details that matter
“I care about every single detail, architecture isn’t only the space. It is the towel that you dry yourself with, the smell of lavender when you open your ironed sheets, the soap you choose for your morning rituals, the art that surrounds you, the chair that you seat on, and the every day treats that make a difference”. This holistic philosophy can be seen clearly on the first Ryokan in Latin America, a project Regina Galvanduque created from start to finish with her team at GLVDK, a multidisciplinary creative studio in Mexico City.
With a dramatic façade inspired by the folding gestures of origami,
Ryokan MX is the landmark building of Little Tokyo MX, a new concept that is transforming Cuauhtémoc neighborhood, an up and coming area of México City, where the best Japanese restaurants in the country can be found around a few blocks.
Japamex, a term coined by the architect, is the term used to describe the powerful Japanese-Mexican mix, Regina carefully expressed in every meticulous detail of the design concept behind Ryokan MX.
Ryokan MX has 10 rooms designed with Japanese and Mexican vernacular techniques that create a balance between both cultures:
Sliding doors – In Japan: Shoji / def. (Sho – Separate, ji – a part), are rice paper wooden sliding doors that represent the transition between the outside and inside worlds. The cultural relevance of this separation, is expressed, for example, in the act of removing the shoes before entering the tatami area inside. In parallel, Mayan houses in Mexico, use huano or zacate to cover the main entrance and invite visitors to bow their heads as a sign of respect.
Oriental Tatami rooms – Tatamis – Petates (Sleeping on the floor) both in Japan and in towns such as Oaxaca, people have slept on the floor for generations over beautiful natural handwoven materials.
Western rooms – the beds were designed based on the grid or tatami’s configuration. The architect’s idea was to extrude this grid with custom made screened wood, inspired by the “halabche” or braiding of vines found in Mayan homes, which together with the coloches or vertical rods form a knotted grid with vegetable fibers , that give shape to the walls or pak lum. This structure allows for the creation of a thermal barrier, preserving the freshness inside the Mayan dwellings.
Onsen – Hot springs; here the parallelism celebrates two countries rich in biodiversity with cultures that respect nature.
Art – the architect’s’ idea of “upcycling materials” (travertine marble, stones) and transforming them into simple organic volumes.
Japanese Panels – Printed screens with monochromatic photographs of Japanese landscapes to create a visual sensation of being in an onsen outside of Tokyo in each room.
Nautical strings – In the triple height of the central common area of the building, nautical strings were used to generate an installation that evokes the repetition and feeling of infinity, found in the bamboo forests of Kyoto.
Furniture – Andrés Mier y Terán in collaboration with GLVDK designed all the Japanese inspired furniture using local Mexican materials.
Ryo Kan MX constitutes the first hospitality concept by GLVDK in México City. The Studio has done projects internationally ranging from architecture, interior design, art-sculpture, styling, production, curatorship and branding to ephemeral installations. She created “Antojeria Popular” in NYC Nolita neighborhood in 2012, a pioneering concept bringing Mexican street food to New York’s most trendy neighborhood, among other residential and conceptual projects in New York City,
Currently, GLVDK is expanding her conceptual art installations inspired by the recent earthquake that stuck Mexico last fall, by upcycling raw stones and reinterpreting them in organic sensual shapes with natural accidents. In parallel, her firm is working on a few residential, hospitality and large artistic commissions.
Marcella Echavarria is a Mexico City based lifestyle specialist. She collaborates with designers and artisans around the world developing links that connect local knowledge with global trends. Her specialty is branding luxury and sustainability in a way that preserves cultures and traditions.