Guadalajara – As far as design inspirations go, Wes Anderson and his pastel-coloured symmetrical future nostalgia have been everywhere in the hospitality sector in the past few years. But now, the pendulum seems to be swinging towards another purveyor of cinematic symmetry, albeit one whose compositions are darker and rather more devilish: the desperately tormenting worlds envisioned by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn.
Nowadays luxury is not about tangible things, but about ideas, concepts, experiences and curatorship
Apart from being the source code for fashion photographers and the odd Thai restaurant, the visual universes contained in Drive and The Neon Demon were also the inspiration for Mexican designer Juan Carlos Pulido, the mind behind H.O.L.Y., a speakeasy-style nightclub in Guadalajara.
Why such a reference? For starters Jalisco, the state that houses Guadalajara, is where both tequila and mariachi were born. In other words: Jalisco knows how to party. ‘The people of Guadalajara are [some of] the most demanding consumers in the country,’ Pulido explained. ‘So we used our budget in a creative way, with elements that surprised our patrons, because we think that a good concept doesn’t need millions behind it. Good taste can’t be bought!’
Jalisco, the state that houses Guadalajara, is where both tequila and mariachi were born. In other words: Jalisco knows how to party.
The choice in elements was determined by today’s fluctuating definition of luxury. ‘[Nowadays] it’s not about tangible things, but about ideas, concepts, experiences and curatorship,’ the art director said. That meant choosing lighting tech that projects a wide set of beams atop custom-made crosses that a specialized cabinetmaker built out of parota – a local type of wood. He also selected pyramidal mirrors emerging from the ceiling, in order to mystically integrate clubgoers into the space.
Beyond that, there’s the group of decorative elements that hide H.O.L.Y. in plain sight: located atop a comfort-food restaurant with an innocent yellow facade, only those in the know can access the spot – or those driven to curiosity by the four neon crosses and the black marble wall that line the covert entrance. And still, in order to go in, you’d need to be a member – with the ring on your finger to prove it – or be invited by one. This secrecy helps the club maintain the mood: half Dámaso Alonso essay, describing the mythical parties that the poets of the Spanish Generación del 27 engaged in, and half The Exterminating Angel, the Luis Buñuel film where time surreally disappears.