Upside-down ‘pyramid bar’ takes centre stage in RA!'s Tana Restaurant design

In the heart of Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighbourhood, RA! architects have transformed a compact 65-square-meter space into Tana, a tapas spot that defies convention with its cave-like design centred around an upside-down pyramid bar.

The focal point of Tana is the bar counter, a mesmerizing inverted ziggurat that dominates the main dining area. This unique design choice pays homage to the ancient pyramids found at the Aztec archaeological site of Teotihuacan, just outside the bustling metropolis.


The stepped form of the bar counter creates an engaging visual dynamic, inviting patrons to gather around and share in the communal experience of Tana.

To achieve the cave-like ambiance, RA! gutted the space and applied textured plaster and concrete across the four-meter-high walls. The result is a cosy and intimate atmosphere that transports diners away from the vibrant cityscape to a subterranean world. The cove-lit concrete walls provide a warm and ambient glow, enhancing the overall sensory experience.

“The intervention began by demolishing the superimposed finishes of the old premises, in order to discover the structure and the materials that originally constituted the space,” said RA! Co-founder Pedro Ramírez de Aguilar.

“The balance of the sounds, colours, textures and tones of the space creates a cave atmosphere that shelters those who inhabit it,” he continued.

Seating arrangements are thoughtful and intimate, with stools positioned around small tables, fostering a sense of connection among diners. Cove lighting encircles the room just above floor level and about two-thirds up the walls, creating a soft, diffused illumination that complements the textured surfaces. The use of lighting beneath the narrow drink shelves adds a touch of drama, subtly emphasizing the carefully curated selection.

Rough concrete also wraps the bar’s tiered sides, under which cove lighting is installed to illuminate each layer. “The bar questions the traditional linear organization of bars to create a square distribution that allows greater coexistence between users and the mixologist,” Ramírez de Aguilar said.

Behind the bar, a striking copper lighting fixture steals the spotlight. Comprising two concentric circles, this elegant piece emits a soft glow from behind a small, front disk. The juxtaposition of materials and shapes enhances the overall design, providing a contemporary touch to the ancient-inspired setting.

The copper fixture was mounted on a floor-to-ceiling shelving system built from thin metal pipes, which displays liquor bottles and holds hanging plants at the top. “The plate made in Michoacán, Mexico, is positioned on a large formation of rods that go from the support cabinet to the ceiling, generating a series of shelves on which the bottles and other service elements are positioned,” said Ramírez de Aguilar.

Tana’s location facing Parque Lincoln adds an additional layer to the experience, allowing patrons to enjoy their tapas in a serene environment. The clever integration of historical references, modern design elements, and strategic lighting make Tana a standout destination in Mexico City’s culinary scene. RA!’s innovative approach to shaping the space around an upside-down pyramid bar at Tana showcases the intersection of history, culture, and contemporary design in the heart of this vibrant metropolis.

Images by Ariadna Polo via Dezeen

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