Location: Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Cost: Rs. 3000/ Sq Ft.
Area: 2550 Sq.Ft.
Team: Kalhan Mattoo, Santha Gour Mattoo, Dimple Toraskar, Mansee Jain
Project Duration: Jun-2008 - Oct-2008
A well known chain of coffee shops distinguished by a distinct, eclectic kind of interiors wanted to up-end the experience for its patrons at one of the outlets. A brand and space quality perception study conducted by our studio involving patrons, management and employees provided interesting pointers to the way forward. Chor bazaar chic seemed to work well only up to a point and beyond that the cognitive dissonance of reconciling second hand furniture with quality experience was testing customer approval.
We understood that at its essence, the experience hinged on period evocation. By reorienting the entire concept towards the exuberant, visually exciting and easily recognizable 70s, we drew from retro references and interpreted them in a contemporary context. By researching art, graphics, colour palettes, finishes, furniture, wall treatments, tiles, window dressings, interior styles, lighting and more, we created a library of sorts to be mined for inspiration.
Except for an interesting ceiling in one section of the existing restaurant, everything else was stripped bare. Within this empty shell, we added a retro inspired bar counter and backdrop in signal red with frosted acrylic cutouts and faint backlighting. A collage of Roy Lichtenstein pop art clad on adjacent walls defined the access to a faux fur lined alcove that exuded excess and decadence of the age. Sofas, seats and even a floor rug took the crimson hue. A high recognition pattern was specially recreated and printed on plain wallpaper to create a striking backdrop for an iconic object of the age...an Ambassador car. We used the trunk to accommodate a seat and ensured the tail lights worked. Plastic moulded seats, the iconic lip sofa, chrome edged & Formica topped diner tables, flower power ottomans, white couches with quilted covers, neo-retro table with a lamp for a leg, high gloss jigsaw puzzle tables, a Rubik's cube for a corner table, a large table shaped as a telephone dial, a multi-colour sofa, a whole seating that spelt 'Make Love Not War' and colourful garden benches that hugged a live tree...all were created and assembled to achieve the intended vibe. An authentic cement floor from the time and an exciting 3D tile patterned floor outside were polished and left basically intact. Shag pile carpets added colour in intense patches. Accessorised with LOVE laser cut in mirror, lava lamps and up to door handles fashioned out of telephone parts, this space was crafted with attention to detail. From retro washroom tiles to cladding laminate on the outdoor fascia, the intensity of the design quality is maintained consistent.
This project is unabashedly over the top and revels in sheer excess. We helped create a unique spatial experience for the patrons who will hopefully take in multiple cultural references and a design vibe to be transported to another age and time. Forever retro!