We are so lucky to work with clients that share our vision to create outstanding spaces. Our goal is always to strike the perfect balance between beauty and functionality, with each client’s unique needs in mind. With this Space Harmony project we had the pleasure to work with Alejandro Diaz to create El Santo, a modern Mexican restaurant in the up and coming city of New Westminster.

New West is British Columbia’s oldest city but it has seen a cultural revival in the last 5 years. The city is an easy sky train ride from downtown and is trendy and affordable. The perfect place to open a fun, modern Mexican cantina!

The design challenge: Our client wanted a restaurant design that would honor the culture and cuisine of a modern Mexico, forgoing the typical colours and stereotypes associated with Mexican dining.

The concept development was inspired during a trip we took to San Miguel de Allende, a world heritage city in Mexico, where we experienced the beauty and richness of authentic Mexican handcrafts.

Negar Reihani principal Designer for Space Harmony was recently interviewed with El Santo owner Alejandro Diaz for Gray Magazine

All of the typical design elements are at work in El Santo; but the application of materials is unique, and typically unfamiliar in Mexican restaurants. We choose 3 materials to interpret it in a modern way and each continues throughout the restaurant.

1. Ceramic Tile – we used tiles in the front of the bar and continued the motifs onto the floor where they are inlaid inside the concrete floors.

Local builders and Space Harmony heroes Mercury Contracting were commissioned to build and install the bar at El Santo

2. Textile – we choose to use cross-stitch, a traditional Mexican handcraft, to create mesh panels with a traditional Mexican motif on the walls in the VIP and dining area.

The panels used for the walls were hand crafted by Sign Company

3. Hand Blown Glass – the hand blown glass clusters were used as sculpture and lighting over the bar area.

The lighting was carefully considered when we were designing the room. Lighting provided by Nuevo Living

The design continues to unravel as you are seated and begin to explore. As your eye moves throughout the room you have natural places to stop and examine.

Restaurant design is such a fantastic opportunity to explore materials, play with design ideas and really create something special. We were so excited to be able to help present El Santo to the community with such an amazing client and build team along side.

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