The Chatter House, Capturing the Quintessential Irish and English Pub enfolded in the Khan Market lane of New Delhi by M:OFA

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Project Credits:
Project Name: The Chatter House
Architects: M:OFA Studio
Location: Khan Market, New Delhi
Client: The Chatter House
Principal Architect: Manish Gulati
Design Team: Jagbir Singh, Tonoy Sarma
Site Area: 1000 sq.ft
Built-Up Area: 1700 sq.ft
Duration: December 2015-March 2016
Photographer: Niveditaa Gupta
Flooring: Nitco Terrazzo tiles
Furniture: Custom designed by M:OFA with Universal WoodCrafts
Air Conditioning: Trane
Lighting: Custom designed by M:OFA with Luxxor Lighting
Wallpaper: Prasun Mazumdar Design
Skylight: Designed by M:OFA, fabricated on site
Wall Cladding: Jindal Brick Tiles double sandblasted
PMC: JADE CONSULTANTS 
Civil & Interiors: Limra
Electrical: Limra
HVAC: Arrow Refrigeration
Original Text By: Zohra Khan

The first outlet of this popular gastro pub chain is situated in Nehru Place. As the design of this new outlet, in Khan Market unfolds, it becomes evident that this truly reflects the charm of the pubs and bars belonging to the English vintage era and is an understated extension of the first. The Khan Market lane displays an amalgamation of high end cafes and designer label boutiques, depicting a classically refined typology, where The Chatter House carves its own niche, and reflects a ‘statement in restraint’. 

The first glimpse of the entrance is welcomed by a rather large sized door, made of steel and finished in black matt finish. The door is paneled with clear glass. As you step in, you head a stairway, which appears dark and the guide is a sole sliver of light, encompassing a sense of thrill in the welcoming sentiment. Basically, the spatial quality of the very first space comforts you by changing your vision and defines a soothing ideal for your eyes, allowing you to revel, your senses being defined, as if rich chocolate after a spicy meal.

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As a stairway appears after being absorbed into space, along the edges of the treads are built-in step lights, which add to the spatiality with its warm light and appearance of a guiding trail. Following the steps in this realm is ideated to ascending a dream like stance, reaching to the stars, further enhanced by the treatments of the adjacent walls, with the one on the left displaying pictures of famous vintage rock bands, stark elements on the wall, which is pale in colour. Meanwhile, the wall on the right side has been treated in a weathered patina and the earthy elegance of differing shades of brick, with white lime appearing as mortar, standing out in the dark background, and playing the role of a balancing act in the ensemble. 

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As you make your way upstairs, you reach the floor level where the bar is located, emphasized by two barrel vaults lined in brick, supported by heavily riveted steel girders, enclosing the space. These are in symmetry and reminiscent of the quintessential British and Irish underground stations and tunnels. Adhering to the general geometry, the fenestrations have been designed as large sized circular glass windows, directly below the vaults, and similarly lined with bricks, allowing a vast extent of natural light, exuding a comforting vibe.

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Central to the décor is a majestic bar counter, designed with an inspiration from Art Deco and built out of wood, complete with proportionally and stylistically matched wood and tanned leather bar stools, square in shape. The countertop finished to shine is embellished by a steel member embedded below it. There is a defined riveting at the corners, which serves to enhance the element of vintage. The entire scheme gains more appreciation when the amount of detailing to stay attuned to the design idea is observed. The seating, for instance, has been designed, with tanned tint, antique styled, leather upholstery, with high back paneling made in dark wood, akin to the typology of Irish bars and pubs within and in proximity to Dublin. The flowing has been done in grey and white coloured terrazzo tiles, designed to form a continuous kaleidoscopic pattern, in visual resonance with the richness of the carpet. The space, in the feeling it exudes, relays the impression of tunnel, kindled in the dark, through a series of lights in accordance with the décor, some along the periphery and others suspended from the ceiling.  demurely designed lights jutting out along the periphery and others suspended down the ceiling. The design of the lights, in fact, are also inspired from the wrought iron torches which once carried Edison bulbs and were used by the Railway tunnel mechanics, during the locomotive era in England. 

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Yet again, the ascension from the lower to the upper floor is dramatic with regard to ambience, with light rays beaming down through the skylight above the staircase, and an image placed there, of a famous English rock band ‘The WHO’, where the members of the band are sleeping, and bring a sense of lighthearted amuse in the scenario. The design itself appeals to your instincts, with the intensity and darkness imbibed in the lower floor gradually receding to a lighter, and a naturally blanched upper floor, due to the openings in the form of the large windows and skylights. It is with these openings that the designers relate the interiors to the context, as the largesse of the windows allow light to permeate the space, allowing the interiors to be viewed in the juxtaposition of the sky and with a tree overlooking the scenario. The position of the windows is slightly skewed below the ceiling, and are refined along the edge. The continuity however, is fragmented due to a finish of black matt over a peripheral steel girder. Following the brief pause, it traverses obliquely to hover over one third of the ceiling.  

