Masala Republic at Hyderabad, by RMDK Architects

Masala Republic by RMDK Architects

Masala Republic by RMDK ArchitectsA chic restaurant in the young city of Hyderabad, Masala Republic is designed as a celebration of the quirks, vibrance and liveliness of the youth and their aspirations. Conceptualized by Dhruva Kalra of RMDK as a rich sensory experience with the playfulness of modern aesthetics, this restaurant is the perfect balance of elegance, comfort and contemporariness.

Embracing the client’s proclivity for innovation, luxury, freshness and simplicity, this space is cozy, young and dynamic with an ingenious overlay of materials, lines, colours and textures. The space is treated as an elaborate art palette, combining various details together, representing the extensive multi-cultural and inclusive and innovative menu of the restaurant. Spread over two levels, this restaurant builds a distinctive visual narrative with individualistic spatial treatments for the ground floor, the upper floor and the outdoor ice-cream section.

The highly minimal and modern entrance with grey toned, arched, French doors with huge glazing, create a striking impression and a visual fluidity, drawing visitors in. The interiors are a mix of rustic warmth, sleek modernity, and classical sophistication, with a base color palette of earthy neutrals and warm greys. The Herringbone flooring and accent walls, along with the exposed wooden in rough cut wood, emphasize on the versatility and beauty of natural wooden tones and textures, giving the space a balanced contrast and a welcoming ambiance.

The plaster and patina textured walls make for a unique art feature, further highlighted with the delicate copper arch panels, and dull gold spoked wheel lighting installations. The arched high chair seating area is designed as a stand-alone art exhibit in contemporary grey, with engraved wooden blocks and patchwork floor tiles. Artistic lights, relaxed furniture along with the fusion of rough-cut wood and patchwork tiles for the food service counter, ties the entire space together, creating a refreshing experience.

The formal dining on the upper floor is an indulgent space with luxurious flooring in black granite with white streaks, black and white Herringbone patterned tiles with monochrome patchwork tile detailing, and wooden flooring. The suspended wooden and linear lighting rafters create an interesting play of the ceiling inside the main dining area. The mono-striped walls and tables, along with monochrome furniture, wooden accent wall, indoor planters and minimal lantern lighting create mutedly lavish and graceful gastronomic experience.
The copper pendant light installations, sandwiched between the huge, minimal glass glazing, and the geometric, wooden wall divider in the semi outdoor seating, act as an artistic ceiling panel, thus creating a stunning experience. The hanging metal frames, and the blue and yellow furniture further add a vivacity to the entire space.

Masala Republic, thus, plays with different volumes, materials and functions to create an Avant Garde expression of contemporary art and luxury, integrating the whole space into a nonchalant, bold and scintillating sensory experience.

The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED

The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED 6

In a remote village of Karnataka; Udagirinallapanahalli, Manohara and his friends had the most conventional village school tale. Two dark, boxy classrooms; one of which non-operational, a compound and a flag post were collectively called their “primary school”. The walls sure had the alphabet as mural art, but what it lacked, was some natural light to be able to read it. The compound sure was spacious, but all they could do was glide on the soil. It was not the most tragic scene, but not happy enough to motivate them to be regular at school.

The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED 8

So Manohara and friends were found running with the tyres, climbing the trees, playing chauka-bara, but none of this required the venue to be the school, their village alleys were enough. Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child”, indeed, it’s very serious stuff.
So we did just that, used “play” like our trump card to fight the rising problem of absenteeism in village schools. After all, 70% of India does reside in the village and as the Mahatma says, so does the future of India.

The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED 16The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED 18

Design Process
We observed the children play, looked around for our best resources, communicated in broken Kannada and put together a locally sourced vernacular playground for Manohara and his friends. It took 20 architecture students, 6 weeks, and some local support funding to do this. Our design goals were simple; local materials, local craftsmen, low embodied energy, quick construction and some smiling kids!
To meet the goals, our primary material palate was sourced from within 50km of our site. Nilgiri (Eucalyptus) timber, earth, scrap tyres, bamboo, old bike chains and ropes added up to make the rides.

