Pure and Simple

At the Caramello Restaurant in New Delhi, Alfaz Miller Associates or ABM, has made ingenious use of white-hued elements to recreate a recognisably posh European feel.

With a clearly European look and feel, the Caramello restaurant at Hansplaza in Barakhamba, New Delhi, is especially designed to service in-house guests of the Hans Group of Hotels (the restaurant is located on the second floor of this 21-storey high-rise), as well as walk-in clientele. The Caramello has been conceptualised as an authentic Italian eatery replete with minute European nuances by the team from Alfaz Miller Associates, or ‘ABM’.

The linearity of the 1,500 sq. ft. spread is deftly handled with a clever melange-de-trois of luxurious material. Although the seating is conformist (bar counter at one end-peripheral seating-one flexible row with an aisle), the treatment to the false ceiling and the windows make a distinct design statement. The false ceiling curves a good 24 inches over the window opening at one end, drawing one’s attention categorically to the seemingly enhanced width of the room.

The fact that the restaurant is devoid of any exterior view is effectively taken care of with the use of vacuum glass (for its acoustic properties) on the windows and their subsequent dressing in frosted film. Several mild steel rods twisted to resemble wild reeds are fitted into the window sill, creating a static landscape. A thin (about 18” wide) strip of mirror corresponding to the length of the frosted film on the windows finds an application on the opposite interior end of the restaurant. This helps create shifting imagery of the reeds and the ambience around, thus, visually energising the décor for a diner facing the wall.

The pièce de résistance is the all-white ensemble. Considering the colour to be a major part of the European scheme, faux leather and Corian complemented by steel and glass furnish the tables, chairs and bar stools. While the material steers towards a cold palette, warmth is introduced through a solidity that marks the entire scenario. Ambient lighting keeps the place dimly lit. The backdrop of the bar counter is interestingly fitted with round cut-outs and their stimulant dummies. With the punched cut-outs being back-lit, the entire backdrop is shrouded in a play of light and shadow.

Taking this unsullied intangibility to a more physical plane, sofa backs are furnished in brown chenille, a cobbled pathway is subtly introduced into a copper-finish high-gloss ceramic tiled floor and steel anoints the bar stools, the reed-like rods and as décor-complementing verticals in the bar counter.

The project exudes class, and fundamental design sensibilities come across through attention to detail, like the precision-driven heights of the frosted film at the windows of the restaurant. Susan Chacko, who led the design team composed of Ashok Solanki, is clearly busy reinventing the oft-tested path of public space design, attempting to create a niche in the hospitality industry.