How cool would it be to dine in a houseboat parked right in the centre of urban life? Zambar in Pune, designed by Gurgaon-based Syncin Design, makes this experience tangible.
What happens when a restaurant opens its third branch in a country that boasts of diverse cultures and tastes – and an abundance of restaurants catering to them? It strives to be different. And Zambar at Phoenix Market City, Pune, is different alright! The third Zambar outlet by food and beverage service company Lite Bite Foods, the restaurant, which primarily caters to south Indian and coastal food lovers, has been designed by Gurgaon-based Syncin Design. The firm’s Director, Pratyay Chakrabarti, says, “Our main focus was on the use of materials to create an authentic ambience, while generously endowing the space with the luxury component.”
On entering the restaurant, a wooden trellis with a traditional lamp welcomes the visitor in the time-honoured style. The concept of the trellis has been adapted from wood-carved doors in traditional south Indian homes. Standing under this warm roof, one can choose amongst a variety of seating arrangements: the beach-like lounge, the general seating or the houseboat – each offering a spectacular dining experience.
Of boats and beaches
The highlight of the restaurant, naturally, is the houseboat. “Our original plan was to install a real houseboat in the space; however, due to huge logistics issues, we resorted to recreating it on site,” informs Chakrabarti. After extensive research on the materials, interiors, lighting, etc, the design team built the entire boat in a metal structure. While bamboo chatais make up the roof, sleeper wood logs form the body of the boat, and fabric trims on the windows conceal the metal framework. The entire structure rests lazily on a surface of blue tiles that give the impression of a water body. Adding to the overall ambience are the specially fabricated diyas that hang at the periphery. Twinkling LEDs above the boat create a starry night effect and complete a perfect picture.
In contrast, the lounge-cum-bar on the opposite side of the restaurant evokes the atmosphere of a beach. “Lit up by large chatai clad lampshades, the boat seating surrounded by palm trees and a shack-like bar with cane woven stools create the perfect beach-like backdrop so characteristic of the South,” says Chakrabarti.
On the surface
In line with the three different seating arrangements, the floor of the entire space has been divided into three distinct zones. The main portion of the restaurant is covered by terracotta tiles, recalling a rustic mud floor. To present the sandy beach effect, the lounge is set on sand-coloured vitrified tiles, and the ceramic tiles inside the boat have wooden grains with a coarse texture. Adding to the south Indian effect is the coconut shell veneer that partly clads the wall of the restaurant.
In his efforts to produce an authentic ambience, Chakraborty’s most challenging task on this project was the building of the boat, which took almost two and a half months to complete! Another task was to break the monotony of the overall earthy colours that dominate the restaurant. For this, the design team used the bright blue borrowed from the water body in the table napkins, thereby lifting the design. And, a bright green wall at one end of the houseboat peps up the space without deviating from the theme.
From colours to materials to the magnificent houseboat, the design of Zambar certainly coaxes the guests to walk in and unwind themselves in God’s own country for an hour or two!
Total area: 4,800 sq ft
Total cost: Rs 1.5 crore
Text: Shanti Padukone
Meet the designer: Pratyay Chakrabarti
Firm: Syncin Design, founded in 2011.
Firm specialisation: Retail and corporate interiors, product design and styling, and building architecture design.
Design philosophy: Its ‘One’ – we always strive to come up with a single unique feature and develop spaces around it.
Philosophy towards life: I like to take things one at a time – but surprisingly, this ‘One’ keeps on changing – the only ‘One’ constant.
Favourite architect/Designer: Charles Correa, Tadao Ando and Phillipe Starck.
Zambar, Level 2, Phoenix Market City, Pune - 411 014. Tel: 020-3095 0606.
Syncin Design, B-5/80, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110 029 Tel: 011-4579 7035. E-mail: email@example.com
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