Timber construction would have regularly raised a few eyebrows, but in this case, it was a boon rather than a bane. Plantation of excess Nilgiris has led to an adverse effect on the water table of Karnataka, leading to a state-wide ban of its plantation. The timber of the tree is strong and uniform in size, proving it to be a great choice as structural members. The villagers often use it to retro-fit roofs for their verandas during monsoons. Understanding the material with the local carpenter, we designed, what we like to call, the “belan” (rolling pin) joinery to use the timber efficiently for the rides.
Automobile waste such as old tyres and bike chains are quite a liability in small towns. Discarding them adds a negative impact on the environment, they are highly combustible and add to the landfill. Recycling these tyres and chains to make rides was economically and ecologically beneficial.


Earth from the site, mixed with cement and straw, resulted in compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEBs). These blocks were used to make houses in the village, we borrowed some to make an outdoor classroom for the school. Bringing back a hint of the gurukul system, one of the most successful teaching systems of ancient India.
A swing, a see-saw, a tyre tunnel, a balancing grid and an outdoor classroom, boxed by a colourful compound wall, acted as a magnet for the gang…even on holidays!
Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy said, “Build your architecture from beneath your feet.” The playground followed just that, and almost 2 years later, it still stands tall, witnessing every child’s jump!

The Vernacular Playground in a remote village of Karanataka, by GrassrootED 28

Next Step
Taking our initiative forward, GrassrootED is committed to bringing more such changes in the rural education scenario through architecture and design. We invite volunteers to join us yet again as a part of The Nilgiri Project, to build more such vernacular playgrounds. Our Phase 1 begins in October 2019, at Chikkballapur District, Bangalore, Karnataka. Contact us for more.


Best of Asia Village, Interior design for a restaurant at Delhi by Aspire Designs

Best of Asia Village Restaurant - Aspire Designs

Asia is an amalgamation of many cultures and when it came to creating a visual rendezvous for a restaurant, the inspirations needed were endless extraordinary and incredible.

Best of Asia Village, a restaurant developed on the lines of Asia’s cultural heritage, variations of food and historical background. The restaurant has fine dining area, covered casual seating, open and semi-covered terrace seating and private dining/ open party area.
The underlying concept behind zoning the areas came from the Chinese mythology concept of Earth, Sky and Heaven above.
The main floor being the Earth (Diqiu). This Earth looks up to the Sky (Tiankong), i.e. the Terrace level with its openness and further climbing up to another height i.e. the Heaven (Tian), the private sojourn.

Best of Asia Village Restaurant - Aspire DesignsThe restaurant spread over three levels is accessed from a lift and a series of steps lined with plants and welcoming flowers. At this stairway itself Japanese ideology of relationship of architecture with outdoors becomes imminent.

A wood bordered gateway leads to the main level, entering into a large double height space. Relating to the Japanese Architecture, this is the Central space also called the “Moya.” A sacred central space that holds and connects all the other areas. The Three levels look into this central space.

At the Moya one is greeted by two large statuets inspired by the sculpture art forms of South East Asia.

Best of Asia Village Restaurant - Aspire DesignsThe walls of this space is covered with relief carving stone depicting culture and stories from ancient Angkor Wat.
One side the floor extends as a fine dining seated area where walls are turned into traditional moon windows with Chinese wooden fretwork, rustic wooden lintels and large lit up windows and dragon medallions. Between these moon window panels is the Lift entry which faces a large Buddha face inspired from the carved mountains of Cambodia.

The ceiling here is a series of interlaced old Chinese window panels on the sides and random array of hanging wooden battens in the central aisle, leading the eye to the central space. These are dotted with hanging cylindrical lamps.

The layout and design of the space is simple but made with attention to detail and intricacy, incorporating natural materials like stone, wood and silk.

The presence of Five elements from the Chinese philosophy is achieved through placing Water at the entrances and a water fall in front of the lift; placing candles on tables and back lit Fire Albaster as backdrops on both ends of the hall depicting Fire; abundant Stone flooring and wall cladding for Earth; Metal laminate cladding and tables bases and other fittings bringing in the Metal element; and Wood lintels and tables.

