Loqui evokes a handcrafted Mexican taqueria. Situated in a gentrified industrial area of the city, the restaurant occupies a portion of the ground floor of an old four-storey concrete building that has been converted for office space, restaurants, and bars.
With Loqui as the first tenant, the building provided the design team a blank canvas to work with. The designers inherited concrete floors and ceilings, as well as exposed pipes housing vertical plumbing and mechanical systems for the entire building. They cleaned up unsightly aesthetics by removing some redundant components and strategically erecting walls to conceal others, while maintaining some of the original elements, including the concrete floor.
With an outer shell carefully carved out, the design team planned to replicate some of the materials and visual elements of a typical handcrafted Mexican structure. The focus was on building something rustic that was not ‘overthought or overwrought,’ resulting in material selections that could be found on a construction site, including terra cotta brick, stained oak, olive stucco, and patinated steel.
In approaching the design and connectivity of a kitchen, a service line, a small dining room, and a patio in a recessed rear courtyard, they established continuity by utilizing terra cotta bricks throughout the space. Simple, vertical, and horizontal Cartesian patterns, with embossed bricks, seamlessly wrap the walls, seating, and outdoor area in a unified ambiance.
Beyond the use of terra cotta, the material palette for giving the Loqui design a handcrafted look includes a restroom corridor finished in olive green stucco, and a kitchen backdrop featuring tiles with subtle blue trim. To bring it all to life, the design team chose small, soft cone, semi-flush lighting to add warmth and character to the internal space.