Online Exclusive - Ellipsis, MumbaiOct 11, 2012
By Stacy Shoemaker Rauen
After securing a former restaurant space, he enlisted the help of West Hollywood-based designer Thomas Schoos. “I wanted to create a space that was approachable and inviting, but that did not lack sophistication and international appeal,” Talwar explains, adding that he found Schoos through his research on the internet. “We have gone to great measures to give locals an authentic modern-American dining experience in every essence of the word—from an American designer, to securing U.S.-based beverage consultants, chefs, management, and even a stateside public relations team. While our restaurant’s approach is still very new for the locals, we are working hard to educate our diners on our reasoning.”
Says Schoos of the design for his first project in India: “I was struck by the beauty of the 19th-century building itself. Growing up in Europe, I learned to love the Old World architecture of Victorian buildings like this, and as a designer, one of my favorite techniques is to juxtapose modern design with classical elements. So, this was my vision: to bring together old and new in an original way.”
He started by stripping away the applied surfaces left over from the previous restaurant to reveal the integrity of the structure underneath. For instance, he discovered an undulating plaster ceiling, and cast iron and steel posts were stripped of their silver color to bring out their original texture and color. Then as a contrast, he layered the space with sleek, contemporary furnishings, a muted color palette of putty, gray, and sand, restrained materials (stone, hardwood floors), a modern bar, and an open kitchen. And to merge the old and the new, dozens of original works of art from various stylistic periods—including two of his own based on tribal African currencies—grace the walls. And some even spill off of their canvasses onto the walls, becoming permanent installations.
“There is a little of everything, including classical, romantic, impressionistic, abstract, surreal, and even pop art. The restaurant has the personal, intimate feel of a library that has been curated by a broad-minded and cultured world traveler; something you don’t typically find in restaurants,” he says. “The juxtaposition of classic architecture, refined modern elegance, and eclectic art creates a wonderfully rich and inviting environment.”