The double height face of the Moya houses a Bar under the statuets and a DJ counter between them at a mezzanine level. All with a backdrop of lit-up Chinese panels. The space looks up towards a glass roof with hanging Origami lit up birds as if flying in the open sky.
Passageways on sides of the bar lead to the washrooms on one side and the Upper level on the other side through a serene staircase where one is mesmerized by the wall carvings of the Chinese fan (Sensu) and tableware. These steps lead to a seating area within a glass structure that unites the interior with the landscape outside. The large glass panels allow light to enter the depths of the main floor and keep the upper seating as if in the outdoors.

Around this is a large terrace with a long impressive bar and grill with extended buffet counter and backdrop with dragon motifs. The lit up jali work counter and hanging lanterns are covered with pergola.

Lined above this are the Seven Mudras depicting the various concepts of Wheel of Life in Buddhism through large hand sculptures on the wall above, visible from the whole terrace. Another side of the terrace is a series of semi-covered Gazebos enclosed with luscious palms. A stone gateway frames the lift entry on one side.

Natural materials and rustic finishes are used extensively and combined with intricate patterns to maintain simplicity and connect with nature.

A large feature wall is another highlight, with stone relief work of the Great Wall of China and the grand mountains rising above. This wall is further accentuated with wall hung lamps depicting the traditional custom of floating lanterns, decreasing in size as they rise and also marking the way from the main Sky Terrace to the “Heaven” above. A curved open staircase along this wall leads to the Upper terrace.
The Upper terrace in contrast to the main terrace is introvert, open above but surrounded by a luxurious thick belt of plants, and a series of columns with traditional buttresses and hanging lights. This space can be used as private dining and party area, the space holds a private bar and direct access to washrooms.

Asian design is based strongly on craftsmanship, beauty, elaboration and delicacy. The Restaurant aspires to reinterpret these traditional values with modern sensibilities.

Gold’s Gym at Kolkata, by Maniramka & Associates

Gold's gym

gold's gym

The Gold’s gym aims to provide a zestful experience in contrast to the dense surrounding urban environment. The luxurious experience to the fitness enthusiasts is aided by a systematic and orderly space layout with elegant interiors in synonymy to all its . Gold’s Gym’s architecture and interior design speaks perfectly to the current market, in spite of strict budget, fast construction and maintenance free considerations of client. It provides a multi-generational appeal that can’t be readily found in other fitness centres. The international feel and customised workout experience through articulated spaces were factors driving the choice of materials for interior ambience.

Hunka Hunka Town at Chandigarh, by group DCA

DCA Hunka Hunka Town
DCA Hunka Hunka Town

Set amidst the urban backdrop of central Chandigarh, Hunka Hunka Town is a space where the design speaks of its intention, and endorses the theme it was designed and built upon. Hunka Hunka Town came up with the idea of returning to the roots, a hang-out corner paying its tribute to the sixties and seventies of rock and roll, which defined music and lifestyles in the coming years.


This small restaurant, which focuses on the emerging pop trends of the sixties and seventies, was executed keeping in mind the specific requirements of the client. Following a retro background to portray the old school rock, this place has successfully been able to recreate that feeling to make it coherent to the young and contemporary. Creating an ambience needs much more than a simple interior facelift and the architects have walked the extra mile to engage all the senses of the user to provide them with a holistic experience. By tapping into people’s desire to feel a sense of belonging and meaning, group DCA has conceptualized the restaurant with an emotion that connects with their audience.

The challenge was to establish ‘a connect’ – recreating a spatial experience based on the core philosophies of the sixties in the twenty-first century. This required much more than just architectural expertise. The design involved an understanding of utilizing contemporary sensibilities to create an aesthetic that is archaic and contextual to a past time. Visualized as a social experience for millennial consumers, the whole ambience of the restaurant lends an immersive form of nostalgia. One instantly perceives the shift in paradigm upon walking in – from the straight and streamlined city of Chandigarh to the chic and classy ambience of Hunka Hunka Town. A chequered terrazzo chessboard floor and a predominant black and white theme transports you to the ages when monochrome was the new trend. The central seating features a long series of lighting fixtures arranged in parallels; the custom made fixtures are made from old vinyl recordings especially sourced to provide an aura unmatched. Being the most prominent visual element, these fixtures provide the theme of nostalgia to the restaurant.

