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Cobarde, The Latest Project From RootStudio, A Dialogue Between Minimalism, Vernacular Architecture, And Gastronomy

Project name:
Architecture firm:
Oaxaca, Mexico
Lizet Ortíz
Principal architect:
Joao Boto Caeiro
Design team:
Interior design:
Jacobo Marquez, Claudio Sodi
Built area:
280 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Josue Hernandez
Structural engineer:
Josue Hernandez
Environmental & MEP:
Rootstudio y Jacobo Marquez
Brick, Wood, Iron, Concrete, Glass
Tools used:
Hospitality › Restaurant & Bar

The studio based in the Valley of Oaxaca unveils its new offering in the city’s. Historic Centre, combining contemporary cuisine with the principles of sustainable architecture. The emblematic panorama of the Oaxaca Valley and the striking simplicity of building materials come together at Cobarde, the latest project by RootStudio, creating a unique atmospheres for food lovers to discover contemporary cooking and traditional spirits.

Set on the most important thoroughfare in the heart of the city, opposite the former Santo Domingo de Guzmán monastery, Cobarde is the second chapter in the gastronomic offering that first emerged in Puerto Escondido as a hideaway to enjoy original recipes from around the world, paired with a careful selection of mezcals. Three years later, Cobarde moves to the Oaxaca Valley, turning to RootStudio for the architectural program and interior design project of its new bar and restaurant, rising to its privileged location with an atmosphere of subtle elegance housed within a contemporary building.

This new commission incorporates the aesthetics and design contributions of Claudio Sodi and Jacobo Vázquez, who together undertake a reflection on the existing structure in order to use it as a basis for designing a barrier-free area, marked by pristine discretion and comfort. The result is a minimalist proposal that reinterprets elements of the vernacular style, such as bricks and earth, to which details of polished cement, steel, glass, concrete and recycled wood are incorporated.

In the bar, the soft lighting emphasizes its cozy character, while drawing attention to the natural brick with its red earth mortar, and the furniture designed with recycled wood and brass details. One of the principal pieces of furniture is the wrought-iron cabinet built to hold the blown-glass demijohns in which the house mezcal is aged to 2, 5 and 10 years. The terrace, by contrast, experiments with an open space that also provides intimacy, without hiding from the panoramic views over the towers and cupulas of Santo Domingo. The undulating form of the planter was conceived so that its curves offer private corners for diners, where they are sheltered by the greenery of endemic plants.

One of the signatures of RootStudio projects is the production of an aesthetic manifesto. At Cobarde this is expressed in the collaborations with Tezontle workshop and the artist Fulvio Capurso, Italian architect, illustrator and painter with a career encompassing publishing projects in Spain, Mexico, Panama, Portugal, Italy and Uruguay. At Cobarde, RootStudio reaffirms its vision, valuing local construction skills and knowledge, a feature that has won it international recognition as a firm that respects the environment and applies the principles of sustainability on a permanent basis.

Cobarde is the latest addition to RootStudio’s portfolio of projects, including Girl Move Academy, in Mozambique, Africa – twice nominated by Arch Daily, in the categories “Building of the Year” and “Educational Architecture” – Hotel Sin Nombre, Flavia Luxury Hotel, Casa Mulata, the San Agustín Etla High School, the José F. Gómez and Gabriel López Chiñas libraries, the Oaxaca Gastronomic Center, and the Rancho Cebu distillery in Tlacolula de Matamoros, all located in the State of Oaxaca.



Based in Oaxaca City and directed by João Boto Caeiro, RootStudio was founded in 2010 as a multidisciplinary studio that encompasses architecture, design, illustration, painting, and sculpture.

Over more than a decade of work, RootStudio has forged a unique signature that distinguishes it for its striking projects in Mexico and other latitudes. Its portfolio showcases its versatility when it comes to the most varied types of projects, such as residential buildings, productive and educational centers, sites for leisure and hospitality, whose common denominator lies in their harmonious integration with the landscape and a total commitment to social responsibility.

Entering a work by RootStudio means finding oneself in a dynamic, emotional atmosphere, where the pared-back simplicity is the result of a deep reflection on the mission of contemporary architecture.

By Liliana Alvarez

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