By Savitha Hira
Photography: Vinesh Gandhi; courtesy Sanjay Puri Architects
Whether it is a serene minimalist Chapel on international turf or a design-busy resto-lounge in the heart of Mumbai, Sanjay Puri Architects continue to climb the charts of sculptural architecture…
It is probably the artist in him that takes command of the creative freedom he is given, whilst the architect in Sanjay then assembles the technicalities into place, summing up the whole into an intriguing physical structure that tends to satiate on both fronts – pragmatic as well as ephemeral.
When Sanjay designed the Blue Cilantro, a futuristic design wrap for a pan-Asian restaurant in Mumbai, several years ago, he was playing with sculpture in architecture, but very safely. Today, the Auriga restaurant and night club stands testimony to his confidence in moulding spaces wrapped in free-form/ faceted, precision-deliberated design; going into miniscule detailing that aggregates to the larger picture: audacious, involved and stupefying.
Simply put, Sanjay is playing well into the hands of what the club-trotting audience seeks – a place so ubiquitous that it fills your craving for an aesthetic high on a night out. This restaurant and lounge, standing next door to his office elucidates the vocabulary of faceted geometry.
The entire building exterior is designed in a web of abstractly folded triangular aluminum planes that reflect sunlight in different ways through the day and are beacons of colour-change lights by night.
Metal and wood are the two trajectories that Sanjay traverses here: while the al fresco cafeteria and its adjoining night club are sheathed in back-lit with colour change silver metallic louvers on the ground floor, accentuated by varied textures of black forming an arresting backdrop; a single flight of steps traverses through a 24ft. high volume from the metal dominated nightclub to a wood enclosed restaurant above.
The interior is a more abstracted form, where the wrap sheaths the walls, columns, ceiling, staircase and bar, the entire space rendered sculptural with the integration of all design elements within the abstractly woven web. The fluidity of the free-form undulating wood strips with its strong palette of umber, black and grey (flooring) blurs out other elements to create a strong envelop that at once intrigues and excites the visitor.
Combined with a sumptuous scrumptious cuisine that tickles the taste buds, here are two distinct space wraps that sculpturally redefine the way internal spaces can be perceived.
Do we see another award coming up; adding to his rich repertoire of 33 international besides as many, if not more, on the domestic turf?