In the heart of Wynwood’s Art District is Bakan, the trendy neighborhood’s authentic Mexican restaurant and bar. A concept from famed Jaguar Hospitality Group and Grupo Gavall, the restaurant was once a neglected warehouse that was given a new life by award-winning Miami-based architecture firm, Burton Hersh Architects.
Inspired by the restaurant’s authentic cuisine, the team of architects worked to pay homage to Mexico’s lively culture while complementing it with a modern design aesthetic. Every inch of the 180-seat, 6,000 square-foot restaurant conveys an energetic, inviting and lively environment that transports guests south of the border with every bite.
The former warehouse, located on a corner lot with an adjacent parking lot, provided the design team a unique space that receives heavy pedestrian volume – a bonus the design team fully exploited.
“When designing Bakan, we kept the client and customer in mind by making the restaurant’s outdoor space larger than the interiors,” shared the architecture firm. “The design beckons the hundreds of pedestrians and drivers that pass by to come in and enjoy a high-energy environment. The restaurant’s success is attributed to having that open street corner and we wanted it to make a statement.”
Burton Hersh Architects transformed the former parking lot into the restaurant’s entrance and outdoor dining patio now lined with native cacti brought in from Texas and Arizona. The team incorporated a 25-foot long bar that begins in the restaurant’s patio and seamlessly flows into the interiors creating a 25-by-12-foot bar space. The interior bar is separated from the outside by a 10-foot tall sliding glass door system.
To entice passerby’s, the design team knew they needed to incorporate an attractive structural element. Their solution? An architectural aluminum awning with wood-slatted pyramid ceiling. The 17-foot canopy is eye-catching and was carefully designed to complement the modern, yet deep-rooted Mexican concept.
The canopy’s inverted wooden pyramids were inspired by geometric patterns typically found in authentic Mexican artwork. The terrace is warmly lit by brown and green hanging basket fixtures that add a whimsical element. Portions of the aluminum canopy that face the sun were painted to appear like wood, while the sections that don’t receive sunlight are made of white Oak wood stained to appear like South American Ipe wood. The canopy’s design provides a level of depth and intricacy while offering patrons a comfortable and shaded terrace ideal for outdoor dining. The result is a structure that commands the street corner thoughtfully and delicately.
The restaurant’s interiors feature an open-view kitchen that allows guests to witness the tortilla-making process, and the theme of transparency continues with a bespoke, four-tiered glass shelving unit that showcases more than 500 mezcals and tequilas. The indoor portion of the bar features a bar top made from petrified wood, accented with glossy green subway tiles on the bar wall, and imported Mexican cement tile flooring with hand-painted images of agave leaves. Seating throughout the restaurant was also brought in from Mexico.
A destination like no other in Wynwood, Bakan’s captivating design draws you in from the graffiti-covered streetscape and blends perfectly with the neighborhood’s artistic vibe, while standing out on its own accord.
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