The Japanese-Mexican restaurant Taka Taka makes a pointed effort to embrace its busy corner of Soho. Relocating the main entrance to the corner was one of the key moves Grupo MYT—a Mexico City-based firm also behind the interior architecture of Fernando Romero’s new Museo Soumaya in Mexico City—made in an effort to maximize the 1,250-square-foot, one-level space. Another space-saver is a U-shaped conveyor belt that constantly snakes around chunky oak booths.
Drawing inspiration from both Japanese minimalism and a homey Mexican fonda (diner), Taka Taka’s restrained color combination of black surfaces and light woods offer a backdrop for festive details, like the use of “barro negro” clay to create sculptural window frames and Mexican “Sensacionales” comic strips papering the bathrooms.
A geometric, 3-D-texturized white oak wall handcrafted in Mexico wraps the interior, a more realistic alternative to the design team’s original plan which was to wrap the entire space (including the façade) with stacked plates. “[The revision] was not only more executable, but it also better responded to the space’s two main challenges,” said Andres Mier y Teran, Grupo MYT principal. “The extreme exposure and openness are counter-balanced by the warm visuals of the wood. The task of visually merging two distinct cultures is achieved through the abstracted, pyramidal pattern,” a gesture that evokes both Japanese origami and pre-Hispanic Mexico’s geometric iconography.