The Kolkata-based Orient chain of restaurants raises the standards of the hospitality experience, which is enhanced through design. The twin restaurants, with their oriental cuisines and contemporary Japanese style interiors, draw special attention from the crowd of the city centre mall which they occupy. With a 60-cover seating capacity each, the design incorporates ancient Japanese techniques ‘Feng Shui’ and ‘Taoism’ to reflect their cuisine in space.
Sited in an amicable location on the ground floor of the mall, the restaurant occupies a plot area of 1550 sq ft. A challenging floor area ratio resulted in a linear geometry with two entries- one from the mall and the other from the street on the plot periphery. The confining service areas like the kitchen, bar and amenities such as bathroom, hand wash area etc. help in gaining about 1100 sq ft of dining space.
The design is derived from the notion of providing a private dining space for maximum seating. Typically, solid partitions form heavy volumes that result in the creation of suffocating spaces. An alternative is hence adopted; Using fabric partitions incorporates a sense of privacy into the design, while creating fluidity. The red colour of the fabric enhances the oriental décor style. The interiors are formulated in frames. Each frame sings a lore of Feng Shui; be it the fibre glass masks in between two red wooden Japanese doors at the street entry or the Chinese rickshaw at the mall entry. A sense of suspense is crafted in the design language as the entrance does not reveal the entire dining space- but only a glimpse of the corridor that is dotted with elements of feng shui. Mirror-panelled walls multiply the sense of volume and further enrich the vibrancy of the theme.
Adding soul to the street theme of the restaurant, the height of the half-walls separate the dining booths, by following a rhythm hat dramatizes the view from entrance. Metal jaalis with traditional patterns screen the booths from the ‘street’ of the restaurant whilst, diffused lights add an essence to the décor accents. Taoist prayer motifs on the walls further create deliberate impression of the theme.
The material palette is a celebration of the Feng Shui principles that are created for prayer and meditation halls in order to instil elements of nature. Mirrored panels that relate to the reflectivity of water, and dominating red shears address the excitement and energy of fire, whereas noble grey flooring, brass bells and dark wood furniture render the earthiness of the place.
With a touch of modernity to the same Taoist principles and extended services, the second restaurant of The Orient lies on the fourth floor of the city centre mall with an extended terrace. The spatial segregation of this restaurant considers the varied range of customers that a mall attracts. From a family that comes in on the weekend looking for a fun time with children to the couple who finally made it to that one postponed date to official meetings or casual chit chats, this restaurant is design for everyone- a haven for celebrating every moment.
The concierge leads to two different entries, that depend on the crowd; one is for a sushi lounge with an island buffet with a metal-panelled ceiling designed for acoustics. The other entry is for the bar and dining area with cosy warm lighting that gleams from behind a stimulating false ceiling that is composed of traditional brass cylinders. The Patio, which is accessed internally, is an elaborate play of the sky view and bold, Anglo-Japanese décor and a fun blend of warm accent lighting. Taoist prayers and feng shui principles together bring the “chi”, material energy, to the design.
The recurrence of perforated concrete at the bars, subconsciously elaborates the pattern of design. Metal and minimal furniture in the patio represents the nonchalance of the space, whereas family and lounge areas have formal dark wood furniture.
Human scale, handmade products, greys from zen and reds from chi, light and shadow play successfully engraved humility in every inch of this space; Life is induced by instilling a subtle sense of curiosity with mind-evoking exotic food.