CW Interiors |
Main Course | April 2012

Graphic bay

Design firm Studio Caravan creates an American pub setting in the heart of Bandra.

Recreating an all-American, all-day diner in a happening suburb of Mumbai does not sound very difficult, does it? Diners, after all, follow a template and are not expected to heavily innovate on the décor. However, when this diner is to take shape within the shell where the popular watering hole Zenzi once existed and is to be outfitted with great style on a shoestring budget, the project takes on the dimensions of a challenge! Principal Designers Nimish Kotwal and Rajesh Latkar of Mumbai-based firm Studio Caravan have met the challenge with aplomb; working around all related constraints – including pre-existing elements like a false ceiling – they have created for Lagerbay a space that looks and feels mint-new even as it redefines diner décor!

Fusing their formal training in architecture and interior design with their experience in the film industry, Kotwal and Latkar have come up with a design that is dramatic, out-of-the-box, within budget and impeccably aesthetic. “For Lagerbay, we did not create a single drawing or plan. The design evolved on site and will keep evolving with time, always offering the customers something new to experience every time they come here,” say the designers.

Signature style

Given the tight budget, the duo had to carefully plan a design that would create an impact without compro­mising on the perceived quality of the space. This, they have done through inspired use of materials and artefacts. Near the entrance, a huge red couch set against a grey stone wall grabs attention, as does the large metal sculpture above it.

Another statement piece is the coffee bar tucked in the corner, which doubles up as a bar for private parties.

On such occasions, this area of the restaurant is cordoned off by the sliding doors. The rugged metal jaali on the bar counter front, the collection of photographs of pop art and artists, and a beige natural stone flooring give the counter area a relaxed casualness.

Delightful details

“Our favourite material here is the bison board that is used to clad the pillars, the façade and much more. It is not just cheap and easy to install but also fuses with any décor,” says Kotwal. “Smaller details like the cross stainless steel screws used to clad them lend the space a refined look,” adds Latkar.

Other interesting details include the graphics on some of the columns, all designed by Studio Caravan on the restaurant’s theme line: Food, Music, Bar. The picture of a guitar player graces the column near the entrance, a saxophone gradually translates into a drink elsewhere, and so on. The tables also have funky graphics in tune with the theme.

Eschewing the ethnic

The main bar, the centerpiece of any diner, is long and has woody tones. White steel bar stools complete the casual look, accentuated by drop lights made from wine bottles, which illuminate the table with a greenish glow. “We tried to recreate the ambience of an American pub and refrained from using any ethnic motifs or design elements,” share the designers, reasoning that the target audience is a young and lively crowd looking for a break from the mundane dining spaces dotting the city.
A private dining area is tucked in a corner to host special guests or small gatherings. Complete with Union Jack cushions and judicious use of sleeper wood, it adds just the right amount of kitch to the space. A laser-cut metal divider cordons off this area from the passage that leads to the washrooms.

The outdoor area is like an oasis with vertical landscapes created by mounting potted plants on a grid-like wall fitting, giving the space some lushness and yet keeping the greenery easy to maintain.

Thanks to Kotwal and Latkar, Lagerbay flaunts its own distinct identity and gives its guests an opportunity to live it up the popular American way!

Meet the designers: Rajesh Latkar and Nimish Kotwal

Firm: Studio Caravan
Firm specialisation: Anything that needs a touch of art.
Design philosophy: We are an extension of the thinking process, a creative process.
Philosophy towards life: Life evolves and so does art.
Favourite architects/Designers: Zaha Hadid, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.

Total Area: 2,000 sq ft
Clients: Harsh Gehi, Naveen Kotyankar, Ramesh Dabholkar, Sachin Pable
Text: Sumisha Arora
Photos: Nimish Kotwal


Studio Caravan, Mobile: (0)98694 86058,  (0)98200 25421. E-mail:
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