Nama Restaurant, opposites attract
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Nama Restaurant, opposites attract

The design of the restaurant was inspired by the Wabi-sabi philosophy and plays with materials and colors with opposite characteristics

Claudia Ornelas

Nama Restaurant, opposites attract
By Editorial Staff -

Enjoying dinner at a restaurant is not only about savoring the plates: it is also about appreciating the atmosphere, being enveloped in a world of enjoyable sounds and smells, and living a fleeting experience that is different from one’s daily routine.

The restaurant Nama in Santiago de Querétaro, in central Mexico, proposes exactly this. The interior design was entrusted to the interior architecture firm of Claudia Ornelas, who was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi. She has created atmospheres with an Oriental flavor, modulated on a game of opposites created by a vast collection of handcrafted items from different regions of Mexico.

«We wanted to create a relaxing place with a variety of atmospheres,» stated the designer. This desire was clear from the beginning of the project; many different souls coexist within the interiors of the restaurant that play with organic forms and natural materials and unite in favor of shadows and light games, creating a wide range of environments.


The beauty of imperfection

Ristorante Nama, Claudia Ornales ©Rafael Gamo, courtesy of Claudia Ornelas

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy based on the acceptance of the imperfection and impermanence of things: it results in a simple and rustic aesthetic where flaws, wear and tear from aging, and small surface wrinkles are values to be pursued. “I love this philosophy because it gives importance to the aging of things; objects become something unique because of their history, memories, and imperfection,” said the designer.

With this inspiration, Claudia Ornelas designed the interiors of the restaurant as a union of atmospheres, objects, and memories, that in harmony with each other, create a unique environment.

To this end, the interior design is developed on a neutral based achieved using aged and painted oak wood, and the creation of a series of different heights and volumes that enliven the space was also crucial. A hanging veneered oak structure woven using Japanese assembly techniques lowers the volume of the ceiling, creating a three-dimensional effect completed by the suspending chandeliers. The unfinished wood furnishings echo the aesthetic of rustic simplicity and dialogue with the rough, coarse plasterwork. Wavy-shaped mirrors evoke the Japanese art of Suminagashi and create evocative reflections.

Finally, the connection between the interior and exterior is a crucial part of the design. The large sliding glass window allows passersby to live the internal environment, framed by a series of plants that connect visitors with nature.

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Colors and materials in antithesis

Ristorante Nama, Claudia Ornales ©Rafael Gamo, courtesy of Claudia Ornelas

«We played with opposites in the selection of materials and colors, concentrating on the relationship between light and dark, and rough and smooth surfaces» added the designer. The highest expression of this is in the Nigiris bar, where guests can directly experience the preparation of the food. The bar was realized in natural stone from the region, which contrasts the oak countertop.

Above this, wicker lamps hanging from the ceiling are a clear reminder of the baskets traditionally used for lobster fishing.

A row of circular copper lamps hanging from the ceiling follows the perimeter of the restaurant and illuminates the tables positioned close to the border window: made by artisans from western Mexico, they feature a coarse, material texture with almost textile-like qualities.

The stairs leading to the bathroom are clad with undulating red decorative panels, realized with woven palm by artisans from the state of Guerrero and finished with the Suminagashi technique. Finally, the bathrooms feature light wood furnishings and backlit, organically shaped mirrors that dialogue with the rough finishings of the surfaces and the natural stone sinks.


Location: Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico
Architect: Anonimous
Interior design: Claudia Ornelas
Area: 260 m2
Completion: 2022

Photography by Rafael Gamo, courtesy of Claudia Ornelas

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