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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birdsong Café - Rustic Charm

By Beverly Pereira
Photography: Studio Eight Twentythree & SachinPowle; courtesy the designers 


Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Samir Raut and Amit Mayekar of Studio Eight Twentythree design the Birdsong Café in suburban Mumbai as a contextual response to the surrounding heritage precinct...

Starting out by ensuring that the design speaks the same language as its historic neighbours, the material palette has been restricted to concrete and wood - the former, a not-so-modern material and the latter, a centuries-old one. For Samir, these materials with their enigmatic charm fascinate because of their ability to age elegantly, almost as if they are able to tell stories of the space as it ages along with them.

Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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The design process evolved to accommodate a kitchen, bakery and seating space along with a cozy mezzanine (constructed using reclaimed teak wood) that serves as a private space or for live performances.

Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Simple wooden shuttered double doors with bevelled glass panes mark the entrance, while entrance arches open up on to the street with a glass façade and double louvered shutters on the outside.
 
Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Subtle details play a big role in sustaining the design philosophy. The flooring is a moss green shade of concrete flanked by the bakery counter made out of poured natural concrete in casts. A backdrop of blackboard-painted wall with a hand-written menu is complemented by hand-drawn graphics spotted across the café encouraging an intimate, personal feel.

Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Adding to its quaintness are exposed walls, some of which were chiseled for a seemingly weathered look; customized wooden tables, vitrines, old chairs and retro 1970s plastic switches on teak wood bases. Incandescent bulbs in customized, reclaimed wooden holders hang from the ceiling by a grid of hooks (could perhaps hold some art installations too), while a bunch of wires intentionally hang in a haphazard manner. 

Birdsong Cafe at Bandra, Mumbai by Studio Eight Twentythree
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Birdsong Café perfectly reflects the heritage village that surrounds it - one of Bandra’s last surviving one at that - appearing to have always existed. 

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