The Member’s Bar is a take on a 21st century Tavern
BRIEF – The existing bar had a limited patronage, both in terms of number of patrons and a high digit defining the average age group. The brief required us to reinvent the premise in a way that will increase the foot-fall but decrease the average age of its patrons.
INNOVATION – Reinterpreting a Tavern
Since, the term ‘tavern’ was often used during initial client discussions, the studio decided to break the environ of a tavern down to its Lowest Common Denominator – Material, texture and lighting. Although, there was an immediate and unanimous agreement, on Wood + Brick + Leather + Focused lighting, between the clients and the design team, the vision for the bar was blurry.
INNOVATION + DESIGN PROCESS – Hitting “smooth”
With patronage concerns as the catalyst, we took the first design cue from the idea of hitting the smooth button in reality. All modeling softwares, that are prevalent sketchbooks in every design office today, carry a trick button (usually numeric 3) that converts an orthogonal geometry into a sinuous entity. We wondered what would happen if we do that in reality to the existing furniture layout.
The regimented atmosphere of sofa sets was broken down by sweeping furniture that provided more average seating space per sqft. than a conventional single seater sofa.
In addition, the Geometry created alcoves that could support seating groups from 4-8 people. This allowed both, private conversations and larger congregations on cricket and politics.
The furniture transits seamlessly into the wall system and then the ceiling. The entire geometry of back panels, false ceiling, sofa seating was divided into modules of 2.5 ft., eliminating the junctions between Seating-Wall and Wall-Ceiling. Each element was rendered with the materials that was agreed upon during the Tavern interpretation. (i.e. – Wood + Brick + Leather)
Similarly, extensions were made to the bar counter and storage borrowing material or geometry from the prevailing design style.
A combination of LEDs – generic white light and focused/suspended yellow light adds to the warmth of the space.
INNOVATION | QUESTIONING CONTROL OVER DESIGN
Digital tools of design were our sketchbook for the project. In addition to solving geometry, the virtual space was used to test materiality and visual experience. Several iterations were generated to have a one-on-one comparison of each environment. This not only aided in design decisions but also client discussions.
This reliability indexes at the constant debate – where does the control over design lie?
With present influx of ICT tools, the role of the architect is being re-defined. Now, an architect would not draw definite lines on a tracing that shall be extruded as it is on the site. A tracing cannot give you a feedback, a conversation.
Architects today are responsible for setting up systems in a computational space. The outputs of this space question architect’s intention. The constant negotiation between the architect and his/her tool produces the final product.
INNOVATION | DESIGN DERIVATION
LEFT: “Smoothening” – Diagrams explaining the derivation of furniture layouts.
RIGHT: Demonstration of 3 distinct components operating in unison – Panelling + Seating + Ceiling Batons
INNOVATION | CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENT SET
Innovation in design calls for innovation in construction instructions.
We realised very early that we would have to re-invent the instruction methodology for the construction documents. A short code was written to extract each of the 44 individual sections, alongwith its dimension, that make up panelling + ceiling system. Each Section was nestled on a sheet with its exact location on the plan. Generic diagrams were also provided to understand construction sequence.
This creation of a novel communication guideline, not only saved time and cost but also passed information sequentially to team of semi-skilled and local sourced carpentry team.
INNOVATION | HIGH + LOW TECH
Indian Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry operates within curious dynamics in terms of technology utilization.
As a design industry, we are constantly making attempts to shift onto digital + computational tools for design and its development. The engineering industry continues to rely on ever-evolving software for analysis and math. These 2 industries are also conversing in the virtual world through a mature Building information systems.
However, at the other end of the spectrum, at the construction site, our strength is still the vast number of skilled and semi-skilled work force. India is a labour intensive AEC. Personally speaking, I believe this is a blessing. Not only this ensures employability to a majority but it ensures continuity of age old skills. The integrity of craft and nuances of manual output remains.
Within this Thesis of two worlds;
A. Digital design generation and
B. physical methods of in-situ construction;
We place this project as well. On one hand, the design process relied on a repertoire of Rhino + Grasshopper + Max + VRay skills; on the other, it was built by a skilled team of carpenters with primarily hand held tools and the ability to read the construction drawing set perfectly.
The workforce not only crafted the place to perfection but provided educated critique during the construction phase.