A fictional story was written about the lost Jaltemba tribe in order to develop the concept and design for a seafood bar called La Peñita de Jaltemba in Playa del Carmen located on Mexico's Caribbean coast.
Characteristic elements of the Jaltemba tribe were reinterpreted into a graphic and spatial language which, together, make up 'La Peñita'.
According to the legend, the Jaltemba tribe were avid fishermen and farmers who valued life and the sea. Strong believers in the conservation of the earth's balance, their lives were ruled by rituals and traditions. One of these traditions was the capture of the Great Tuna, where only the most experienced men would adventure out to the sea, in small rowing boats, making up one same arm and mind.
Back in the village, the tribe would share the fruits of their joint efforts sitting around the 'Great Table' as a symbol of fraternity, union and abundance.
In the restaurant the canoe is used as a light fixture and is suspended above the Great Table. There is a mural depicting offerings on one of the side walls. It references the ceremonies practiced by the tribe worshiping life and was constructed with found objects and wood collected from the shore.
The wood and varnish used for some of the finishings are a reminder of what has been corroded by the sun and the sea, a sight that is very common along the coastline.
The Jaltemba tribe spoke their own dialect, which reflects upon a system of glyphs and symbols that can be found on the wall/totem crowning the Great Table. La Peñita's logo is also derived from this system.
Sunsets in Jaltemba were translated into a colour gradient that was used on all the graphic language and in some of the applications such as the canoe's interior and the mural.
The bar is an element that contrasts with the rest of the space since it doesn't have such a tribal approach. It has rather a more industrial touch, which reminds us of a cargo vessel – trapdoors provide access to the toilets. The counter bar reflects much of its function through a modular grid which divides it into individual areas: flavoured water, cocktails, equipment, mezcal, etc.
In Collaboration with: Isauro Huizar & Tomás Guereña