The use of a minimum number of colors paired with the light finish of the walls and a combination of double seaters and suede leather finish sofas provide guests a soothing space for relaxation. Too much variety has intentionally been avoided to bring in a laid back yet jazzy persona to the space. The walls are covered with numerous posters displaying iconic rock legends performing live as well as vinyl records that have been sourced from multiple places for this purpose. Replicas of the dresses that Presley used to wear while performing live have been put on display. Guitars, gramophones and a host of other antiquities have been sourced, curated and placed on careful display. The subtle iconographies and the washroom signages have been strongly inspired from musical notes, and do the job of unifying the entire space to the broader theme of music.

The crown jewel of the restaurant is the bar. The leather chairs sit in perfect harmony with the matte black finish of the bar counter. The liquor counters at the back are constructed in a staggered pattern, offering charming views. Custom manufactured lights have been fixed inside unidyne microphones, sourced exclusively, and hung at varying lengths over the bar, creating an interesting interplay of light and shadows when lit.

Hunka Hunka Town does justice to the design; it serves its honest purpose of recreating an experience that connects the past to the present. It was designed to be a place for millennials to unwind – and in that, it boldly reverberates the vibe of the sixties.

Project Facts

Typology : Hospitality
Name of Project : Hunka Hunka Town
Location : Sector 26, Chandigarh
Principal Architect : Amit Aurora, Rahul Bansal
Design Team : Maninder Kaur, Sidharth Gaba, Tanvi Sehgal
Built-Up Area (sq ft & sq m) : 2065 sqft.
Photographer : Andre J.Fanthome

Scroll up, Cafe ‘n’ More at Jaipur, by Studio Infinite

Sroll Up Jaipur by Studio Infinite

Sroll Up Jaipur by Studio InfiniteClient’s Brief
Our client being new in the restaurant industry was looking for a place where he can cater clients of all age groups, be it a young 10yr old kid or a 65 yr old retired grandfather. The cuisine they were to serve was purely vegetarian, that covered the basics of any restaurants food menu. With regards, to design of the space, they were looking for a space that breathes within itself and gives visitors various choices of seating to rest in, be it indoors or outdoors.

Concept Note

Initial ideas were towards designing a raw and rustic cafe, but with time after discussions with the client and getting clarity over the brief that they had for their space, we suggested them to go with interiors that are crisp and finished with intricacy infused with a play of abstract design into the elements that will make the space. Abstract being a very strong and sensitive design element, it was used in multiple areas to work out the interior designs in a balanced composition such that it renders a space that is soothing to a commoner’s eye, and becomes a space that befits a human while he/she is having a peaceful morning breakfast or a serene dinner.

Design Process

The design process being directed towards abstract art was varied and experimental in its very own way. Abstract Interactions for multiple elements of space from the false ceiling to flooring to furniture, to even placement of lights, were developed to be eventually clubbed together to form a space that becomes soothing and calm for occupant be it from any field or any age group. Similarly, abstract was carried from indoor to outdoor spaces, wherein we started our designing with semi open shaded area, and then turning the same shade towards one side and reciprocating it with a wall again in abstract openings though regular in shape on the other side, clubbing in with the wireframe furniture that is modern and contemporary in style.

Fact File : 
Project – Scroll Up (cafe n more)
Location – Jaipur, Rajasthan
Architect – Ar.Shivang Agarwal
Team – Ar.Kannan Ram
Site Area – 2500 sq. ft.
Built-Up Area – 1750 sq. ft.
Project Category – Commerical
Initiation of Project -October 2017
Completion of Project – January 2018
Photographs – Studio Bluora

Vortex West at Mumbai, Interior Design by Studio Emergence

Vortex West - Studio Emergence

Vortex West - Studio EmergenceDesigned by Studio Emergence, Vortex west is a one of a kind night club located in the heart of Mumbai, just off linking road in Bandra. It sprawls across 2000 sq. ft. space and boasts a large dance floor and a bar.

