Main Course | August 2011
A Funtastic Design
The Mamagoto eatery in New Delhi Display's its Affinity for eccentric design.
In a quiet corner of Pacific Mall - West Delhi's hottest shopping and lifestyle destination - lies Mamagoto, a fun fusion Asian eatery. For the gourmands, the alliterative name is about fusion food; for the aesthete, it is about quirky café design philosophy. This third Mamagoto in the capital does not stray from its signature eccentric ethos, thus keeping intact its reputation as a fun and edgy eating-out-destination.
From the large glass entrance door and walls, the quirkiness is not visible. You need to walk into the 3,500 sq ft restaurant to marvel at how straight lines meld seamlessly with the unconventional and hip. Here, the classic Hans Wagner chair with beige leather upholstery looks resplendent against colourful digital prints on the walls. The lounge wall divider is made of white bicycle wheels. The side wall is cluttered with prancing tigers. Cushions epitomise pop art and from large green and blue wooden clouds peep LED lights. An open AC duct, painted black, adds to the unusual interiors, and on the mirror above the cash counter is a large fish sticker. Surprisingly, the funky and the classic blend beautifully. The blend, however, is not random; the fusion is absolutely intentional.
Promoters Rahul Khanna and Kabir Suri of Azure Hospitality were sure about what they wanted when they planned the Mamagoto look. No red lanterns. No dragons. No Chinese warriors. No traditional Chinese décor. "I wanted the restaurant to be a young, fun eating place, that was neither clichéd nor intimidating," says Khanna. In Mamagoto, the fun borrows heavily from mamagoto, a Japanese game where children pretend to be adult cooks. However, much before one notices the pop art on the cushions and black and red walls, it is the tidiness of space that is alluring.
The rectangular space has been divided into three defined dining spaces and a lounge with an open bar. The longest wall has a continuous sofa upholstered in beige leather, with Hans Wagner chairs and square tables on the opposite side. On a raised platform is an intimate dining space for four followed by a lounge. The divider between the two spaces is made of
28 white bicycle wheels and the walls have prancing tigers digitally printed on wallpaper.
The restaurant has an open kitchen; its floors have wooden laminate and under the black AC duct are perforated iron planks painted canary yellow. One red wall has a peeping pigtailed girl, while a black wall has an old man with a long moustache. The green shutter of the storage space looks anomalous in the setting, but the framed painting on the wall above more than compensates for its banality.
What lends Mamagoto its signature edginess is the art on the walls. On the largest wall hang circular wooden discs with digital prints on canvas. The art works with blue, green and red wooden edges have been created by Chetana Vij Sharma of I Me Am Design, a design firm. Sharma trained as a graphic designer in Pratt Institute, New York and prefers to be known as someone who 'styles space'. Sharma's brief was to create a 'fun eating place'. But, as design acquired a strong language, Mamagoto too stepped away from just being a fun eating place - it became, as Sharma puts it, 'quirky and edgy'.
In Mamagoto, not only can you order take-away food but you can also peer into the art catalogue and buy art off the walls and digitally printed cushions. The cushions are available off the shelf, the waiting time for art is two weeks. The take-away for us: Mamagoto is not only about food, it is also about fun.
Text: Preeti Verma Lal
Meet the designer: Chetana Vij Sharma
Firm: I Me Am Design, founded in 2002.
Design philosophy: Alternate sensibility, free spirit.
Philosophy towards life: Live life in gratitude.
Favourite architect/ designer: Ambrish Arora and Phillipe Starck.
I Me Am Design, Sharma Farms, Opp Bharat Petroleum Pump, Bijwasan Road, VPO Kapashera, New Delhi - 110 037. Tel: 011-5069 179. Website: www.imeamdesign.com
Mamagoto, 11, 2nd Floor, Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden, New Delhi - 110 027. Tel: 011-6472 1987. Website: www.mamagoto.in
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