9.18.19 / Mexico City / Mexico

With Supra, Irina Lazar Adds an Artistic Flair to Mexico City’s Social Scene

Bringing people together through a symphony of the senses

To most people, Irina Lazar had a dream job. As an event producer, she traveled the world, met interesting people, and was privy to some of the most exciting events the creative industry had to offer. But when a new opportunity came along to open a bar and lounge in Mexico City, she had to take a leap of faith. The result is Supra, a social space set atop an unassuming building overlooking the city, along with its companion nightlife space & sound room Nova just a floor below. As her first hospitality project, Lazar made sure she didn’t miss a detail. The venues houses both Mexican and international artists—including work by Pau Malo, Carlito Dalceggio, Diana Garcia, Sara Nory, Ricardo Luevanos, and HYBYCOZO (along with Katia Guzman and Paolo Montiel who worked on Nova) among others—a diverse musical programming, vibrant food, and an eclectic scene to indulge in it all. More importantly, Supra and Nova give Lazar’s penchant for bringing people together a permanent home. It’s never been a more exciting time to be part of Mexico City’s thriving cultural scene, so we caught up with Lazar to learn about what Supra is bringing to it.

Tell me about your background, what were you doing before you went into hospitality?

I was an event producer for over 20 years; I produced everything from corporate events for the likes of Google and Amazon, to festivals and large scale gatherings such as Burning Man, as well as private and destination events all over the world. I became a producer because I love people and am deeply interested in the human experience, always exploring what intrinsic needs need to be fulfilled in order for us to live our lives in ways that allow us to achieve our greatest potential and happiness. Understanding people in this way is intimately tied to creating spaces that espouse and enhance their lifestyle, vision and aspirations. I have worked on hundreds of events which allowed me to become an expert on community building, experience design, and especially in the creation of inspired spaces that facilitate meaningful connections and memories.

What made you decide to open Supra?

It all started when a friend in Mexico City was planning to open a huge rooftop bar and club with international aspirations and a meticulous focus on design and experiential details. It was an ambitious and exciting plan. He asked me to come check it out, and when I saw the 360 views of the majestic, sprawling city, I was sold. I came on as the Creative Director and Lead Designer, having never had the official experience of designing a lasting space. He and the other partners gave me full creative freedom, trusting me wholeheartedly. I took the challenge as a way to channel the ephemeral experience design of events and translate them into permanent social spaces, which has now become the focus of my business.

[Irina Lazar]

Supra is described as a full-sensory experience – what kind of experience do you want your guests to have?

No event or social space is truly a complete experience without taking all of the senses into consideration. For me, the synthesis of the senses is what creates a feeling of elevation, immersion and connection. It’s a bit like a symphony where many different instruments are playing at once; and as the conductor I am here to create a beautiful wide-ranging harmony.

At Supra, the guest is taken on a journey. Our spaces are filled with art, featuring both Mexican and International artists. The pieces range from sculptures to murals to artisan craft – there’s something for every taste! We provide the opportunity to communicate with high art outside of the standard contexts of galleries and murals, surprising guests with the unexpected and bringing a cultural dimension to a space of social gathering.

Our food follows the history of spices as they traveled from the Far East to Mexico, each dish is carefully designed to frame different spice blends. This form of storytelling allows the guest to taste what connects us all, historically and culturally. Although we are a bar and eatery, we surprise guests with all-encompassing conscious programs which they may partake in, inluding such yoga classes, sound baths and various forms of meditation. Unlike many social spaces that identify with just one type of music, we introduce guests to a variety of sonic experiences such as DJ’s who play everything from House to Techno to Raggae, live jazz and rock bands and even improvisational jam sessions.

By creating this symphony of the senses, we are able to offer and nurture a profound feeling of inspiration and connectivity.

What did you look for when designing and furnishing the space, and how do they help achieve that symphony?

As I designer, I owe it to myself and my clients to go beyond just seeing what will fit well or look good given a specific space. I start by asking the questions: how will people feel? What do they need to feel connected to the setting and each other? How can a space make them feel comfortable and welcome?

By answering these questions I am able to create unique spaces that they will never want to leave. Ultimately people want to feel cared for, and attention to detail is how that is achieved. There must be a foundation of thoughtfulness in design in order to achieve this. When people’s feelings are considered right from the start of the planning process first and foremost, a space can really speak to them and set itself apart.

I love to do what is unexpected in order to offer elements of surprise and delight to the guests. At Supra, art played a primary role in the design of the space for this reason. I selected artists whose work and methods reflect our global need to re-connect with nature, the environment, the universe, cosmos and spirit. Their works communicate the values that we must adapt in order to make the world a better and healthier place.

From there I used experiences from my personal travels. I am inspired by layered textures and mixing unexpected elements with materials from around the world. I believe in craftsmanship and working with artisans as they are the ones that keep culture alive. Local Mexican heritage is so incredibly rich and we are proud to play our role in preserving it and exhibiting it to our audience. Supra is alive with this energy, you can feel the love that infused all our hand-made items. Also, it simply feels better to support local communities rather than buying mass-produced goods and I wanted to use the opportunity to inspire others to do the same.

Speaking of your travels, you’ve seen many Mexican-influenced bars and restaurants in places like New York. How is the food and drink menu at a place like Supra different?

It wasn’t easy coming to Mexico as a Gringa and challenging the almighty taco! But I wanted to tell a story of how the world is connected through food. We were fortunate that our chef, Josefina Santacruz, shared the same sentiment, creating a menu that stands out with originality within our area. Our challenge was that we are not a restaurant, but rather a bar that serves (deliciously satiating) food. So it was important to have many small, mezze-type shareable dishes packed with freshness, color and flavor that reflected the diversity of our world-inspired design, grounded in and yet still using the Mexican ingredients and flavors.

Mexico City is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination. Why did you choose to open Supra there, and how do you think the culture is changing?

I moved here for the culture and I certainly hope it does not change! I believe it’s becoming a popular destination because of it’s wild spirit, incredible art and architecture and most of all the people, who freely share their love and kindness with each other and anyone who visits. There is an undercurrent of love flowing through this city (and country) that I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. It’s really not about what you are doing here, but rather what you are feeling and how you are sharing that with others.

[Photos: Alum Gálvez]

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