A new Baldessari-inspired Mexico City restaurant tackles the ‘clean eating’ fad
Interior architecture, branding and healthy eating collide in a new project in the heart of Mexico City’s Roma district. Designed top-to-toe by SAVVY studio, Hungry Beast juice bar and kitchen offers punchy flavours and a concise visual identity inspired by the riotous dotwork of artist John Baldessari.
‘It’s a matter of focus: if you believe your world is formed by what you look at, and you just don’t look at the usual things, then your world will change,’ Baldessari once said. ‘To this end, defying the rules becomes a sort of “learning by doing” situation.’ SAVVY used this quote as inspiration for its design concept, which flouts the so-called ‘rules’ of health food branding (which the brand argues all too often thrust ‘healthiness’ in your face). Instead, the graphic identity is ‘beyond a fad’; it is about the simplicity in providing quality products, healthy ingredients and creativity.
Baldessari’s ‘Connecting Dots’ and ‘Gemini’ series were the key inspirations for the branding. Packaging elements are stripped to their core, punctuated by pops of colour and visceral food shots. A half-eaten sandwich crumbles out of its box, a sunshine spill of orange juice rays across a table, a chocolate-slicked donut is imbibed by a bite mark. No mention of health in sight.
Yet healthy the offerings are. Sandwiches are gluten and dairy free; stuffed with organic ham and avocado, or steamed broccoli and lemon dressing. Dollops of light hummus are dropped over eggplant, alfalfa sprouts and kale pesto. Juices are probiotic, zingy and freshly made. Portions are generous, but calories remain low, and meals are balanced.
They can be enjoyed in-house, in the tiny seating area SAVVY was also in charge of. The interior architecture has been completed with the same sense of fun, visual economy and artful influence. Stucco, volcanic stone and solid wood add warmth across the floors and walls, while a metalic bar slices through the middle. Baldessari-shaped colours hang from a lamp on the ceiling; little drops of juice ready to be swallowed by the so-called ‘Hungry Beast’.§