February 28th, 2013 – Finding a taco shop in Mexico City, is like finding a hot dog stand in New York – they’re everywhere. But amongst something so vast, is a new speakeasy that is completely hidden. If you enter this unnamed taco shop and make your way to the rear of the restaurant, you may, or may not find what looks like a large white commercial grade freezer. Behind this freezer is the beginning to an adventurous night. Jules – a secret dungeon outfitted in studs and skulls designed by the Franco-Mexican Architect, Emmanuel Picault (founder of Chic by Accident) together with the French Architect, Ludwig Godefroy.
In early phase of the design, the architects were swept away in the ambiguity of the space, as they did not know exactly where the space was going to be located. “It’s a non visible project, but it’s not an invisible one,” Picault explained. The space could essentially be anywhere, “hidden, down in an underground passage, a cellar, an antechamber, or even in a cave. We simply don’t know.” This ambiguity was the starting point of the project, ‘how could we realize a cocktail bar, sort of a modern speakeasy, with no longer the need of being clandestine,’ Picault and Godefroy pondered.
It turns out, the space is located in the basement of a mexican cantina. The existing space was nothing more than what you would expect from a basement – depreciated, dirty water pipes, a water tank, cooling system, and lots of beams. Picault and Godefroy redefined the dilapidated basement starting with a surprise entrance for the guests. The cold storage refrigerator was transformed into the new entrance for the speakeasy. Then, guests make their way down a set of wood stairs and into the dim space full of chic metallic finishes, a white studded bar, custom made lounge tables with large white skulls beneath them, and a uniquely arranged pyramid studded ceiling.
The ceiling, which is covered with thousands of pyramid studs resembles a trunk of a Ceiba Tree, the holy tree of the Mayans that is said to be the connection between the world and the infraworld. Also on the ceiling is a suspended celestial vault that sits above the lounge seating and tables.
Additional Note: We were curious to get some first hand information on Jules, which led to us getting in touch with our correspondent in Mexico City who ventured down to the speakeasy. The report back was that Jules is located in a very hard to find taco shop where the tiny signage reads “La Surtidora.” He continues to note that the design was incredible, the cocktails were quality, and the experience was beyond memorable.
Photography By Ramiro Chaves
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