Location: New Delhi, India
Project Work Status: Completed Projects
Area: 1,000 Sq.Ft.
Client: Ritu Dalmia
The site, which was located in one of the popular urban markets of South Delhi, came along with its predictable limitations of an old structure, a tight footprint but simultaneously provided a potential space to be converted into a high energy all day cafe-restaurant for Ritu Dalmia.
Keeping in mind the legacy of our chef, that would have people find ways to get to the cafe, the space was envisaged as an experience of almost dining in her kitchen. The entire environment of the cafe is built around a backdrop of a live kitchen complete with a brick pizza oven and an appetizing deli.
A diagonal line across the available space, which would provide the longest edge, was converted into the dividing wall between the kitchen and the seating areas. Suspended mild steel shelving with crockery, olive bottles, books etc; inserted as a skin acts as a screening device framing selective views into the kitchen. This skin acts as a dynamic and layered backdrop that can be animated by varying the objects on the shelves, while at the lower level it provides for a service cum storage credenza.
The rest of the shell is very monolithic--articulated in a tight palette of largely grey cement board clad walls and ceiling, bronze mirror inserts on walls and columns, brown walnut wooden dado and furniture. Tan colored oiled leather on the chairs and wine crate packaging as cladding for the bar at the entranceact as accents in the space. The small service bar at the entrance is put together as an installation of wine crate cladding announces the finest wine collection that Cafe Diva is known for. The detail is also taken forward into the toilets as a paneling detail. During the day the large bay windows allow generous sunlight to make the space come alive and the evening is taken over by the linen lamps and the kitchen skin. The high energy cafe space of the day transforms into a softly lit gentle dining space. The focus stays on the food and the small collection of images shot by Ritu on one of her trips to Italy that adorns the walls.