Grupo Arca

As a leading platform that excavates and promotes creative enterprises through natural materials, Grupo Arca’s new retail showroom in Guadalajara, Mexico takes on the aesthetics of the surrounding landscape in the region. Designed by Esrawe Studio, the structure is a bar typology with porous programmes distributed throughout. Using only raw materials to construct the space, the monolithic volume is monumental and almost brutalist.

The project’s entrance is a small opening that leads to a vast courtyard that’s cladded in sandstone. Geometrically, every corner of the design is crisp in contrast with the organic growth of nature in the outer rim. However, this contrast only highlights the diverse characteristics of the quarry. Passing the courtyard, visitors are invited to exhibition halls that showcase samples of different types of materials. Here, each hall takes on a distinctive atmosphere; sometimes well-lit with pale timber, other times with dark envelopes that engulf the entire site. This stark definition was derived from the two concepts of the quarry and the warehouse. By creating separating identities, the designers were able to form a crosshatch of programmes and functions in between those oppositions, creating interesting moments that require the audience to experience and think actively of their positions within those interwoven spaces.

Although the project is a fabric of different threads of materials, their origins and the geometry of itself is the bond that creates a necessary synergy. Elegantly, Esrawe Studio had created a lightness that’s acutely present within a heavy physicality.