Tori Tori Restaurant by Rojkind Arquitectos
and Hector Esrawe


Mexican architects Rojkind Arquitectos and industrial designer Hector Esrawe have designed a Japanese restaurant for Mexico City.

Called Tori Tori Restaurant, the project involves converting a house but aims to make the building unrecognisable.

A two-layer steel lattice will cover the facade of the original house, intended to reference ivy growing on the existing walls behind it.

Esrawe has custom-designed all the furniture for the interior.

The restaurant is due for completion in 2010.

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Above image © Glessner Group with artist Guido Torres

Exterior images are by Glessner Group unless otherwise stated. Interior images are by ESRAWE Studio.

Here's some more information from Rojkind Arquitectos:


Considered one of the best Japanese restaurants in Mexico City and due to its remarkable success, Tori-Tori is now moving to a bigger location in the same area of Polanco, Mexico City, where Architect Michel Rojkind and Industrial Designer Hector Esrawe teamed up to make it happen.

Above image © Glessner Group with artist Guido Torres

At the residential area in Polanco that has seen changes in its zoning, houses have been transformed to office spaces or restaurants.

Sometimes things happen so unnoticeably, that just a small sign appears where a new space has been developed with a completely different program inside, while preserving its exterior.

Aware of this, Rojkind and Esrawe wanted to give enough strength to the new program that they proposed to transform the space inside out.

Taking advantage of the plot’s conditions, the parking space will be left where it is, to use the budget mainly for restructuring and renovating the house, stripping the residential interior and removing all familiar features to produce an entirely different environment.

‘We are being coherent with its culinary know-how and creating the accurate environment and situations for a gastronomical experience. The final result is achieved not only by working with the client but with his complete staff as well.'

Although the client’s requirements were oriented towards a Japanese interpretation, it was not literal, he wanted the place to have its own personal expression, contemporary and cosmopolitan, by enhancing its spatial existing conditions through different experiences, the new range of open spaces, its terraces, its sake bar and its own exclusive temple oriented to the highly demanding sushi lovers.

Maintaining a very intimate and subtle feel towards the first encounter with the exterior, once you enter you’ll find yourself in a terrace, where eating and drinking are embraced by natural vegetation.

The building’s organic façade and landscape were carefully designed to become an extension of the restaurant creating a strong relationship between the inside and the outside.

The interior receives and follows the exterior with subtle contrasts. Each room has its own nature and shows a clear relationship with its function. The furniture was inspired and made for Tori Tori and developed with a direct orientation through each space. During more than eight months a complete collection of chairs and tables where created, for both exterior and interior use.

‘We seek in the project a chance for the users to link with the different ambiances and choose their favorites. Each space’s materials, setup and characteristics towards the furniture generate a wide spectrum of options and sensations for its assiduous clients.’    I.D. Héctor Esrawe, ESRAWE studio

The Façade, which seems to emerge from the ground climbing up through the building, as if mimicking the natural ivy surrounding the retaining walls, is made up of two self-supporting layers of steel plates cut with a CNC machine and handcrafted to exact specifications.

'At rojkind arquitectos we are very rigorous about experimenting with digital design as well as getting things built.

That’s why we have specially focused on how to translate complex geometries into very simple and understandable drawings that benefit from local manufacturing, as is the case of working in Mexico City.

Our vast experience building over the past years has made us aware of the incredible local labor that would be very difficult to get in different countries.

Depending on the geographical location of new commissions given to the office we do enough research to understand in which area we can benefit from local conditions and enhance the final result to make it unique.’ Michel Rojkind, rojkind arquitectos.

The facade’s pattern responds to the inside openings, filtering light, shadows, and views that will constantly invade the interior spaces. An atmosphere enriched by the spectrum of subtle changes.


