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The Old World Charm

Inspired by the old world charm of European village, the Tea Villa café designed by ColabCompany displays a perfect blend of design, material and colour

Alike it’s other franchises; Tea Villa Café has yet again carved a different experience for their recently launched outlet in Kandivali, Mumbai. The brand is evidently known for curating polar atmospheres and identities with every new branch. Inspired by the old world charm of European village, the Tea Villa Café in Kandivali displays a perfect blend of engaging design, stark materiality and colours, that leaves a lasting impression in minds of the visitors. The design scheme of the venue brings to fore an offbeat theme that narrates the story of a land far away that has been presented to its guests through the means of design.

Conceptualised and designed by Ar. Hiren & Ar. Saloni Ganatra of ColabCompany, the interiors of the restaurant weaves together bold and eclectic elements customised with a tailored ambience that leaves its guests transported. “The client’s brief clearly stated the creation of a venue that connected the large outdoor space seamlessly with the use of a binding architectural style and functions,” explained designer duo Hiren & Saloni. Besides, they also requested for an open layout and a space that is soaked in character and Neo-Classical panache for the venue spread across expansive 6,000 sq. ft outdoors & 1,500 sq. ft indoors, the duo added further.

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The central theme chosen for designing the site was that of a European Town square and the feel of a bustling streetscape. The visual statement in the project is the culmination of varied elevations, each distinct in its character, materiality and colour palette. For example, the café elevation has been rendered in the warmth of exposed brick; the bed and breakfast is treated with an alluring hue combination of yellow and pink. “The idea was to bring a realistic element to the varied elevations using the interplay of the right materials and colours,” the duo added. The space intermingles natural elements with sectioned and multi-level spaces to weave an intricate concept.

 

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The venue is composed of a large and seamlessly connected outdoor and an indoor dining section. The outdoor space was emphasized upon in terms of design with the creation of an ensemble of dummy elevations that replicated a classic European street in its eclectic and layered character. A custom Tea Bar in the outdoors created an interactive and functional element in the section. The counter has been strategically placed in order to be of service to the outdoor and indoor dining sections. The services of the restaurant were located in the rear section of the built form. The pot-wash consisted of an area of 200 sq. ft and the kitchen spreads over an area of 500 sq. ft. The interiors also have been curated in alignment with the overall architectural grammar of the space. Inclusions of materials, hues, lighting elements and landscaping in alliance with a binding concept have helped create the design scheme of the space.

Eclectic material palette

The spectrum of materiality was key in the conceptualization of the venue. The café has a layered character, much like an actual active streetscape. With reference to the flooring, indoors have been treated with a large extent of terrazzo flooring, which has also been a predominant material in the European architectural style. The outdoors displays a combination of European fan-shaped stone, pebbles and grass in sections. The usage of artificial brick aids in the compound wall which lends a realistic appearance whilst significantly reducing the load on the wall. The elevations created have been curated in materials and finished in hues that complement the identity of the elevation.

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The furniture curated for the outdoors was centric to which section of the elevation array it was associated with. The materiality of the furniture ranged from solid wood top tables and marble top tables, cast iron chairs in a minimal white and a dainty blush pink hue, cane mesh furniture in a vibrant teal shade, with a play of monochrome and a natural beige shade for high bar stools. The ceiling indoors has been embellished with mouldings that are reminiscent of European ornamentation.

In terms of lighting, the outdoor is blessed with abundant daylight that streams in through the canopy of trees that dot the site. Victorian street lamps and wall lights in the outdoors intensify the European identity of the space. The elevations are broken into various levels that are lit with ambient lighting in varied forms. The dummy elevation is backlit in portions to create a certain depth & dimension. Portions of the outdoor are lit using strings of light bulbs to create a whimsical atmosphere in the evenings.

The colour scheme given to the venue includes a seamless concoction of pastels and pops of hues in certain sections of the design. The various sections of the dummy elevation have been rendered in a range of colours that link them to the function that they display. Besides elements like Victorian Street lamps, cobblestone streets, vivid hues, dainty canopies, café storefronts and archways were incorporated in the design layout in order to achieve an exclusive and tailored ambience for the outdoors. The Victorian street lamps gave the space the actual feel of a European street and dimly lights up the space during the hours of the evening. The cobblestone pathways mimic the materiality of a realistic street and its texture further helps strengthen the experience of the space. The hues and features of the elevations help create an architectural trajectory through the venue. The archways are also created in order to replicate the feel of a colonial marketplace passageway and town square persona.

Besides, few existing trees on the site were retained in the proposed scheme of design. The presence of the trees not only added to the natural vitality of the venue but also created the element of transfiguring sciography and shadow interplay through the hours of the day. The canopies of the trees create coverage of sorts for the exterior and add a sense of visual dynamism to the space. A Frangipani planter in the open court area adds a cultural strain to the venue. The usage of grass in certain sections of the outdoors adds to the rawness of the space. The usage of faux planters and creepers instils a realistic and human character to the elevations as well.

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Expressive Exteriors

The site comprised of a standalone bungalow which had a linear character and hence the added advantage of frontage for the café. The site had two major access ways, one through an internal road and the other via a highway. The access entry from the highway was transformed into an amphitheatre-like nook that opens into a central court. The design element that also grasps visual attention in the venue is the collage of elevations across a wall surface. The 14 to 15 feet high dummy wall elevations mimic a European Street in character. This element was created using inspiration from set designs used in the theatre and cinema industry.

 

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Project Details

  • Project Head: Ar. Hiren Ganatra & Ar. Saloni Ganatra
  • Design Team: Arpita Dhokia
  • Firm name: Colab Company
  • Location: Kandivali, Mumbai
  • Area (Sq. ft): 5,500 sq. ft Outdoors & 1500 sq. ft Indoors
  • Photo courtesy: Maharshi Patel
  • Text Courtesy: Nisha Shukla

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