New York and Guatemala-based architecture practice Taller KEN has transformed a formerly unimpressive modernist block in San José, Costa Rica’s trendy Escazú neighborhood into a multi-volume boutique for local fashion brand Hija de Tigre. Evoking the label’s ethos and business structure—being run by women of different generations—the architecture and interiors project incorporates a full-color spectrum.
Renovating an existing building, the firm added additional concrete volumes and did away with obstructive ornamentation to render a more perfect cluster of boxes. Inspired, in part, by Latin American architects Luis Barragán and Ricardo Bofill, the facade is clad in a tropical gradient that ties all components of the architecture together.
“The facade is a consequence of the context,” Taller KEN co-founder and principal Inés Guzmán said. “Until very recently, suburban San José was farmland. Today it is gated communities of houses and convenience malls and shopping centers. For us, the project was an opportunity to make the stand-alone building “stand out” and bring a fresh, hip and colorful vibe to the surroundings and break from the standard palette of new constructions you see around.”
On the interior, layered tones and textures add depth to the space, informally coding the programmatic elements and merchandising. Custom furnishings evoke the volumetric nature of the building itself and are accompanies by cleverly-introduced display shelves and upholstered seats.
The airy and white-walled ground floor, devoted to home decor, accessories, and gifts is airy boasts a mosaic floor made of ceramic shards. The second level, devoted to casual wears and basics, is defined by a neutral palette and hand-made materials, including soft two-tone geometric pink floors, sand-colored stucco walls and textural accents, such as a yarn curtain and dark green velvet sofa.
“The third floor is more dynamic and designer-oriented, where clients are given special attention and styling services,” Guzmán added. “Elements of the space are curvy and feminine, yet with a bolder palette.” Striking black and white terrazzo floors, steel hangers, and yellow and black furniture offset the more formal merchandise on the third floor. Custom millwork stained a dark honey color is consistent on all three levels.