A restaurant in Yucatán has been crowned best designed in the world in a prestigious international architecture competition.
Ixi’im Restaurant, located about 40 kilometers southwest of Mérida in the municipality of Chocholá, beat out all other contenders in its category to win the Prix Versailles World Architecture Award.
The restaurant design prize — along with others in the categories of shops and stores, shopping malls and hotels — was presented at a ceremony held May 15 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
Mérida-based architectural firm Central de Proyectos SCP and Cancún-based interior designer Paulina Morán were the joint recipients of the award.
Ixi’im is part of the Chablé Resort and Spa, which last year won the same award in the hotel category.
The restaurant is situated inside an old textile factory, which was once a flourishing producer of agave-derived sisal textiles.
According to architecture and design magazine Dezeen, “the architects aimed to convert the structure into a portal to the landscape and history of the complex.”
The renovation, which converted the space into a restaurant, “was built around a metal skeleton inserted into the old structure, turning the crumbling walls into partitions,” the magazine said.
Other features of the space include an atrium with a bar, wood panels set into the ceiling and a patterned tile floor.
The designers also used floor-to-ceiling glass that allows diners to look out onto a courtyard framed by old arches and exposes shelves displaying one of Mexico’s largest collections of artisanal liquor.
Dezeen said “the architects organized the building’s program as a journey, so the contemporary alterations made become more prevalent as the visitor progresses through the restaurant.”
To qualify for the world awards, Ixi’im first won the Prix Versailles 2018 restaurant award in North America.
At the same level, Il Mercato in Saltillo, Coahuila, won the award for best shopping mall.
The restaurant Piedra Sal in Mexico City also won a North American regional special prize for its exterior, the Rosewood Puebla won the same award in the hotel category and the Louis Vuitton store in the upscale Mexico City neighborhood of Polanco was recognized for its interior design.
Prix Versailles said that its awards recognize a successful interaction between culture and economy in real-world situations while taking into consideration the vital objectives of sustainable development.
Thomas Vonier, president of the International Union of Architects and one of the judges for the 2018 awards, highlighted that the candidates who qualified for this year’s final “reflect some of the world’s finest talent in architecture and design.”