The Open Box, a restaurant in Bengaluru, has several unique and twisted offerings that are out-of-the-box.
Amit Ahuja, CEO, AA Hospitality LLP and the man behind The Open Box (TOB) was an aspiring entrepreneur. When Spiga in Bengaluru closed its doors, Ahuja saw a chance to realise his dream. He ended his corporate role in a hospitality establishment and made his entrepreneurial debut.
´I wanted a space that would be open all day, where one could walk in at any point for a cup of tea, to have a conversation or to enjoy a meal. This led to the creation of the café space, with its colourful seating options, low tables and two-seater settings,´ explains Ahuja.
Anshul Choda, Principal Architect, Sanctuary Architects and Designers, says, ´The linear floor plate is divided against the longer axis creating various zones allowing for different activities to happen on the parallel.´
Different chapters were created with screens of varying porosities that visually connect the space. The screens are fashioned as a display for merchandise or serve as bar and crockery display, or as an installation as seen in the twelve feet high doors that frame a shallow water body.
Past the suspended metal bucket seat swings that are also a part of the seating arrangement of the café area, is the Garage. Enclosed within flexible glass doors and done up in black and white, the elements denote the inside of a garage. Catering to corporate groups for offsite brainstorming sessions, the Garage has suspended tables that can be rolled up into the ceiling. Sliding mirrors make way for a projection screen and a board.
´The sliding doors were put in place so that we could also use this space as an exercise studio since the restaurant opens only at noon. This would be a great way to use the space during day time,´ explains Ahuja.
Commune and Arcade
The Commune has long community tables that can seat 20 at a time or may be broken up to host smaller groups. Above these tables are large hand- woven light fixtures customised by Purple Turtles, based on the design provided by Choda´s team.
The Arcade is perhaps the loudest and liveliest space at TOB. It holds the bar area and a pool table. Ahuja wanted to do something interesting with the large wall of exposed bricks here. That led to the idea of a large world map of faux grass that would become a talking point. The subtle messages from this simple installation are ´Green the planet´, ´Save the planet´ or ´We are one planet´.
The Arcade also hosts the Workstation - a long stretch of a table with view of the city.
All across TOB you will find interesting artefacts sourced from various antique stores in Delhi and Mumbai. Five art students from Chitra Kala Parishath were brought into the restaurant. Their work is portrayed as installation here.
There´s a dining space on the mezzanine level that overlooks both sides of the restaurant, giving the diner a vantage point to watch the large TV screens. Open to the elements, it is a perfect space to enjoy Bengaluru´s famous weather.
Choda says that the colour palette is fairly neutral - greys, whites and earth tones. Bright spots are created with crockery, artefacts and focal light fixtures.
Pine wood, IPS flooring, natural undressed and local raw Sadarhalli granite, exposed bricks, corrugated metal sheets exposed on the underside, bison board panels, metal brite bars and local hardy plants form the understated mix of material at the restaurant.
TOB is a multipurpose space that lends itself to fun, relaxation, interaction, contemplation, ideation and gastronomy.
Text: Ruth Dsouza Prabhu
photos: Manan Upadhyay and Rohit Sarkar
Sanctuary Architects,16/14 Binny Crescent, Benson Cross Road, Benson Town, Bengaluru- 560 046.
Tel: 080-4127 7059.
Meet the designer
Firm: Sanctuary Architects and Designers (2003)
Firm specialisation: Primary offerings of architecture, interiors and spatial design services
Design philosophy: Sanctuary likes blending minimalism with Asian tropical architecture and materials in ways that are truly sustainable.
Favourite architect/Designer: Geoffery Bawa & Peter Zumthor