India's first aviation themed restaurant by Noida-based Designer Jai Thakore.
Designer Jai Thakore does not quote Leonardo da Vinci often. But if you walk into the mint-fresh Skywaltz Café, India´s first aviation themed restaurant, on Delhi-Jaipur NH8, da Vinci´s pithy note will pop in your head: ´For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward...´
Thakore loves flying (he runs India´s only commercial hot air balloon flying company), but he does not walk with his eyes skyward. Instead, in Skywaltz, he has ´grounded´ the idea of flying. His design theme hinges on one word - aviation.
Barely 35 kms before Jaipur, the metallic silhouette of a hot air balloon raises its high head, with a café sign that glows at night. The thicket is off-white, the pebbles marble white, the grass manicured green, furniture is wrought iron and a white metal rickshaw skeleton stands neatly hiding two-air-conditioning fans. All this occupy 1,000 sq ft area. Raise your eyes skywards and you glimpse 2,000 small silver birds flying in and out of the black brick-like façade. These strategically placed birds initiate the aviation theme that acquires varied dimensions in the 48-cover café.
Inside the design realm
Beyond the glass door, the interiors are borrowed from a Boeing´s elements. Two green octagons rimmed with wide dark green wood serve as unusual space markers.
The transparent ceiling is made of quarter-inch polycarbonate sheet with 6-wall insulation. Not only does it let natural light in, it also simulates the openness of the sky. The wide steel trusses are hollow and painted dark olive green. From the trusses hang large, black 2,500-temperature industrial lights. The flooring (1x1 sand-blasted epoxy-coated Kota tiles) sticks to one pattern/texture across the café. The inner wall is green with a black rugged hand finish.
Interestingly, the wall is completely made of plywood - there is not an ounce of iron or cement (except in the foundation).
Beauty in symmetry
The 2,500 sq ft inside space is symmetrically divided into kitchen area, seating area and another one-step elevated seating area filled with wrought-iron chairs and mango-wood straight tables. In the kitchen area, plastic garlic clusters hang from the roof, while purple and yellow orchids dangle in a basket from a white bicycle. On one shelf are bowls of plastic fruits and vegetables, while tall white candles occupy another shelf. Tiny aircraft models stand on a wooden rack and framed photographs on the back wall narrate aviation tales.
What really takes the flying theme to a superlative level is the Cameroon hot air balloon wicker basket sitting in a corner and a mango-wood table/bench on a pulley. So efficient is the pulley system that seated guests can be raised 6 feet above the ground in a blink. At Skywaltz, dinner is in the skies!
Eye for detail
´Nothing is impossible,´ says Thakore, who sedulously designed and executed ´Culture Gully´, at New Delhi´s Kingdom of Dreams. This philosophy stems from his meticulous planning. For Skywaltz, the tiniest of details were perfected on CAD and nothing was redone. Not surprisingly, from laying the foundation to opening its doors to public, Thakore took barely four months. From structural design to civil work, from interiors to aesthetics, he did everything singlehandedly.
For Skywaltz Café, Thakore revved the aviation design and flew solo.
Total Area: 3500 sq ft
Outside Area: 1000 sq ft
Inside area: 2500 sq ft
Text: Preeti Verma Lal
Photos: Jai Thakore
Natural environment, blurring the lines between interiors and exteriors with use of material providing ecological sustainability.
What´s not? Meet the designer: Jai Thakore
Use of plastic and non-eco-friendly material
Firm: E-Factor Entertainment
Firm specialisation: Thematic designing.
Design philosophy: Unconventional form and common sense-driven functionality.
Philosophy towards life: Nothing is impossible.
Favourite architect/Designer: Omung Kumar and Antonio Gaudi.
E-Factor Entertainment, A-49,
Sector 67, Noida-201301.
Skywaltz Café, 228 KM Stone,
Delhi Jaipur Highway,
Near Tala More, Syari Achrol,
Jaipur, Rajasthan 303202.