In a neighborhood on the verge of rediscovery, JSa Arquitectura transforms a formerly hip hotel into a brand-new hot spot filled with work by emerging designers.
In Mexico City's central Cuauhtémoc neighborhood, the new Hotel Carlota revives a once-glamorous location. The 36-room hotel takes the place of Hotel Jardín Amazonas, a popular 1970s hangout that had fallen out of favor and lingered on into the 21st century as a run-down budget motel.
Today, as in the 1970s, the central courtyard is an oasis within the city. Along with a pool, the area is also home to a market-centric restaurant.
For architect Javier Sanchez of JSa Arquitectura, the transformation from motel to (boutique) hotel began with "urban-archeological work," as his team researched the structure's past lives. Digging through decades' worth of renovations, and, virtually, through Google Images, they found inspiration in the relaxed poolside glamour of the interior courtyard in its heyday—then updated it by losing dated touches like the AstroTurf patio and by streamlining the swimming pool into a modern, glass-edged refuge.
As one of the hippest new hotels in Mexico City, the JSa Arquitectura-designed Carlota is a hot spot teeming with work from emerging designers and young interior designers. A central courtyard still remains the heart of the 36-room stay with a pool and market-centric restaurant. The motel-turned-boutique hotel works off of the building’s decades’ worth of renovations to refurbish its more glamorous elements, while ditching dated touches. The mirrored-glass facade allows it to reflect the bustle of the street.
Originally dating to the 1970s, Hotel Carlota was revamped by JSa Arquitectura and completed in 2015. As part of the renovation, a pool became the focal point of the courtyard, and its modernized, streamlined design makes a dramatic statement.
Little remains of the former hotel except for the motel-style exterior corridors, which combine a concrete-brick lattice and plywood details.
Each room was designed by a group of young interior designers and features details like custom wood installations, concrete furniture, rugs by Lagos del Mundo, and works by contemporary artists curated by Arróniz Galería. The black stairs lead up to a private roof deck perfect for sunbathing and enjoying views of the city rising around the hotel.
The roof decks, restaurant, and public spaces all feature furnitute designed by La Metropolitana, a design collective that produces their furniture in a workshop in nearby Obrera. These pieces combine CNC-cut wood with cord woven using a Danish technique the designers learn by watching YouTube videos. Founded in 2008, the group is working to develop small infrastructures in different cities, each operating independently with local materials, local workers, and local suppliers.
The La Metropolitana team is also behind Taxonomía, a boutique and exhibition space on the first floor of the hotel. The store highlights a variety of Mexican designers working in everything from furniture and tabletop accessories to fashion design. Its multifaceted mission: support the local creative economy and discourage talent drain to other countries, all while providing a platform for the country's cutting-edge talent in an effort to encourage further growth.