Bistro by the Pool is a multi-cuisine restaurant located in Raipur (C.G), India. The site is situated inside a hotel called The Babylon International. The restaurant combines various variegated dining options in a predominantly open-air concept that welcomes everyone to a calm yet stimulating experience away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The space was designed to meld with the surroundings in a way that our concept conjoins smoothly with its aura and yet preserves a distinctive presence. Harmony with nature is seen in our dining pods interlaced with local plants and our archways that meander softly across the whole site carrying the beautiful creepers throughout.
Studio Skywell received a brief to transform the space, which was initially composed of a significant and somewhat undefined open area, which housed a swimming pool and some dilapidated gazebos into an open-air café. Raipur, located in the heart of central India, has a well-earned reputation for exceedingly hot temperatures for the major part of the year, broken only by a fair amount of rainfall during the monsoon months. This posed a challenge to maintaining any open-to-sky space; accommodating and being mindful of the comfort of the people who will use this space. As a design company, we endeavour to make use of passive ways to maintain a comfortable micro-climate on the site. This nudged us to incorporate waterbodies and water features at mindful locations to maximize the cooling effect on site. Various indigenous plants and trees were also added to enhance the character of the space and its surroundings, all the while providing a cooling and shading effect.
Occupants’ well-being and comfort play a major role in our design. The entire restaurant was conceptualized as being mindful of its diverse users. It is designed with minimum level differences to avoid accidents for the elderly and children. For visual comfort, sufficient lighting is provided to avoid dark corners and for the thermal comfort of the users, an additional mist system is provided along with wall fans to mitigate the problem of excess heat. The cabanas are also equipped with pergola shades to cut down on the direct radiation and heat from the sun.
To accommodate the diverse array of users that dot this place, we came up with a catalogue of spaces to cater to different individuals and settings. Colonnade seating to enjoy some warm chai with friends, a couple’s nook for an intimate and yet engaging setting, a poolside area for our avid party-goers, and a more wholesome cabana space for families, Bistro by the Pool binds together all these options, and still adds an element of indoor seating for our more cynical and traditional diners. Our favourite seat in the house is the central cabana along with the water fountain. Each cabana seating is spacious yet intimate. Widths spanning from 4 to 5 meters provide magnificence. Utilizing our canvas to its fullest, we also ensure that every seating is about 2 – 2.5 meters apart from the next one, providing a personal experience.
For the comfort of the users, the restaurant is equipped with a mist evaporative cooling system to moderate the heat around the area. To enhance the aesthetic qualities of the space, all the service pipes are diverted from inside the columns. The column is equipped with a water inlet and outlet pipe for the plants, a mist pipe for evaporative cooling, and an electrical pipe.
The space was designed as an ode to the Hanging Gardens. The design created with the colonnade seating, trees, plants, and water features is intended to give users a feel of walking in the hanging gardens. The overarching concept is linear, with the bar as the focal point, and this generates a coherent dialogue between the various seating decks. The environment pulls you in and gives the sense of being a part of something bigger, all the while preserving the distinctiveness of the individual elements. Our vision was to integrate the space visually and keep it segregated physically.
The design of the restaurant and bar is carried out with the main design element as a Column. The entire space is done in a series of columns, some covered and some stand-alone to generate the different types of seating. Everything else that comprises the design is natural elements like water bodies, water features, and landscapes. It is this combination of minimal construction and natural elements that make Bistro by the Pool stand out from the rest.
The majority of the space is done with RCC columns which are also the main service core. The arches are done in metal with the pattern developed by the fabricator himself. The flooring is done in natural local stone. Diffuse lighting sets the ambience as you walk in through the arched frames and enter the space. The outdoor area makes use of footlights to provide a warm glow in the evenings. The interior and exterior finishes are done in textures to complement the rawness of the materials used.
Design Team: Twinkle Nathani, Mayank Wadhwa
Site Area: 18,000 sq.ft.
Year: March 2021
Landscape: Rupesh Yadav
Photographs: Stories by Inside Me/ Visualsis