Design Delicious

November, 2011


Hong Kong based architects, Simon Zeng and Jose Olivares lend Bene the restaurant at Sheraton Bangalore the perfect recipe for a dining experience: a warm decor, spectacular views and a wide array of seating arrangements.  

Simply put, the essence of food is enhanced by the décor of the space.One has only to witness this at Bene  the Italian restaurant at Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway. Aromatic interiors and a warm décor lend a distinct flavour to this restaurant, whose name a trademark used by the Sheraton Hotels  has been derived from the Italian word for 'good'. Bene reflects the simplicity and richness of the Italian dishes served here, which are a diner's delight.

For their part, designers Simon Zeng and Jose Olivares, Principal Designers, DiLeonardo International set out to create a fun yet sophi­sticated Italian restaurant that is interactive and lively. "The brief for the design of Bene came not only from the client but also from a food consultant after extensive research," informs Zeng."We were to create a unique Italian Trattoria and Bar, where wood fired pizzas and the robust flavours of the Italian cuisine would be the stars of the show." Strong design elements like the seafood bar, the wood pizza oven and wine displays strike the intro­ductory notes to this very synergetic space.

The Bene experience
Each section in the restaurant has a special design element. The Bene experience begins with the lounge, where the oval bar and the wood pizza oven are the highlights.Adjacent to this and flanking the entrance from the terrace corridor is the antipasti display table designed by combining the warmth of wood and the richness of marble.

Community eating has now become a trend in high end restaurants, in keeping with which Bene provides a large common dining table. In the dining area, the big Bene table is the centrepiece. With lively pendant fixtures above, it sets the tone for casual interaction amongst diners. Banquette seating against the kitchen wall, on the other hand, provides a more intimate environment and a sense of privacy. Adding to the overall experience are tables along the glazing wall, which give the diner a delightful view of the city.

"Apart from this, two private rooms have been designed for parties and special occasions. They follow the colour scheme and design of the open area. Finally, the terrace dining area featuring a service bar and outdoor seating has just the right amount of greenery to provide flexible private spaces," informs Zeng.
Flavour Italia
The restaurant also offers a certain buzz with its open kitchen. "The idea was to create an interactive bar-pizza experience where guests could visually parti­cipate in the cooking process while enjoying a drink or two," says Zeng. The Pizzaiolo is a much talked about feature of the restaurant. The wood-fired pizza oven is a design element that perfectly represents the concept of a cheerful, interactive, modern trattoria. "The textured dark red brick wall, which envelopes this item, creates an invigorating balance with the warm wood and colourful backlit bar counter to bring in the casual sophistication that we had envisioned," he adds.

The perfect blend
The pleasing product of the designers' efforts gives no clue about the difficulties that the project posed. "It was a challenge to make use of the generous architectural ceiling space and strike a balance between the modern and the rustic," reveals Zeng.However, through a careful selection of materials, furniture, decorative lighting and accessories, a perfect blend was found for creating a unique dining experience.

Indeed, it is this very blend that brings a little bit of Italy to Bengaluru. That the design is a hit is clear from the animated interactions of diners watching their pizzas being fired at the oval bar and chattering warmly at the Bene Table! What more could a restaurant ask for?

TEXT:  Shanti Padukone
Photos: Ian F Gibb Photography

Meet the architects
Simon Zeng and Jose Olivares
Firm: DiLeonardo International, founded in 1971.
Firm specialisation: Hospitality; hotels, resorts, spas, clubhouses, residential, casinos,
and restaurants,
Design philosophy: A collaborative approach combined with a sense of excellence provides the basis for unique designs.
Philosophy towards life: Fresh ideas and exciting possibilities

DiLeonardo International
19th floor, Hollywood Centre,
233 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong,
China. Tel: +852-2851-7282.

Bene, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel
At Brigade Gateway.
Tel: 080-4252 1000.