A Kaleidoscopic Feast

Rushda Hakim And Rishita Das


Iraa, a boutique restaurant in the Swarnabhoomi township of Raipur, provides a distinctive fine-dining experience. True to its moniker that means ‘elements’ in Sanskrit, Iraa encapsulates the five elements of the universe in its design, aesthetics and cuisine.

Nestled in the environs of upscale houses and residential plots, Iraa by Design Office appeals to both your eyes and taste buds with its royal ambience. Right from the outdoor area that resembles a palatial courtyard with its long walkway, interspersing water bodies and cool canopies, the tone is set for a one-of-a-kind experience.

 In tune with the client brief, everything in Iraa speaks luxury. But it’s not the kind of distant luxury that overwhelms you, but one that comforts you with its warmth.

Segregated into two levels, the restaurant offers an interesting choice of seating. The ground floor houses an open kitchen with an adjacent community table, a long row of two seaters in the middle, a screened circular arrangement with sofas and a cosy, private dining room.

While the ground level is conceptualised as a vibrant family space, the first level is quieter. It’s modelled as a library bar, a space to just sit, read and have a drink.

Designed as a living room, the layout here is well spread out. Apart from a private dining room and dedicated seating areas, the floor also boasts of a long line of bar stools along the glazing overlooking the greenery outside; just apt for an introspective diner.

In Iraa, it’s all about making sure that every kind of diner finds his comfort zone. By providing unique experiences for the different kinds of diners, Iraa has managed to capture the myriad elements that encompass human emotion.

Iraa is all about the elements, not just in the way it caters to various moods, but also in the minutiae of its design.

The colour scheme with dark tones and complementing lighter shades uses symbolism to represent the constituting forces of the universe. Extensive use of wood in the décor brings a grounded earthiness and white cushioned seats balance this with their calm composition. The Italian marble flooring, too, is crafted in a specific way with patterns and cuts to align with the restaurant’s theme.

Literally as well, the elements are depicted on the wall adjacent to the stairs with five panels of art works representing earth, water, fire, wind and ether. Another instance is the wallpaper on the ground floor, private dining room walls that makes a calculated attempt to bring the outdoors inside. So, while it’s designed as a cocooned space, there is also a sense of freedom and openness to it.

The materials and textures have an important role to play in this story. Wood rules the décor in an unambiguous manner –the rafters chiselling the character of the tall ceiling, the highlight panel next to the staircase, the dark toned flooring at the first level and the brick partitions right before you step inside demonstrate that wood isn’t just an accessory here but is the protagonist around whom everything else is centred.

 Landscaping is the other component that neatly balances the earthiness of wood with its organic touch. The green wall as a backdrop to the staircase is a beautiful example of the way landscape is used inside.

Iraa is all about diverging forces coming together. In the five elements that blend to form one entity, in its wide range of dining experiences and in the sophisticated metro feel that it brings to Raipur, Iraa seamlessly integrates disparate pieces into one cohesive unit.