Cadena Concept Design,
Tel: +52 818922261