Architect Sanjay Puri lights up the city's night life with not just one star, but a whole constellation.
The city is buzzing with new restaurants and this one's not just a star, it's a whole constellation! Auriga, a new restaurant and lounge very quietly hidden in one of the by lanes of Mahalaxmi, is named after one of the constellations in the sky. It is housed in an old factory warehouse that was stripped off its external walls to allow the insides to be infused with natural light and create a view of the large trees along the road. The blue lighting in its fatade helps one identify it from far, while the name of the restaurant lit up in stary lights assures you are at the right place! This space is designed by Architect Sanjay Puri and you know it the moment you step your foot into it. His signature angular forms lending a sense of space with ceilings melting down into the walls, creating a fluid volume, lends the restaurant a wow appeal.
The entire building exterior is created in a web of aluminum fins that are folded in angular planes. This geometry is carried through in the interior of the ground level where the web is more abstracted and sheaths the walls, ceiling, staircase, bar and columns. The space seems to be playing hide-and-seek from the outside, with partially open and partially enclosed strips of galvanised metal sheets that are backlit lending the entire space a 250 seater lounge, a sculptural feel like that of an abstractly woven web.
A black palette forms the backdrop for this metal web with a flamed dark grey granite floor, black walls and black sound insulation fibre boards constituting the ceiling. Take the stairs up and the metal is replaced by wood. Thin strips of wood envelope the entire 70-seater restaurant as the ceiling extends into the walls. A fibre optic lights curtain allows the restrooms to be separated from the main restaurant area, which is dominated by dim lighting that focuses on each table. AC vents are skilfully carved out through thin strips to camouflage between the lines of the wooden strips.
An excellent use of the height of the space, the design does not cease to please. The two levels are in complete contrast, with one dominated by steel and the other by wood to create different experiences within the same space. The abstraction of each space with one merging into the other, through the double height volume located centrally, integrates them simultaneously.
There also is a 30-seater open cafT designed with robust silver triangular metal louvers that form an open-to-sky roof and a beautiful blend of back-lit onyx and elegant cane furniture.
All spaces create the feeling of being within a sculpture redefining the way internal spaces can be perceived.
Total Area: 3,600 sq ft
Total Cost: Rs 2,16,00,000
Design Team: Sanjay Puri and Madhavi Belsare
text: Sumisha Gilotra
photos: Vinesh Gandhi
Meet the designers
Firm: Sanjay Puri Architects established In 1992.
Firm specialisation: Architecture, interior designing and town planning.
Design philosophy: To create innovative design solutions that are contextual and sustainable, and creating spaces that are exhilarating to experience while being functional.
Philosophy towards life: Creating architecture that is rooted in contextual terms and yet evolutionary in its experiences.
Favourite architect/Designer: There are no favourites.
Sanjay Puri Architects, 20 Famous Studio Lane, Off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400 011.