Main Course | October 2016
Mumbai´s most-talked about restaurant - Koko by Henry Tham - flaunts interiors by Sumessh Menon Associates.
Mumbai´s Lower Parel area has been buzzing with new restaurants off late. Not following the bandwagon and creating a niche for itself is Henry Tham´s newest hotspot - Koko. Offering scrumptious food against an equally tasteful backdrop, the design of this restaurant is the brainchild of Sumessh Menon and his team of architects.
Located in Kamala Mills, Koko sports an exposed red brick façade. You step into the place through the grand front door made of faceted bevelled glass with metal and wood. Spread across 3,500 sq ft, the minimalist space is carefully crafted with a diverse selection of materials that orchestrate a story of nature, art and class. The first thing that strikes you is the flooring. Dressed in grey, white and yellow mosaic, custom-made in Jaipur, it beautifully complements the slate used on the columns, which the designer has highlighted instead of camouflaging.
Walk further inside and the mosaic gives way to chevron-patterned wooden flooring. Nothing, as Menon says, ´was readymade´, and everything was sourced from India. While one entire wall has been made out of Siporex, the ceiling is cladded in heavy wooden blocks that were originally 18- to 30-foot columns sourced from an old warehouse. Even the black Indian marble used for the staircase that leads to the washrooms and administrative offices on the level below was sourced from a quarry in South India.
Being a Pan Asian restaurant, the use of colour red was inevitable, but the designers have steered away from typical South Asian décor elements and artefacts. Red, too, is limited to the wall near the staircase, which demonstrates a unique shadow art of Chinese warriors in different poses and the PU lacquered red tables.
Taking inspiration from art, one length of a wall is covered in a stunning Reza-inspired Siporex artwork with wooden blocks interspersed with solid glass blocks.
´Every project requires a unique approach. I don´t reference anything that I have done previously for a new space. It needs to be a completely clean slate, getting back to the beginning of sorts, and creating something I have never done before,´shares Menon as he elaborates about the design of the bar.
A 100-foot long island bar made from locally sourced wood, the bar counter has abstract, fluid, resin-filled crevices that give it a distinctive texture. The apron has a three-dimensional look about it, covered as it is with cement-cast blocks in different patterns. From rustic finishes and unique materials to period furniture sitting along¡side contemporary pieces, the choice of décor elements and materials is outstanding.
Even the washrooms have a story to tell. Dressed in monochromes, their ceiling is made of thin strips of fabric replacing the false ceiling and uniquely shaped backlit mirrors.
A distinct palette
The use of colour is distinguishing - while yellow stands against a grey backdrop the artistic selection of chairs and bar stools steal the show. The yellow wing chairs, the crown like sofas with high backs, the sculptural lights that look like passion flower, the blown glass tear drop lights over the bar, the artistic crushed fabric lights for the seating area and the cascade of bulbs dropping from the ceiling all make a beautiful story.
If conversations, good food and a thrilling ambience is what you have on mind, Koko is the place to be!
Total Area: 3,400 Sq ft
Text: Sumisha Gilotra
photos: Anand Diwadkar
Sumessh Menon Associates, Jay Suvarnadeep,
Unit No 02, Ground Floor, SV Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai 400 054.
Tel: 022-2605 5511.
Meet the designer
Firm: Sumessh Menon Associates founded about a decade back.
Firm specialisation: Hospitality and homes in Mumbai and across the globe like Ney York, South Africa & Dubai strongly.
Design philosophy: I strongly believe in design sustainability.
Philosophy towards life: Work hard and party harder.
Favourite architect/Designer: Late Zaha Hadid.
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