Seeja Sudhakaran & Khusbu Davda, Principle Architects at Studio EMERGENCE said, “The client wanted a space which will embody the word Vortex and all it entails. The idea was to create a futuristic space which has lighting and architecture design integrated seamlessly to seem as one. We wanted to submerge people into not only in good music & food but in an atmosphere that makes every day boring life feel distant”.

The entire length of the club was curved up to create a converging point at the end of the space symbolizing a ‘Vortex’ and the main DJ unit was planned at this center focus point. The flow of people and their movement in the space was the imminent step towards design decisions. We needed to ensure a smooth passage for people so that it doesn’t get overcrowded and maneuvering through the space becomes very difficult. The entrance leads one to a fully open space. The bar was planned on one side to facilitate easy access from the dance floor. Space culminated with the DJ console and raised platforms for dances. The entire space being L shaped, gave us an opportunity to create VIP seating and lounge area as a part right next to the DJ console.

The main wall that runs from the entrance to the back wall is completely curved up and it forms the key element of the space. This shape was achieved with complex 3D computation technology wherein the shape was derived with certain structural parameters and the desired output requirements. This shape was later converted into panels which could be digitally fabricated using a CNC machine and retrofitted on site. We had a total of 50 such portals each of which comprised of around 10 eight feet by 4 feet CNC cut sheets. The entire portals had to be sound absorbent and conducive to loud music played in the club, the materials used were based on this.

These portals also had LED light strip running through them which were all connected to each other via loops so that the entire club can have music coordinated lighting at all times which looked like a spiral lighting patterns running throughout the club.

“We wanted to offer a sensory experience to the guests, who are invited to play with the light of the landscape composed of lines and curves which culminate in a vibrant, ephemeral & interactive interior space” – said Khusbhu Davda & Seeja Sudhakaran.

Raheja Reflections Club, at Mumbai, by GA Design, Sachin Goregaoker

Raheja Reflections Club, at Mumbai, by GA Design, Sachin Goregaoker 102

Raheja Reflections Club, at Mumbai, by GA Design, Sachin Goregaoker 104Reflections Club is the center piece of this lovely complex Raheja Reflections at Borivali in Mumbai.

The stylishly designed reception area in Grey Italian marble floor and veneer paneled wall looks warm and inviting. The ceiling is interesting with criss-cross cuts for indirect lighting. The ground floor accommodates a huge gymnasium overlooking the swimming pool, along with spa and shower facilities for men & women separately and a party hall. The design of the gymnasium is modern and funky, targeting young enthusiasts with a grey & orange colour palette. The mirror design in a rectangular frame with rounded corners is complemented by similar shapes in the ceiling with indirect lighting and a deep rust colour. The party hall which is perfect for any social event, has huge sliding doors which open into the lush green lawns. One of the walls forms an interesting backdrop with inserts of mirror panels of differing sizes. The ceiling complements this visual with panel lights of differing sizes. The spa & shower areas have colours that are unanticipated – the gents’ with blue tiles and grey marble and ladies’ with yellow tiles and grey marble. Both areas have a lovely mural in black & white mosaic tiles in the Jacuzzi sections, exuding energy and positivity.

The first floor houses a large multipurpose hall which opens up to a terrace garden, and a games area on the other side which include carom, chess, table tennis & pool. The interiors of the indoor games area again is lively and spunky to create the energy required to be tuned in to games. An engaging feature of the games area is a visual partition which is a white laser cut screen in a geometric design.

The club house design is stylish and cheerful with a comfortable vibe, a strong colour palette and attention to detail playing an important role right through the design process.

Project facts:

Project Name: Raheja Reflections Club
Location: Raheja Reflections, Borivali, Mumbai
Area: 10,000 sq.ft.
Client: Raheja Universal
Designer: Sachin Goregaoker – Partner
Completion Date: 2017
Photographs: Prasad Sakru

Indo-Japanese Tea House and Cultural Centre at Delhi – First ever architectural project by SpaceMatters with Sanjeet Wahi

Indo-Japanese Tea House and Cultural Centre - SpaceMatters with Sanjeet Wahi'

Indo-Japanese Tea House and Cultural Centre - SpaceMatters with Sanjeet Wahi'

Project name: Indo-Japanese Tea House and Cultural Centre
Architect : SpaceMatters with Sanjeet Wahi
Client : India Center Foundation
Typology : Institutional
Location : Delhi, India
Site area : 10,000  sq.ft.
Status: Built
Year: 2005

“The slowness and lingering beauty of small things that a Japanese tea house embodies was forced to come to terms with Indian enterprise and craftsmanship. Architecture had to mediate this difficult marriage.”

