Project name: Frozen Monkey Restaurant and Lounge
Location : E-Square Mall, Pune
Project Team: Studio Osmosis
Situated in a popular locale, within the confines of the E-Square Mall in Pune, the Frozen Monkey Restaurant and Lounge sets itself apart from its contemporaries, for the uniquely welcoming and enchanting vibes its design exudes. The restaurant and its environment itself are such that the predominant clientele belongs to the age group between 18 years to 30 years, who can be defined as the ‘social monkeys’ of the day and age. The design in turn reflects the same aura, making the design youthful and vibrant and the tagline ‘Forever Young’ stands out in the nature of the restaurant, the spirit of the customers and is brought out in every facet of the design.
The planning of the space of the restaurant has aimed to achieve a distinction between static and active zones, with respect to varying activities it focuses on. The static zone includes the private dining areas, where seating would be prevalent, and hence the variation in movements is much lesser. The active zone comprises of the lounge and the bar, where there would be more momentum in and around the area. Therefore, the planning consists of a certain level of dynamism with the interactions of and in between the active and the frozen zone.
The existing site, preceding the design of the restaurant, had a ceiling with pinewood rafters, and the same was incompletely constructed. The designers opted to reuse this for the present design of the ceiling. While the design atmosphere reflects the lively spirit of ‘monkey’, the wooden elements suspended from the ceiling at various intervals bear resemblance to the idea of a cave, and this reflects the concept of ‘Frozen’ as the abstraction in design depicts the form of stalactites and stalagmites. While the appreciation of the experience is enhanced at the entry at the bar area and in the private dining area, the other regions of the restaurant are quite brightly lit and they have a casual, pop-like and funky vibe.
The usage of lights in the design has been such that the quality of luminosity radiates an ambience which seems unique and welcoming, and the same has been used in the lounge space as well as the private dining space. Further, an illuminated wall in the dining area comprises of an artwork, which depicts an abstracted tree, which has been lit from the back, making for an attractive feature, and adding to the ambience, keeping in accordance with the theme. It is an artistic abstraction of the dwelling and play area of the new social monkeys residing among the lit branches of this beautiful tree. The bar counter also has a similar faceted elevation, which depicts the cracking of ice. Moreover, the bar has its back designed with the pine rafters, mimicked from the ceiling, and it envelops the ceiling above it, and the whole space is enclosed as one.
The planning of the restaurant had to be done creatively, and keeping intact the functionality of the place, as the restaurant caters to wide range of clientele, and through different times of the day. The customers include regulars who might be youngsters, families and office going crowds along with people milling around in malls and walking in, even first timers. Hence, the space had to retain a sense of flexibility, for events when a portion of the area would be given out for reservation for small parties, but it would not pose as an obstruction to regular dining. A similar proposition was made for the bar area, which could be converted into a buffet counter when the occasion presented itself. Therefore, the zoning as well as planning was done is such a way that the flexible areas were segregated, and the fixed seating was planned along the peripheral area and demarcation was done not by means of solid partitions, but by using light wooden latticed screens, along with highlighting elements via features in the ceiling.
The planning and conceptual design has been further enhanced by the colour palette employed, which incudes vibrant shades of blues, yellows and reds which give the restaurant and the bar a chic and a retro look. Also, decorations include quirky wall coverings and funky graphics, with the lighting fixtures being customized to resemble different traits of monkey, as well as ‘monkey business’, such as a bunch of bananas, banana peels and monkey tails.
Keeping in accordance with the times and trends, the design of the restaurant reflects the same. It is a socially active space which has been created by using everyday use of apps as a media to generate offers and to enable interaction which would be not just within singular groups but also within the rest of the crowd, including fun activities like selfie booths, specifically designed, along with display of twitter feed on a large LED screen that everyone can view.
The overall essence of the restaurant reflects an eclectic fusion between the raw and rustic essence of the animalistic visual presented by the idea of a monkey, and the evolution of the monkey to a technologically oriented humane individual of today. With the wooden elements playing their part and giving the space a naturalistic sense, the play of materials employed, lighting fixed and colours accented, the design truly brings the best of all forms together, in order to create a simultaneously pleasant and enjoyable space.
A multidisciplinary design practice, Studio Osmosis was formed by Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally in 2010. The practice reflects a balance between youth, experience and creativity. The name of the Studio itself, based on the genesis of the Osmosis phenomenon, depicts that the idea is to absorb the individual needs of the client, along with working cohesively on the design and collaboratively arriving at a solution which is not only creative but also sustainable. All designs at the Studio are based on research and experimentation with adaptability as the key factor. The focus is always on the site, context, the constraints and the opportunity that a project presents.
Both Sameer and Shilpa have been felicitated as the next generation architects as the ‘ IGen Top50’ in 2013 . They have also both been awarded the ‘Young Achiever 2013’ by the MACCIA (Maharashtra Chambers of Commerce). Sameer Balvally had been selected as India’s HOT 100 Most Influential people in the industry by Commercial Design Magazine (ITP Publishing India) in 2014. Studio Osmosis projects have been published by various esteemed National magazines covering right from their commercial, hospitality to residential projects in the past years.
Studio Osmosis has a contemporary and flexible approach towards design and technology with no formal style they idolise; they derive inspiration from various walks of life, art, culture, history and the personalities involved. It is a Studio where young minds brain storm together; ideas are born, nurtured and streamlined to offer a unique and thoughtful product to the client. The designs and creativity are influenced by the environment and the built fabric in the various places they have travelled and observed over the years.