Studio Gram has designed Chica Bonita, a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, avoiding the culture’s stereotypical over-saturated colour palettes.

The venue, previously a bike shop and now a Mexican restaurant, strips back for the fit-out, making exceptions for the remaining stone archways, tin ceilings and parquet floors.

As the existing building fabric is protected under the building’s heritage listing, the details and surfaces are “added layers if you like, that can be removed to return the space back to its original condition,” says Studio Gram director, David Bickmore. 

The surfaces throughout are of a terracotta-orange, emulating the natural environment of Mexico’s deserts.

The tiles clad the entrance steps and service bar that lines the open kitchen, boasting a terrazzo-like countertop. 

Alongside the interior’s invitation to cultural welding of current and tradition, Chica Bonita’s menu’s, playing on minimalist naivety in the drawings accompanying its meals, and the simplicity of a landing page as its website, are all intricate tell-tale signs of its transgressional aesthetic. 

The studio has further assimilated the style of architecture on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula through step-like imagery protruding out of its walls and archways.