In the middle of one of the most beautiful green areas in Mumbai, India, the British architects have transformed an old colonial building into a restaurant with a lounge area, a and different spaces for social events. The project of reconstructing the initial building has rejected form the beginning the idea of completing the image of the past, offering in exchange, a new structure, covered in glass, independent and placed in the middle of the old one, keeping only the volume of the second-floor and the roof.
Being covered by one hundred years old walnut trees, the location ( Mumbai Race Course ) has influence the decision of the architects. The impressive canopy of the Indian walnut trees which goes higher than any of the surrounding buildings was extended inside, in the shape of metallic pillars from which many slimmer beams ramify. And so, the image of the vegetation was transposed into an abstract geometry with minimum details, keeping only certain principals of the reproduced landscape. The metallic structure of the pillars is unfolded regularly, each tree-pillar having a central vertical ax, around which 8 branches are symmetrically situated. The ceiling is composed by a series of panels arranged oblique; the lines of the intersection of the panels correspond to the points of intersection of the pillar’s branches. Therefore, the ceiling goes up or down in the way the branches are longer or shorter. In certain areas of intersection, the ceiling is cut, allowing indirect light to come trough, suggesting the filtrated light of the sun coming down through the trees.
The first floor is entirely white. The bar from the second floor is, however, the opposite: here, the masonry, the windows’ shapes were kept. The walls are covered in walnut panels seated 3-dimensional, reproducing in the same abstract manner the image of the dense leafage of the trees.
The exposed tree-like steel structure creates a dynamic effect, accentuated by the usage of white. This project is perfectly integrated into the selected site, by mimicking the surrounding canopy of Indian walnuts. An oasis of relaxation.
Photo courtesy to Fram Petit, Edmund Sumner