Renovating a derelict industrial building in Los Angeles’s up-and-coming Arts District is no small feat. For local firm Wick Architecture and Design, the “blank slate” assignment of outfitting a Mexican taqueria within a bare-boned structure represented a significant challenge but also an opportunity to make a bold statement. With the intent of creating a new outpost for an already popular Culver City haunt, it’s no wonder that the practice made such strides.
Opting to express the Loqui restaurant’s Mexican roots through a prevalent use of handcrafted and patinaed terra-cotta bricks, the firm transformed a cold, empty shell into a warm and inviting eatery. And yet, it was able to keep much of the original exposed pipes and concrete surfaces intact. The simple introduction of a single material made all the difference. By doing so, Wick Architecture and Design ensured that this rustically decorative yet geometrically restraint scheme wouldn’t be too overwrought or kitschy.
Arranged in interchanging vertical and horizontal grids, the embossed brick patterns help tie the project together while also articulating different indoor and outdoor areas.
Cut behind this internal skin is an olive green stucco corridor that leads to restrooms. On the other side of the restaurant, a blue trim white tile wall frames an open service line kitchen. The dimensional, tonal, and textural contrast between this rectilinear pattern and the terracotta bricks makes for a striking yet gentle interplay.