Wild and serene, a contrast of ambiences is the highlight of Reflections, a 24-hour coffee shop designed by Salient Design Studio.
The Ganges, enchantingly moody, changes hues from dawn to dusk. This spectacular river forms the backdrop for Reflections, a restaurant that is a part of the Ffort Raichak property in Kolkata; quite fittingly, the river also becomes a muse for Anuradha Rathore, Principal Designer, Salient Design Studio, as she attempts to create for the guests memories of the Ganges in her design for this 10,000 sq ft restaurant on the riverfront.
Located on the terrace of the hotel, the restaurant spreads over three separate zones including an indoor space, a reflective pool deck and an alfresco deck. With such a setting, one expects the designer to take cue from nature – which is exactly what Rathore has done – with the use of neutral colours, natural materials and rough textures that enhance the experience of dining beside this iconic river.
Warm Tones and Wickerwork
As you enter Reflections, you are instantly struck by the woody interiors and natural ambience. The periphery of the restaurant visually interacts with the outdoors, the landscape and the Ganges. The warm woody hues, coupled with white, reflect the mood of the outdoors in the interior area, which works more like an extended patio than anything else!
The ceiling has a free-flowing gold pattern resembling a jungle vine; the same pattern is imitated on the floor. The wooden ballis on the walls, the wicker furniture, jaisalmer stone on the floors and white tumbled mosaic with occasional punctuations of plants, all contribute to the mood and setting.
Mushrooms and Mosaic
Mosaic has been used abundantly in this high-end restaurant. The tile or tumbling mosaic work instils an organic quality in the restaurant and helps create the informal ambience invoked by any handmade inlay work. The mosaic tiles shimmer as they reflect the daylight and changing angles of the sun’s rays, mimicking the sparkling ripples on the river surface.
Another unique creation that serves to highlight the décor is the mushroom-like light fittings, which have been specially designed and created by the contractor. These luminaires are made of two layers of linen fabric spread across an MS frame.
Open Air Charm
The indoor space opens out onto two terraces – the reflective pool terrace and the alfresco terrace. The mosaic floor from indoors flows out in a continuous pattern into the terrace, which houses a reflective pool with mushroom fountains. A small boat in the corner of the pool is proposed to be filled with seasonal flowers to add to the intoxicating ambience. Gargoyles built into the old fort wall spout water into the pool. The most enticing part of a meal on this terrace is the breathtaking view of the Ganges that accompanies it!
Space for All
Reflections is a large restaurant, with a total capacity of around 180 covers – 100 indoors, 30 at the reflection pool deck and 50 on the alfresco deck. The indoor area offers an island buffet that can station over 40 dishes, a live cooking station and a private dining area for 16 people. The restaurant also has a small stage for evening performances.
One of the most challenging aspects in designing this restaurant was the uneven geometry of the space, which had to be woven together into one theme. Another challenge was time. With only three months in hand, a lot of parallel execution had to be done – 40 workers were engaged on site for the entire period. The flooring and false ceiling work was phased out area-wise, while art work was procured and designed simultaneously. The furniture and other loose items like the service station and luminaires were designed and created at the workshop, while the outdoor work went on simultaneously.
The hectic work that went into its construction can hardly be imagined as one sits amidst the serene environs of Reflections, a unique restaurant, which gifts its guests with memories of the Ganges that will be cherished by them forever.
Total area: 10,000 sq ft
Total cost: Rs 85 lakh
Vivek Singh Rathore
- Firm name and when was it founded: Salient (Studio for architecture landscape interiors and enterprise) founded in 2004.
- Firm specialisation: Architecture, interiors and landscape.
- Philosophy towards life: Welcome every minute of life with faith and humility. It has chosen you!
- Favourite designer/architect: Laurie Baker and Tadao Ando’s works inspire me.
Project Team: Vivek Rathore, Team Tosif Hussain, Anuradha Rathore
Photos: Pradip Sen
Courtsey: Salient Design Studio
Contact: Salient Design Studio, D-405, City Center, Salt Lake, Kolkata 700064. Tel: 033/23580979. Telefax-033/23580979. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org