Today we’re talking about Taller Ken (“Taller” in Spanish meaning workshop or studio, and “Ken” meaning perception, understanding), a unique place with a retro style that celebrates the culture of experimentation and challenge.
Gregory Melitonov, co-founder, along with Ines Guzman, of Taller Ken architecture, once said: “You need the artistic weirdos.”. His words were evident in the work of Taller Ken which is itself a youthful enterprise, playful enough to be irreverent, but internally respectful to the high art of architecture so as to safeguard the aesthetic evolution of form.
Taller Ken was born in 2013, out of Melitonov and Guzman’s acquaintance at Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop. Consistent with his philosophy and practice of hiring young architects from all over the world, the renowned Pritzker-winning architect included Melitonov and Guzman in the team working on the Whitney Museum of American.
It is in Guatemala that Saúl Bistro’s Madero venue gives Taller Ken an opportunity to showcase its carefully crafted whimsy, where, overlooking a busy highway, a 49-foot-tall structure takes the street traffic and immobilizes it in a sculpted exterior of cut-up car chassis.
The parking space, in a black-and-white zebra-like motif, also elegantly signifies the (zebra) crossing into a different space. Inside, the space is set up as a tropical sanctuary, filled with colors, plants, and light.
The floors burst with colors from the hand-made tiles in various shades of green and red, and the tropical planting, rising up in different parts of it, are watered by rainwater which is collected through the roof into bright blue tanks.
The furniture, which is also brightly colored, harks back to the world a few decades back, as suggested by the cars that are used even in the building’s interior design.
The tropical vegetation, that even drapes the lighting fixtures, highlights the pastiche of colors and the blending of a natural and constructed environment, as the latter finds its expression in the automobile.
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