The Saul E, Mendez menswear retail store located in Guatemala City’s Zona 14 was designed by the Taller KEN architectural practice to serve as a shop and café creating a retail and dining environment with local cultural references such as the colonial homes and even the Mayan dresses.
The building’s rectilinear white facade is interrupted by openings that extend from the walls and the stretchy fabric of the exterior gives a wrinkled look to the fiberglass panels with smoother plaster to connect the surfaces into the façade. The deep ornamental window niches are typical for the colonial architecture and the protruding windows are the way in which the designers emphasized this while also bringing a display area.
The main entrance is announced by a red door and there is a bench that is also colored red and it is molded into the façade. The walls are finished in white chipboard panels and the floor is polished concrete to provide a neutral backdrop to the richly colored merchandize. The terrace outside has suspended threads , in a palette of greens and yellows, above it to create a natural space that references the natural production techniques still used by the indigenous people of Guatemala today to make clothing.
“They create an unexpected experience, like a fun house or a maze, where you don’t know where the spaces end,” the architects added.
Photography is by Andres Asturias.
Thanks to Laura Aguilar.