Pascal Arquitectos

A neo-Gotic residence from the turn of the century houses El Divino.
In the midst of one of Mexico City's prime stretches of real estate, Avenida de la Reforma, stood an eccentric neo-Gotic residence that had been abandoned for some 25 years. Not only was the building sinking and fraught with structural problems, but also it was characterized by cut-up interiors whose slight vestiges of charm had been all but obliterated by years of water damage. The place was "a mess," says architect Gerard Pascal, who, with his partner/brother Carlos, specializes in high-end residential building and interior projects. That it could be transformed into a decidedly chic restaurant and watering hole for an affluent 30s-and-over crowd is testimony to a client with vision and architects with skill, despite the fact that the latter had never before tackled a restaurant.

A dilapidated
in the heart of Mexico City's
commercial zone
is restored as home
to the restaurant
El Divino.

Gotic arches frame windows facing Avenida de la Reforma in one of the main floor's four dining rooms

The clients had a precise preconception that governed El Divino's program. There was to be a large and lively bar area for up to 500, yet in no way was this locale to resemble a discotheque. The restaurant, which would offer a menu of "international Catalan cuisine," would be a sprawling affair encompassing the diverse rooms of the house. Interiors were to portray a sophisticated restoration of their innate grandeur and accord subtle recognition to the Catalan art movement with its masters Dali, Gaudí and Miró. While the blueprint of the ground level was essentially retained, it never-theless underwent an intensive restorative operation that entailed removing flooring to reinforce the foundation and installing new wood floors as a warm counterpoint to the massive stonework of the building's perimeter. The upper level was demolished and reconfigured into two dining chambers that flank the upper portion of the main salon, which extends upward some 20 ft.
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