Mon means fertile in Mapudungun, the Mapuche’s native language. This was a personal project that Susana Herrera and her former partner, José Heras, undertook when they first arrived in Chile after living in Barcelona. The commitment to repair and recover the tangible and intangible heritage goes through the entire project. Mon is a place that rescues the native and combines it with contributions from other cultures. It is a café, a restaurant and a bakery that fuses the local flavours of native peoples with the best of international cuisine, good music, a very urban atmosphere and novel design.

The first thing we thought when we saw the whole property was to definitely take away the number of unnecessary additions in almost every surface of the interior space. In the exterior, the same had to be done, and we took away everything that covered the excellent facade “decco”, almost rare nowadays in the city. This had to be rescued from so much bad intervention and be constituted as a contribution to the city. The external intervention consisted simply in “cleaning of aggregates” and clearing everything that was not original. In the interior we recover the great height that space used to have, to hang some white geometrical light membranes over some large public tables that forced the meeting between people. We also took out the added ceilings, we left the original beams exposed, and we recovered the feeling of space of the old property. We work the facade as an archaic screen. We use concepts that evoke what happens inside, to produce a game with the public and invite them to discover “what it is” and “what it says”. We chose concepts that function as “information stimuli” that could be read by both pedestrians and drivers waiting for the traffic light. Curiosity is transformed into a design intention, a “Mannerist” concept that encourages discovery. It is common to find in Mon, artists, actors, and creative people from different parts of the world. The cultural diversity of its dishes, its music and its atmosphere are typical of large cities. It is easy to compare the Mon with the gastronomic experience of SOHO, Paris, or Buenos Aires.

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