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Auriga Restaurant & Lounge: by Sanjay Puri Architects

Posted by
on April 01, 2016 at 05:11 PM

© Courtesy of Ar. Sanjay Puri, Mumbai

As usual, the mention of Zaha Hadid brings to mind Indian starchitect Sanjay Puri; and his dramatic, ‘sculpturesque’ explorations with volumes in architecture and interior design. The similarity is striking; in the design thinking that goes in, in the aesthetic and intellectual phenomenology that is so prominent in both the architects’ works.

Sanjay’s metaphoric allusions to organic forms such as waves, for example, in the built space – are seen in many of his projects, manifesting on the facade of buildings or on the ceiling of a pub or on the walls of an office. Seen here is an adaptive re-use of an old factory warehouse to a restaurant/lounge. The project entailed exterior treatment and tremendous interior re-fitting, to be able to meet the demands of the new program. 

Hospitality design is a rather challenging area of interior architecture; as the ambience often overrides the service and the cuisine. Patrons are often found wanting a 'good space to hang out with friends' and that is what the new-age trends of restaurants and lounge aspire to generate! Ar. Sanjay Puri's portfolio boasts of some very interesting hospitality projects - each one exploring exciting innovations - to get the right ambience and experience!

The existing building was a typical industrial block, cut off from the road, with no access to natural light and which offered no views. Stripping off the external walls of the warehouse was the first, most critical decision taken by the designer, as that brought in a lot of natural light, and also allowed the tree-lined avenue to be viewed from inside. The two-level structure was then wrapped up in a web of aluminum fins, folded in angular planes - thus setting the tone for a dramatic stand-alone hospitality outlet. 

This geometry is carried through into the interior of the ground level nightclub, where the web is made of galvanized metal backlit strips, placed against black walls; with flamed dark grey granite on the floor and black sound insulation fiber boards cladding the ceiling. The abstracted angular planes sheath the walls, ceiling, staircase, bar and columns.

A single flight stairway traverses through a 24’0” high volume, from the metal dominated nightclub at the lower level to a wood enclosed restaurant above. The upper level with a better view, houses a restaurant space – where the geometry turns more fluid and the treatment turns to wood. This gives a distinct visual identity to the two separate spaces, and also offers the patrons a completely different experience.

The walls, ceiling and live kitchen counter and serving bar counter are sheathed in undulating planes of thin wood strips creating a fluid volume for the restaurant. 

The two levels are in complete contrast, with one dominated by angular planes in steel and the other by curvaceous wooden sheathing - to create unique sensory experiences within the same space; visually connected with each other through the double-height volume located centrally. 

Both spaces create the feeling of being within a sculpture; redefining the way internal spaces can be perceived.

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