By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy Skywardinc Architects
Read Time: 2 mins
Designed by Skywardinc Architects, the 800 sq.ft. refurbished China Village restaurant stands apart for its hard-hitting raw and unfinished look amidst swanky boutiques, high-end cafes, affordable-but-aspirational street shopping in hip locale, Bandra, Mumbai…
A tight budget and time frame were two key factors that led to this décor. Says design principal Sehool Kapashi, “When we got the project it was dilapidated but still running, so we needed to refurbish it at a quick pace.”
So, staying true to the character of ancient Chinese villages, a very rudimentary and rugged ambience is culled out by reinforcing and re-engineering the existing structure, whilst removing all internal walls and linings. The concept evolves from the existing name and a well-structured narrative takes the thought process forward with a simple yet assertive material vocabulary.
For instance, the exposed-brick walls with a random splattering of cement; or a plastered wall with casual strokes of hardened cement stains catch the eye in their native format. Concrete flooring, louvered Burma teak, reclaimed doors and windows coalesce to build on the narrative. Chinese iconography in the form of randomly adorning picture frames is used to offset a tad of the harshness of the space.
Wrought iron grills become a partition between the entrance foyer and restaurant; reclaimed wood is directly screwed onto sewing machine stands; naked bulbs and simple pendant lights illuminate spaces, whilst a huge timber log near the entrance alludes to the bigger picture.
Ceilings of both the sections – inside and outside - are distinctly different: the outer zone is anointed with a wooden thatched feel with rafters running across the length whilst creatively-weaved ropes form a loop pattern ceiling for the enclosed interiors.
We point out that such an unpolished look, staying true to one’s heritage, is quite ubiquitous in European countries but not quite so in India. However, Sehool begs to differ with us saying the concept has worked well for his clients with credit going to the eclectic nature of the inhabitants of Bandra!