For anyone thinking that BÁSICO is about plain and bare design, think again. Themed around basic concepts with a strong local identity, the BÁSICO hotel challenges preconceived notions of what a design hotel should be, evoking images of an essential Mexico, glamorous, style-savvy and evidently young.
5ta Avenida y Calle 10 Norte Playa del Carmen 77710 Q. Roo, México
Located only a few steps away from the ocean, off 5th Avenue amidst the bustling centre of Playa del Carmen, BÁSICO opens its doors to a hedonist crowd with fifteen curious rooms distributed over two floors. Very traditional ideas of Mexican everyday culture are brought to life here. Public schools, “cantinas”, the petroleum industry and other references are present throughout the property.
Made out of a mixture of concrete and Caribbean sand, the newly built sand-coloured building fits in perfectly with the local beach atmosphere. The floors are also made of sand-shaded cement with red details, reminiscent of the typical “Mexican patio” style. In the interiors, a lot of plants, colourful details and rich textures remind guests of the country’s popular culture. Héctor Galván has made sure that most aspects of the interior design have been made out of recycled materials, resins, plumbing pipes, different woods, paint, cotton, rubber tires, plastic, glass and even latex.
Floors one and two house the fifteen air-conditioned rooms. White concrete walls, tile floors made in a nearby factory and intentionally exposed plumbing and electrical ducts create the design foundation in these spaces. The surprise elements are the floating beds and the details below and above them. Underneath the multipurpose high beds, guests find an array of fun objects including autographed footballs, magazine drawers, safe deposit boxes, floating tires for swimming and even complimentary beach club passes. A white Polaroid camera sits above the bed, waiting to capture special moments along with a journey notebook containing shopping and entertaining suggestions in the area. Each room has a tub and a large mirror in front of the bed. In keeping with the slightly industrial accents, curtains of white and black latex make reference to a tire shop without taking away any of the beach-like atmosphere of the spaces. And speaking of beaches, cameras survey the conditions of the ocean and the sunbathing crowds on the beach constantly, streaming video straight into the rooms for guests to view at the touch of a button on their plasma screen TV.
Using pink neon lamps and subdued lighting, the designers have aimed to create a constant sexual tension in the rooms, while keeping the common areas of the hotel immersed in persistent obscurity, reminding guests of the problems in distribution of electricity within the centralised power supply structure of Mexico. But don’t worry, we are not talking about complete darkness here, just be prepared to see the odd candle or energy-saving light bulb around the hotel.
On the top floor, the architects have designed what is now the Azotea Bar and pool area. Two petroleum water tanks serve as pools, offering superb views of the Caribbean Sea. Customised truck fronts serve as cabanas with built-in mattresses, while the remaining area is decorated with sporadically placed chairs and hammocks. In the steamy evenings, guests enjoy the sea breeze accompanied by the sounds of local DJs, a “marimba” and the projection of tropical films on the surrounding walls.
The design and architecture team behind BÁSICO have created a counter culture, a strong revision of Mexican nationalism speckled with popular accents all with the intention of amusing and entertaining national and foreign guests.
On the first floor Patio Restaurant, guests can also enjoy traditional family recipes of fresh local seafood, accompanied by hand-made tortillas prepared by chefs from the region of the Mexican Gulf. The open kitchen allows guests to choose their fish and side dishes, which will then be grilled in a homely atmosphere. A gigantic leafy tree offers shade and shelter for long and lazy lunches.