UNCAFE, New Delhi, by TI:DO


Note: The contents below are published as provided by the architect/designer.

UNCAFE, New Delhi, by TI:DO. Photograph by Jeetin Sharma

A new outlet for a health-forward cafe has been designed by the Delhi-based studio, Tangible Intangible Design Office, or TI:DO, as they are also known. Commissioned by the women-led brand of UNCAFE, architectural design firm TI:DO was assigned with the task of developing a design language for their new outlet that within its 800 sq. ft. could encapsulate the brand’s identity and personify the uniqueness of their food offerings with a unique spatial design. 

The restaurant was designed with the aim of creating an earthy yet contemporary aesthetic which even though is inside a mall, sets itself apart from the mall atmosphere. With an emphasis on organic forms that begin from the entrance and carry through the space, all curvilinear and copper-coloured elements combine to accentuate the branding and logo design of the cafe. The space offers a soothing and minimal yet compelling ambience through the use of natural textures and materials that invoke a sense of hearty simplicity, much like the food the cafe offers. 

Interior view of UNCAFE, New Delhi, by TI:DO. Photograph by Jeetin Sharma

The fluted arched entrance becomes a gateway into a peaceful sanctum where patrons would be able to step away from the chaos for a refreshing experience complete with a nourishing meal. One can enter the cafe and take in the large sculptural form that nestles the administrative and utility functions of the program on one side, and the entire dining area on the other side. The space opens to an array of copper arches with booth seating staged right in front of the full-height glazed edge of the building, offering views into the bustling mall courtyard and bringing in ample daylight. The centre of the cafe is marked by a large stretch ceiling light introduced above the food display to bring focus to the salad bar, which is the nucleus of the cafe. 

The salad counter is enclosed in a bespoke fluted cladding in a metallic copper tone, capped by a white band of terrazzo countertop. The dining tables are tailored for the brand in ‘U’ & ‘N’ forms with terrazzo tops and a minimal metallic copper base. The terrazzo itself is custom-made with an off-white base and brown chips to complement the space yet fade away as a pleasing backdrop to the vibrant food being served at the cafe. The seating for the cafe is of two types: banquettes and chairs, which provide fixed and re-configurable elements to the cafe. Upholstered in warm gray fabric and orange-brown leatherette the fluted backed banquette and bucket dining chair continue the spatial design language into the furniture forms and its details. 

To keep the space feeling calming and timeless, a neutral colour palette consisting mainly of fawn tones along with warm grays and off-whites was chosen with the darker shade sandwiched between the light-coloured floor and ceiling. During the evenings, concealed ceiling lights that run along the coves mimic and complement the natural light while accentuating the softness and gradual curves of the sculptural ceiling forms. Globe lights suspended from copper tubes add diffused mood lighting over the tables which also makes for an alluring view from the plaza outside. The unique ceiling and series of arches are designed such that, when seen from the outdoor plaza generate intrigue, attracting people to experience the café. 

Project Drawings:

Project Details:

Project Name: UNCAFE
Completion Year: 2023
Gross Built Area: 800 sq. ft.
Project Location: New Delhi, India
Typology: Hospitality Architecture (Restaurant/Café)
Designed by: TI:DO (Tangible Intangible Design Office) 
Lead Architects: Himanshu Chopra, Sadhika Baveja
Photo Credits: Jeetin Sharma
Lighting: BDCL
Contractors: Zaara Enterprises
Furniture: Zaara Enterprises / Shearling
Soft Furnishings: Seasons Furnishings
Artwork: Manoj Kumar Artist

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