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Disruptive Dining Decor: A Periodic Check

Posted by
on September 18, 2019 at 09:06 PM

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Every once in a while, we need to check in on the latest in the list of unusual designs of diners and cafes – it seems like the hunger for new experiences of the ambience almost overtakes our eternal search for new tastes to tickle our palate. Isn’t it true, though, that conceptualising a new eatery involves as much of designing the décor as designing the menu? Really, restaurant design seems to offer designers the maximum scope to push their creativity! Dishing out newer and crazier ambiences to dine in never goes out of business, indeed, So, here’s a periodical peek at a couple of fancy new eateries from around the world, one of which is right in our backyard, with décor that scores high on the quirk-o-meter.

The Grasshopper’s Dream, S Korea

Shipping containers and train coaches, in that order, are two design elements that have quite been done to death being used to house ‘fun cafes’ and such, right? Wrong, because there apparently is no end to the imaginative avatars these innocuous elements can be re-birthed in! Case in point is a ‘wild’ new South Korean café called, most romantically, ‘The Grasshopper’s Dream’. You may be pardoned for expecting a place with that name to be an idyllic summer garden but you’re actually quite far from reality. In case you’re already wondering about the connection between those jumpy green insects and locomotives, then here you go – the café operates from a couple of green painted train coaches, one mounted on the other to create levels, and fitted with enormous bendy leg-like metal protrusions and wiry antennae to resemble, yes, grasshoppers...

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Placed along a popular route for bikers as well as train travellers and located at the train station of Gujeol ri, the installation is at once contextually rooted as well as evocative for regulars along the trail. It is easy to imagine what a welcome sight the structure presents to weary bikers and train travellers stopping here to have their energies revitalised by its fun quotient. Fine detailing like the wooden decking of the café stairs and interiors matching the one on the train platform enhances the quality of the décor.

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The fun is, apparently, reflected in other structures in the vicinity – a massive pair of fish and another pair of funny grasshoppers have been erected at some distance. It helps, of course, that the station building itself is absolutely minimal and the surroundings are dominated by the presence of serene hills. The lighting scheme which has the café lit up from the bottom at night creates a consistent nocturnal drama as well

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Cardboard Bombay, India

Cardboard – a word that is suggestive of the boxiest of forms – finds itself lent to quite the opposite purpose here, i.e. to think out of the box. Designer Nuru Karim led Mumbai firm NUDES and the restaurant’s proprietary partners have set out to start a conversation about tangible sustainable alternatives to standard methods and materials used in creating décor. They have taken up a material that is 100% recyclable and biodegradable to keep with the green requirement and delved into considerable research in making it work for the purpose of furnishing the eatery. Furthermore, this is only an extension of the philosophy of sustainability underpinning the entire venture where even the menu is designed following the strictest eco-sensitive principles, vegan ingredients and energy efficient procedures. It also helps that cardboard is a durable, lightweight material that insulates excellently from heat and sound.

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The makers of Cardboard are clearly convinced that nothing short of an immersive experience drives home the message successfully so, right in the heart of the business district of the Bandra Kurla Complex,we have this little universe made entirely of cardboard – ceiling, walls, furniture, light fixtures, menu card, display boards and cutlery boxes! And, the visual effect is – no, not at all boxy – a stunningly contoured beautiful landscape that seems to have given the material a whole new life and expression.

© Courtesy of internet sources

The exploratory and inventive process of customising cardboard for the interiors involved treating it with wax to increase resilience to wetness and other wear as well as employing parametric procedures to match contours of design elements with the material’s own involutions to produce strong, durable forms. And the final outcome is as cool and trendy as one can get down to the last detail including the endearing logo, as well as warm and inviting, What’s heartening is, of course, the intense and intrepid exploration of alternative materials with such stunning results.

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