How does one design and build a Japanese Tea House in New Delhi in 50 days?

One of our first projects, the Tea House was an intense introduction to many things all at once – design as an intercultural dialogue, building with wood, building in general, communicating design to craftsmen, combining modularity with the quirks of hand-made, and working against crazy deadlines.

When we were approached for this project, it was an opportunity for friends to collaborate. At this point in our lives, we were trying out different things without committing to a singular career path. While working on this, we discovered that this collaboration had synergy capable of producing something worthwhile. SpaceMatters was born out of this intense experience.

The India Center foundation, an NGO working on Indo-Japanese cultural relations was the client. We broke ground six weeks away from the diplomatic visit by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The strict timeline came with an ambitious brief to build an all-wood structure, true to the refined traditions of Japanese Tea house, with a hint of Indian influence. We had the luck of interfacing with a supportive client who made funds accessible, but also kept a check on quality. This project familiarised us with the ground realities on site, and being challenged in this manner made us reconsider our attitude towards the built environment, to attention to detail, and quality of construction we are satisfied with.

The key to the project was discovering the concept of wabisabi, a key that has helped unlock the promise of many projects at SpaceMatters since. Wabi-sabi – finding beauty in the incomplete and imperfect, is a philosophy that deeply influences Japanese aesthetic, notably traditional tea houses. Incomplete and imperfect are values usually negatively associated in India, especially in the design and construction fraternity. It was a surprise to see a concept interpreting these words differently, celebrating seeming imperfections as uniqueness, respectfully recognising that the passage of time imbues every action and object with an inherent incompletion, a story yet to unfold.

It was important to find a common ground between the Indian and Japanese cultural outlook, reconciling functions, site conditions and availability of materials and craftsmanship, with the proportion, aesthetics and essence of tea houses. We chose to import few elements – specifically the shōji paper and tatami mats – and procure the rest locally which became a fundamental determinant of design. Indian timber – pine, sal and deodar or cypress were used extensively in the structure while the sacred alcove or Tokonoma had hints of the rich and unyielding Bubinga. The landscape of the traditional tea house has many thoughtful elements  – every pathway is an opportunity to design a small journey for the visitor – with pauses and paces, elements to playfully distract and elements to focus. A similar approach was needed albeit with Indian plants and shrubs to create a simple walking path with moments of rest – a lit stone lantern or tōrō, a washbasin and carefully placed stones called yaku-ishi – all of which guide and highlight the walking experience.

Days before the inauguration of the Tea House, a tea house builder arrived from Tokyo. Seeing the chaos, he made a fast transition from shocked paralysis to rolling up his sleeves and getting into the swing of things with the rest of us. His beam of gobsmacked pleasure on the day of the inauguration at us having pulled it off is still one of the best moments of the project.

At around midnight the day before the inauguration, as we all settled for a warm chai break around a bonfire, a young apprentice carpenter piped up to ask what all the fuss was about – what was the function being conducted the next day for which we were all up till dawn putting the last pieces into place. There was much laughter on seeing his dumbfounded face, when we tried to explain that there will be a ‘tea’ ceremony – tea being one of our great levellers, one that is treasured as an ice breaker and dissolver of formalities.

It is also a wonder and elation that has accompanied the closure of many projects – the grind ends, the dust settles, the many worker bees all evacuate and suddenly just like that from being the centre of attention the building becomes a setting as life takes over.

