Champalimaud Design Ceiba

Champalimaud Design reveals design inspiration behind Ceiba at Conrad Orlando

Champalimaud Design recently completed the interiors of Ceiba, a contemporary Mexican restaurant at Conrad Orlando. 

Helmed by Director of Culinary Chef Stephen Ullrich and supported by Chef D’Cuisine David Merlo, the restaurant reflects a contemporary expression of Mexican cooking, telling the story of the country’s treasured dishes. 

Champalimaud Design has opted to splash sunset tones of burnt orange and garnet along the ceiling, walls and throughout the seating areas to create a play of light and shadows, unveiling a layered experience with rich textures and patterns. 

Champalimaud Design Ceiba
Photography: © Greg Ceo

Upon entering Ceiba through a crafted cast bronze door, the eye is immediately drawn towards wrap-around windows that offer full views of the surrounding resort and crystalline lagoon during the day, and evening fireworks from nearby theme parks at night. A chandelier of glass flutes layered like jungle leaves shimmers overhead and, at the centre of the room, the spotlight shines on the main bar, drawing inspiration from agave leaves and accented with dozens of artistic spirit bottles. A striking backdrop for a series of smoky glass bulbs, the bar is accessorized with playful iguana statues, situated within a decorative terrarium.  

The outdoor eating area, covered by a retractable roof, is complete with lounge-style seating, facilitating a coastal-inspired feel. The private dining area, set against a backdrop of gold tones can host groups of up to 30 people.

“Ceiba evokes a textured and atmospheric journey through one of Mexico’s ancient temples,” says Ed Bakos, Partner and CEO of Champalimaud Design. “The arrival was inspired by Mayan cenotes, inviting guests into a kind of otherworldly experience layered with sacred patterns and rich textures. We took an elemental, artisanal approach to materiality, casting intricately patterned wall panels, warm wood and rich metals, and playing with light and shadow along the stepped ceiling to create mood throughout the rooftop space. A retractable wooden screen shapes an adaptable experience for guests, alternatively adding space or creating a private dining room for more intimate gatherings. Orlando’s vast horizon line renders the rising and setting sun as contemplative, spiritual moments.”

Conrad Orlando Ceiba

Header photography: © John McKinnon