CITY_ Mexico City
CONSTRUCTION_ 629 sq.meters
PROGRAM_ Japanese Restaurant
CLIENT_ Dr. Katsumi Kumoto Kawasaki

ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT_ rojkind arquitectos [Michel Rojkind] + ESRAWE Studio [Héctor Esrawe]

rojkind arquitectos
PROJECT TEAM_ Tere Levy, Agustín Pereyra, Raúl Araiza, Carlos Alberto Ríos, Isaac Smeke Jaber, Enrique F. de la Barrera

PROJECT TEAM_ Ricardo Casas, Basia Pineda, Ian Castillo, Karianne Rygh, Alejandra Castelao, Jorge Bracho

FACADE CONSULTANTS [3D STUDIES]_ Kokkugia [Roland Snooks, Robert Stuart-Smith]
CONSTRUCTION_ ZDA desarrollo + arquitectura [Yuri Zagorin]
LIGHTING DESIGN_ luz en arquitectura [Arq. Kai Diederichsen]
AUDIO & VIDEO PROJECT_ NTX New Technology Experience
LANDSCAPE DESIGN_ entorno taller de paisaje
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER_ Ing. Juan Felipe Heredia
M.E.P._ QUANTUM Design

VISUALIZATION_ © Glessner Group []
INVITED ARTIST_ Photographer Guido Torres

Posted on Tuesday September 15th 2009 at 12:21 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Don’t get the facade… It could mean something with the openings being continuous with the pattern, or a more regular pattern could bring to op art, moiré effects… You could also connect the two layers together like some Erwin Hauer wall studies, but here is just a formal piece of beginning of 21st century meaningless cad-based thingy… Some need to understand it is not enough to say it’s “organic” to make sense !

  • MMM

    Amazing and lovely! I like it.

  • dha

    no convincing logic in the geometry of the facades ..
    It remains the doubt, what generates- and what defines this geometry..

  • gillesr

    I really like the carefully renderded perspective of the toilet. Interesting ventilation system and nice, warm colors.

  • Gollumpus

    Interesting looking. If it were my restaurant, I would be concerned about the number of edges where the clientele might mis-step and fall to one of the lower levels. Granted it’s not far, but you don’t have to drop too far to twist an ankle.


  • *MIRTEC*

    I wonder what kind of food they will serve, and if the atmosphere the architecture creates fits in… restaurants are about food, so we’ll have to wait till 2010 to judge if this is a good restaurant…
    there will be good toilets, that’s for sure…

  • audioinput

    wow, i like it much, fresh as always…

  • david

    its cool!

    sounds like gollumpus has some unresolved issues with twisting ankles; see a counsellor!

  • spectacle.

  • When wil it open?
    I really like it is in the night.

  • yimyim

    Sorry, but for me perhaps this seems to borrow too much and gives too little.
    …The facade is a ‘rip off/reference?’ to a well known Japanese architects iconic building, and its a Japanesse restaurant…argh… not for me…

  • It seems nowadays everyone is more decided to contrast rather than to do things right…
    Has Mr. “PRINCIPAL IN CHARGE_ Héctor Esrawe” thought about a remedy for the injuries of the waiters vertebral columns after having served the customers who seat “into” the ground floor level…?

    Please excuse my ironic tone but such an expensive effort for such an irracional outcome!
    At least you get published…

    All the best!

  • m

    I like the cross section – the relation of the different spaces is well thought. For me the façade is a bit of a shame. Perhaps instead a straight crossed structure with two layers of diagonals, like a crossed scandinavian fence, could give the design more subtlety of form – but I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me on this.

  • Gollumpus

    # david Says:
    September 15th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    its cool!

    sounds like gollumpus has some unresolved issues with twisting ankles; see a counsellor!

    Well, I have been accused of having a “twisted” sense of humor… Maybe the restaurant scene from “Playtime” (Tati) has scared me.

    I do like the look of the place, however, real life will always rear its ugly head to mess with design. People are not always the most stable of creatures; they fall over sometimes. They don’t do it intentionally. Maybe they’re a bit infirm and have balance issues. Maybe they’ve had a bit too much to drink. Perhaps someone bumps into them. If it happens on a “normal” floor, the business is more or less off the hook for any injury. If it happens in a place where there are uneven floor surfaces (like here), and there are no railings then the business runs the risk of a lawsuit.

    I would not be surprised to see some kind of “invisible” handrails or partitions introduced to this project, say some kind of shatterproof glass (or whatever the material is).


  • Interesting disposition and design, but I remember you on your lecture in Prague, when you presented your building with the similar design to that facade. It wants some change :) no hard feelings …

  • oldschool

    its definitely pretty. Though there is a lack of termination logic at the roof line, where the elegance of the metal lattice simply terminates. Is is simply empty formalism, a pastiche though?