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Interior Design: The Bar Cat at New Delhi by Also Architects

The Bar Cat - Delhi, Also Architects
The Bar Cat - Delhi, Also Architects
Image: Frozen Pixel

The Bar Cat is a prohibition-era inspired jazz bar with fine dining that provides a venue for Delhi’s upcoming jazz music culture. An interiors project with a modest budget, the design is a modern take on the 1920’s Art Deco style, synonymous with the Jazz Age, and an attempt to create the gesamtkunstwerk ethos of the era through furniture design, material and color choices, fixtures and murals. Popularly recognisable Art Deco motifs like the sun-burst, were used in a new minimal material palette of marble, granite and painted metal grills. Since the bar is located on the 3rd floor of a commercial building with multiple tenants, priorities included detailing adequate sound proofing and ensuring acoustic performance for live jazz shows in the existing low height space.

Response to an urban context

The Bar Cat, Delhi, Also Architects
Axonometric Layering

With its minimalist, but high contrast grey and white exterior, The Bar Cat attempts to both merge in and stand out in the medley of colorful facades, multi colored billboards and neon lights that compete for attention in South Extension Market, Delhi. This upmarket commercial district fronts the Inner Ring Road, one of Delhi’s busiest urban arterial roads. Fully utilizing its prime location facing the road, from its 3rd floor vantage point, the bar opens to its visitors a panorama of city lights through a 4 panel grilled window. During the day, while it functions primarily as a quiet fine dining restaurant, this large north-facing window bathes the entire bar in diffused natural daylight, while affording pleasant views over the treetops. At night, the space transforms into a glitzy dimly lit bar, with subdued yellow lights that create a mellow ambience centred towards the focus-lit stage while creating a glowing Art Deco facade for those looking up from the road. The side wall which faces the adjacent building is given lesser fenestration with small circular windows, thereby restricting views and importantly focusing the entire space on the large window and the performance area.

Zoning for performances

The Bar Cat, New Delhi, Also Architects
Floor Plan

The radial zoning of the plan, with lines centred at the stage is reflected in the marble and granite flooring. The 3 level seating area alternate black and white stone flooring, creating 3 different unobstructed viewing heights and experiences of the live performance. Unique anthropometric configurations of sitting and lounging are staggered in the tight space leading up to a performance stage and the overall layout accommodates the functional requirements of a gourmet kitchen and cocktail bar.

The Line and the Circle

The circle and the line are the primary elements used in a design process that layers geometries generated by these elements at various scales and in differing configurations. As these compositions are superimposed onto the planes/surfaces that enclose the space, they are further interpreted as architectural elements: the flooring pattern, the window grills, the railing details, etc. The result is a space that is a three dimensional lattice of lines and curves, physically or visually linked and articulated through a distinct but simple material palette in black, white & grey.

More images:


Project Facts:

Project name: The Bar Cat
Architect’s Firm: Also Architects
Project location: E-17, South Extension Part 2, Delhi, India
Completion Year: 2017
Gross Built Area: 2035 square feet
Lead Architects: Rita John & Arsh Sharma

Other participants:

Contractor: BKS Engineering Contract Pvt. Ltd
Furniture Design and fabrication: Upneet Kaur
Kitchen and Bar Consultancy: Allied Hospitality Solution
Photo credits: Suryan//Dang, Frozen Pixel & Thomas George

Castro Cafe at Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi, Romi Khosla Design Studio

Castro Cafe at Jamia Milia Islamia University - Romi Khosla Design Studios

Castro Cafe at Jamia Milia Islamia University - Romi Khosla Design StudiosA Cafeteria in a University Campus located near Auditorium, Cultural Center, Mass communication, was expected to become hub of all social activities of the Campus. Due to the extreme climatic conditions of New Delhi, where the summer sees temperatures of above 45 degrees centigrade, and the winters often see temperatures below 5 degree centigrade. Most student canteens in India are not air-conditioned, and are often poorly ventilated, making them very hot and oppressive in the summer and very cold in the winters. This canteen was proposed as a ‘Semi open air Cafe’. This allowed to have an ambient temperature for most of the year along with good ventilation, and a variety of degrees of shade from the climate. The design is truly unique and contemporary and we feel, will herald a new age of Architecture for the University.


CafeThe building block has a kitchen block to the east, which is a fully enclosed space to cook and serve in. As One walks along the length of the building westwards, initially the eating enclosure is defined by two walls and a roof, further still the sense of interior is defined by one wall and the roof, further still the space is articulated by only one wall, and yet further still, there is only the floor, and then that too stops continuing.