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The ideology behind the clear demarcation between the lower and the upper floors is to ensure that the outlet itself possesses a spatiality that suggests an available variation for the entire clientele. While the lower level exudes a relatively higher sense of quiet and privacy, adhering to a clientele which would comprise of, seemingly, serious connoisseurs, quiet or brooding thinkers, with a veil of privacy and politeness. In a contrast, the upper floor radiates a relatively more cheerful and dynamic vibe, with freewheeling conversations and laughter.  

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With their affinity to vintage bands, it comes as no surprise that the design itself attempts to resonate with music, where their cohesive display of Irish nostalgia inducing the space to subconsciously bring more life to melodies. Art collectibles within the décor are another form of connecting with the customers, provoking a creatively profound impression. It also shows a tasteful sense of inspiration, their interest and knowledge regarding art, with their art deco inspired bar counter, as well as the walls, stamped with collages of rhythm notes in Irish, and pictures of old English rock bands, an antique piano and extensive oak wood paneling.  

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The entire aura of the space reflects the ideology behind the gastro pub, remaining faithful to all details that are derived from the England and the Ireland, holding its quintessential charm in its realm. With the usage of earthy textures, in the form of wood, and especially brick, the formation of space by the defining barrel vaults, as well as the large fenestrations, contribute greatly towards making the design idyllic within its context and according to its clientele. 

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About the Designers: M:OFA Studios, New Delhi

Manifestation of Fluid Architecture (abbreviated M:OFA) is a realisation of a design theory that redefine and reinvent architectural manifolds, moving beyond the clichéd world of regularised grids, dimensions, standards and principles. Here, the walls bend and column grids twist responding to the ever changing energy fields created by the life forms it houses. Every project brings along it an idea or a beautiful thought that gets nurtured through the journey of its manifestation, to take the form of a discernibly stronger foothold. At M:OFA, Architecture is deemed to be a more fluid expression that shares a profound symbiosis with the life form that dwell in and around it. It is a celebration of lines, tectonics, flow, nature, and everything that forms a part of the continuum. The designs with their sinuous bands of spaces, ever varying voids and effortless expanses are suggestive of freedom and unconformity. The structure is believed to be a receptive body that, more like a living organism, shares energies with the life forms in its proximity, and reciprocate in an adaptive gesture to the multiple changes that take place in its milieu.

Our Constant inspiration comes out from the ever-inspiring life and nature. The various instances that life throws in the pace of everyday life has so much in store to look, introspect, contemplate and extract. Our designs are an interpretation of these very snippets where we meticulously work to turn a beautiful image of a thought from the virtual canvas to reality.

Practice

We started our practice in 2002 but it was through the practice and realization of what we as Architects would like to stand for and contribute towards was when Manifestation of Fluid Architecture (MOFA studios Pvt Ltd) was formalized in 2007.The Vision of the Company is the vision of every Individual in the company – to give a holistic approach to every project in the field of Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism.

The design processes is supported by the studio’s International & Holistic approach towards Architecture in terms of Exhaustive & Constant Research, Resolution, Analysis, Reports, Case studies & project discussions on design, functionality, Technology, inventive concepts and sustainability issues. Starting from a sketch of an idea, to stamp size plans, Physical models, parametric exploration & simulations & seeing various layers grow over it, a project is a labour of love.

Every project throughout its lifecycle undergoes multiple layers of planning, design & realization. At M:OFA take every project through these processes of backwards & forward through various simulations, case studies, exhaustive research, discussions & application. We see various faculties of Architecture, Planning, Engineering, Management and Finance as not individual components but as various expertise/ sciences needed to manifest a project. The influx of these sciences is fluid at multiple levels, stages times & sequence. We explore Programme, Design Concepts, Technology, and Engineering Issues, Project cycle, Sustainable & Green Architecture, Deliverance and supervision.

Green Philosophy: As a firm we are committed to providing green Architecture and usage of green power extensively. The basics of a green design are an integral part of any MOFA design.

mofa-1Manish Gulati  (Principal Architect)
mofa-2Tanushree Gulati (Principal Planner)
mofa-3Abhishek Sorampuri  (Junior Partner) 

– Devashree Vyas ,Volume Zero

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