A concoction of colour and cats

  • Architects

  • Location

  • Design team

    Ar. Navni Naik & Id. Kapil Menda
  • Client

    Mr. Sneh Sankhla
  • Structural engineer

  • Civil contractor

    Ashirvad Consultants, Indore
  • Project area

    1500 Sq.ft.
  • Initiation of project

    January 2018
  • Completion of project

    April 2018
  • Project estimate

    20 Lacs
  • Photographs

    Photographix India
October 25 / 2018

Just My Bakes, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Just My Bakes, designed by Navni Naik and Kapil Menda of Studio Kaarigars, is a café in Indore that draws many parallels with food. It is complex, intriguing and highly engaging. And like a plate of well-prepared chow, one can either choose to revel in the burst of stimuli or really delve into its elements or try to dissect what makes them tick. Scrutinizing the café within this premise, the project emerges and engages as a delightful concoction, a controlled potpourri of much relish.

Text: Shriti Das
Images: Photographix India
Drawings: Studio Kaarigars

Architecture and interior design is possibly only second to food when it comes to engaging the mind. Sight, physical contact and even sound is inseparable from the experience of creating and occupying habitation. Food, on the other hand, is perhaps the sole art that engages all the senses. While palate is possibly the most essential experience of food, it is comprehended at the end of the act of eating. You watch the food as it is plated and presented, the aroma reaching your nose, and sounds if any, heightening this anticipation. And then there are many ways to experience food as it is with spatial design. The primary being consuming what is laid in front of you in case of food; or around you in case of architecture and design; subject to approval, disapproval or indifference. Then one can engage with its elements. In case of design, these elements pertain to colour, spatial configuration, material, context and so on. With food the primary elements are ingredients, techniques, presentation, play and balance of flavours and so on. In this premise, how does Just My Bakes operate?
Located in a commercial-cum-residential precinct, the project demanded a space that was airy and unrushed. The exterior is almost a pleasant distraction when perceived from the road that abets it. Not one that screams its presence but incites curiosity. The pink façade engages the vision. The white ornamentation around its arched windows and the delicately fashioned entrance gate frame the café picturesquely. It has an outdoor seating space that again adheres to using bright colours with white. While white is commonly attributed as a neutral or an unadorned element to design, here even the whites standout in tandem with the bright colours. Almost like those common ingredients in food that one takes for granted, take carbohydrates for instance; again mostly white and commonly accompanies most meals, becoming a major chunk of food that we eat; be it in the form of rice, potatoes and starch. And like the white carbs, the colour white in the ambience is indulgent and comforting.
The use of colour appears unabashed especially given the vivid hues of pink, yellow and blue. And these hues are not pastels or subdued shades. Rather, the pink at the entrance is reminiscent of sweet frosting on cakes; the yellow in the interiors harks back to sunny egg-yolks. The bright spaces were not exactly conceived adhering to these food analogies but to impart a bohemian vibe that invokes art and unconventionality. Like, Studio Kaarigars have further embellished these colours with mosaic flooring at the entrance. The mosaics were bought from the scrap of a construction site nearby. Old furniture, accessories like lamps, lights, wall hangings, old TV, floor fan etc. were procured from flea markets and thrift-stores in Mumbai. Mixing old and raw with contemporary was the basic motive, be it furniture, walls or floor.
This colourful concoction was furthered by a cat themed artwork on the walls. Cats signified lazing and relaxing without much care, a common attribute of the feline pet. They incorporated the cat graphics in various postures of cats; sitting, relaxing and even jumping walls and exploring niches; all very graceful, in perfect poise and posture. The architects have further added an element of grace by creating arched doors and windows. The door and window shutters were refurbished from scrap. The architects at Studio Kaarigars received the property sans the front façade wherein they created the arched openings resplendent with ornate grillwork. Similar graphics and details were replicated for the entrance gate. These arched openings are further embellished by mosaics. Against the colourful ‘frosting-replicating’ walls, these mosaics resemble edible glitter on colourful confectionary. Another element that continues across the café is the cement flooring with oxide pigments for colour.
The café is divided into 5 zones or seating areas. With common features like the flooring, vintage thrift furniture and the cat graphics blending into one another; each zone’s is segregated with walls of different heights with niches in them. If explained in prose, Just My Bakes, is indeed a mishmash of many ideas. The cafe presents itself like a feast of colours, patterns, graphics and cheery warmth. It is like one of those complicated recipes with a massive onslaught of ingredients, elements and techniques. But what emerges on the plate is a balance of flavours; in this case, a balance of colour and graphics, textures and techniques; like the things one hears and sees on the popular ‘Masterchef’ shows but often seem so out of league and reality.
With both, food and design, when resources are optimal, there is also a chance to go overboard and create a mishmash that assault the senses rather than arouse. But Studio Kaarigars achieves eminence, awe and intricacy in the space and ambience that it has created for Just My Bake. And just like a complex plate of food you can delve really deep or simply sit back and enjoy. Either ways, the experience is bound to delight !