CW Interiors |
Main Course | November 2012

Urban Oasis

Shabnam Gupta takes the country route to lend a homely ambience to Alfredo's, a new café in Andheri, Mumbai.

Sometimes the simplest of briefs poses the biggest challenge. Here at Alfredo's, a new café located near a crowded street in Andheri, Mumbai, the brief was to design a simple space with a homely ambience where one can unwind in peace. This brief has been addressed through a smart design by designer Shabnam Gupta, the force behind design firm The Orange Lane. She focused on first finding a way to keep the disturbing street view and noise away and then ensuring that once inside, one wouldn't want to leave soon.

Blue Clues

Divided into indoors and outdoors, the furniture at Alfredo's is dominated by straight lines in wooden tones. The eye glides across these lines to settle on the accentuating elements and the detailing, like the colour blue that is present in small doses. It's a pretty, lively blue spotted on some of the lamps and the few couches that make up the deck area, the tucked in seating in the indoor section and the AC ducting that Gupta refused to hide - instead, she highlighted it to make it a part of the decor. The lights used are also quite interesting. One set of lights is created with old table lamps in an octopus-like design and the other is composed of half spherical, hand painted ceiling lights.

Rustic rules

The homely ambience is carefully cultivated, with open brick walls, lots of framed pictures hung on them, a vintaged sea green finish on the walls, and a general rustic look. The space was not originally planned as a restaurant, and thus it isn't the typical large expanse with lots of tables - there are some nooks and incongruous spaces. Making this work to her benefit, Gupta has created private enclosures with some jaali-like windows to keep these spaces private, yet integrated with the rest of the space.

Cordoned off

Gupta has also provided some delightful detailing. The fans that hang on the mushroom-like mesh umbrellas ensure shade without isolating the guest from the rest of the space. These shade umbrellas also add to the ambience with a thin strip of LED lights bordering it. However, none of these smaller details would have worked their magic if Gupta had not effectively cordoned off this café from the street - the buzz outside would have ruined the ambience. Gupta took care of this problem by using vertical landscapes and screens made of twigs that adivasi women collect from the jungle. Both these instruments, without much ado, transport a visitor from the hustle and bustle of city life into a relaxed countryside mode.

And thus we say... good things come in small packages and pretty spaces come with simple briefs and bigger challenges. Kudos to the entire team of The Orange Lane for nailing this one!

Total area: 2000 sq ft
Total cost: Rs 4,500/ sq ft
Text: Sumisha Arora
Photos: Rajeshwar Mande

Meet the designer: Shabnam Gupta

Firm: The Orange Lane founded in 2003.
Firm specialisation: Hospitality & residential design.
Design philosophy: Work is worship.
Philosophy towards life: Keep doing good karma, the rest follows.
Favourite architect/Designer: Geoffrey Bawa, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bijoy Jain.


The Orange Lane, 31 N, Laxmi Industrial Estate, New Andheri Link Road, Andheri (West), Mumbai 440 053. Tel: 022-2637 0512.

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