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Inside a Mexico City Penthouse Designed Around a Collection of Ancient Maps

Here be treasure(s).

Mexico City, Penthouse, Home Photo: Michael Calderwood

Some people collect cars; others collect historical artifacts, like, say, a comprehensive catalog of ancient maps and ceramics. Designing a home for such a set is no small task. To meet this challenge, a cartographically obsessed couple tapped Simon Hamui to map out (pun intended) the interior of their Mexico City penthouse, ancient pottery and all.

One of the strengths of Hamui’s practice is his furniture workshop, where the in-house team makes bespoke pieces for various interior projects. Most of the furnishings in this penthouse, then, are entirely custom, starting from the moment the elevator dings upon arrival. Instead of industrial, steel doors, Hamui made a more refined brass set with an extra layer of tempered glass behind them.

Hamui designed the library and lounge area to coexist with the owners’ extensive collection. “We incorporated a lot of materials that were very rich and lavish because of the the taste of the clients, like Macassar Ebony wood,” the designer tells Robb Report. This dark timber was used for the bookcase, along with aged brass and gold leaf backings. What’s most impressive about that piece, though, is the level of customization Hamui put into it. The bottom drawers are made of leather and brass; each contains just one of the owners’ ancient maps. Each can be easily propped up like an easel, instantly transforming it from a tucked-away relic to an on-display showpiece. The shelves themselves contain built-in lights, bouncing off the gold backing and illuminating the many tomes therein.

Mexico City, Penthouse, Design

The library room, which balances the clients’ antique collection with high-end materials and finishes.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

Other notable bespoke structures in this main space include the fireplace and the bar, both of which are made of Rosso Levanto marble, a deep red stone that automatically adds contrast to any space. The living room comes with its own secret exit as well—there’s a door hidden off to one side that looks like an extension of the bookcase. In reality, it’s an egress to the kitchen.

The bedroom is another room in the home that was tailor-made to suit the homeowners’ lifestyle. The bed itself is modular, so the mattress can be moved up or down depending on personal preference. A desk is attached to the back side of the leather-paneled headboard, and there are nightstands on either side of the bed that have retractable, iPhone-friendly outlets, as well as a holding tray for charging devices. “We studied what they were going to put in there; if they wanted to charge their phone close by or not close by,” says Hamui. “We did everything very, very carefully so all the cable management would be thought out and not visible.”

Mexico City, Penthouse, Design

A closer look at how maps are stored and displayed.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

At the foot of the bed is a retractable TV, which can be concealed in another brass-and-leather compartment when not in use. Amethyst tones are a recurring theme in the space—the desk has amethyst legs and the lamps attached to the headboard have similar, tiny stone details. A Mohair sofa sits just beyond the bed—its more neutral tones balance these small, purple-hued details.

Since the home required so much custom work, Hamui didn’t go it alone. He worked with architect Mauricio Gomez de Tuddo on the project, a long-time collaborator, as well as curator Daniel Liebsohn, who assisted with the collection’s arrangements.

Mexico City, Penthouse, Simon Hamui

The bedroom, which features a modular bed that allows the user to move the mattress up and down to their liking.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

Of course, bespoke interior details are great, but it’s hardly a penthouse without some jaw-dropping views. “Being a penthouse on a high floor and being a very big apartment, it pretty much has wraparound views all around Mexico City,” says Hamui of the vistas. “You definitely know you’re in Mexico City when you’re there.”

Check out more photos of the penthouse below:

Mexico City, Penthouse, Design

The bar.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

Mexico City, Penthouse, Design

The elevator.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

Mexico City, Penthouse, Design

The floating staircase.  Photo: Michael Calderwood

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