UP IN THE SKY

With its bright colours and alfresco dining, the Mediterra restaurant in Indore ensures its diners an enchanting visual treat.

When it comes to a theme restaurant, the concept influences everything right from the cuisine served, to the architecture, the design and layout of the restaurant. For architect Sandeep Shikre of Sandeep Shikre & Associates (SSA), the task was further challenged by the fact that the Mediterra restaurant would be the 12th in the Sayaji Hotel, Indore designed by him.

«There was a need to create a restaurant that would appeal to the sensibilities of the people of Indore but at the same time, offer them a global experience,» says Shikre. «Also, the owner wanted a space where groups of diners would come together and spend leisure time instead of hurrying through a meal,» he further adds.

Keeping this in mind, Shikre decided to design a Moroccan themed restaurant and zeroed in on the terrace, which is on the seventh floor of the hotel. Spread across 7500 sq ft the restaurant is broadly divided into an indoor and outdoor dining area. According to the architect, flooring was one of the vital factors that helped to bring in the desired theme.

«While we didn’t have to make any major structural changes, we had to open up certain walls and create a mezzanine loft to hide the air conditioning ducts and power lines that were initially placed in the open.» adds Shikre.

A long passage with its bright orange coloured mosaic tile flooring leads to the entrance of the restaurant which also houses an open bar. It also acts as the waiting area of the restaurant. The outdoor dining areas are accessible via this space and are located on both sides.

The low ceilings in the waiting area have also been given a textured treatment and bright shades of yellow and peach have been used on the walls to continue the theme. Sand coloured floor tiles have been placed in a nod to Moroccan architectural sensibilities. The open bar, with its black granite top vividly contrasts against the green coloured mosaic tiles.

Multiple level steps to one side of the waiting area lead the diners to the first of the outdoor dining area, where a white motif cutout made from steel greets them. In this space, Shikre has designed two seating clusters that function as private dining. Birchwood and steel arches are used to construct two tent-like structures and gossamer curtains in mustard yellow and red partially cover the space. A steel lantern with intricate latticework etched on it completes the Moroccan experience.

Shikre has done away with the customary table and chair set for dining and has instead incorporated a low dining table and cushions on the floor for seating.

He adds, «This is in keeping with the theme of the restaurant and was a deliberate decision as in Indore there is a prevalent culture where people still prefer to sit down and eat their dinner.»

Shikre has also skillfully created another set of two separate private dining areas by introducing a water body. The first is located in the same line of the tents, has birchwood arches interspaced between dining tables and the second has steel white cut-outs as seen near the entrance interspaced between the tables.

«The cut-outs are hollow in design and have in-lit floor, which doubles as the roof and placed grills with motif etched on them to aesthetically define the area. Bright shades of light peach complement the dark orange textured walls here.

Since the restaurant is open to the elements, he has carefully selected materials that can withstand monsoon showers. Attention has also been paid to lighting, where each dining table in the restaurant comes with candlelights. Additional lighting has been provided in the form of sunflower shaped lamps that bring in an element of jovial.

«As a protective and visual element, I placed glass railings around the edges of the both the outdoor spaces,» says Shikre.

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