Throughout this changing sense of interior and exterior, the eating surface and the seating surfaces continue, almost acting like stitches that tie this entire space together.

The idea was to try and blur the boundaries between inside and outside, where these undefined boundaries act as a negotiator between the user and the climate of Delhi.

All the elements of the building are defined distinctly and independent from each other. The walls don’t touch the floor and the roof does not touch the walls.

This was the first steel building built at the university campus.

Kitchen: Marble Cladding over kitchen walls comes in handy for this kind of busiest place.

Eating Area: Waste off cuts of marble stacked on its side, elevated from the floor on a steel I – section

Floor: Kota stone is the hardest locally available stone. Its slabs have been used for flooring, skirting, dado, risers of steps etc. keeping in view the high expected usability of the building.

Coated galvanized iron sheets lay over steel framework

Perforated aluminum sheet has been used as a ceiling so as to reduce noise levels within the canteen. Lights have been concealed in this ceiling to achieve a clean soffit.


Benches: Precast RCC, with Sheesham wood tops.

Tables: RCC with granite top.


Kitchen: RCC and Brick
Eating Area: Steel

Project Facts:

Principal Architects
Romi Khosla, Martand Khosla
Design Team / Team Members
Maulik Bansal, Praveen Rajputh
Consultants :
Electrical Consultant
WBG Consulting Engineers
Structural Designer
Chordia Techno Consultants
Plumbing Consultant
Kumar Endecon Pvt. Ltd.
Civil Contractor
Zumair Khan, New Delhi
Saurabh Pandey

Club 26, NOIDA – Design Plus, Abhishek Bij and Arun Bij

Club 26 NOIDA, Abhishek Bij, Design Plus

Project facts:

Name of the project – Bar at Club 26 , Noida, India
Client – Sector 26 Club, Noida
Floor Area – 2000 Sq ft. 
Design Team -Arun Bij, Shilpy Lath, Disha Gattani, Abhishek Bij 
Project Co-ordinators – Disha Gattani , Balkishan Sharma, Abhishek Bij
Construction – Sobti Contracts
Presentation & Graphics – Deepankar Sharma, Aakanksha Khatri
Photography – Deepankar Sharma

Club 26 NOIDA, Abhishek Bij, Design PlusThe bar @26, NOIDA, demonstrates the mathematical principal of contouring at play. The fabrication of the single and few double curved surfaces (all of them loosely referred to as fluid surfaces) is resolved by the generation of hundreds of unique coplanar profiles. While the endeavour of solving a complex geometry maybe constant, the methodology of the solution: the details, the materials, the dimensions are varied. This variation creates the desired environment.

The primary brief of the bar design required Design Plus to enhance the current patronage, and of course increase revenue. This generic brief, however, pointed towards several areas of existing concern: lighting, materials, ergonomics, display. Another constraint was to maintain the external elevations, while completely overhauling the interiors.

Thought processes and resultant execution

  1. Thought – Design an element that physically ties the exterior to the interiors.
    Execution – A fluid surface was created which, when out-doors, serves as a second skin shielding the building from the harsh south-west sun; when in-doors creates a dramatic drop ceiling. This surface was detailed by contouring it into a series of rafters built with structural steel sections and classed with fibre concrete board. The reduction in the resolution of the wave, into rafters, depended upon tangibles such as cost, Hvac + lighting + furniture layouts and intangibles such as ambience and lightness.
  2. Thought – visibility to the gardens.
    Execution – large glazings were planned overlooking the club gardens. The mullions and transoms were dimensioned to avoid any visual barrier while sitting or standing. This in addition to planning a 5’ x 13’ balcony cantilevering over the greens.
  3. Thought – “never before seen bar counter” with increased bar seating.
    Execution – a bar counter can be romanticised as one location within any bar which permits intimate conversations. The geometry of the counter was conceived to allow these communion, sometimes even undisturbed by the bar tender. The fluidity was developed by laminating 296 unique ply profiles, each being 24 mm thick. The texture of the profiles was further enhanced by the the inherent laminates of the ply.