Strokes of marble dominate the contemporary Mangiamo restaurant designed by ZZ Architects, bringing out the decor and chic style of Italy onto Indian streets.
Mumbai’s new dining experience, Mangiamo – literally meaning ‘let’s eat’ in Italian – is a place not just for great Italian food but also a refined ambience. Designed by ZZ Architects, a Mumbai based architectural firm headed by principal architects Zubin Zainuddin and Krupa Zubin, the volumes try to trace within it, architectural lines and strokes inspired by Italian style.
In the initial stages of design, the team realised that many restaurants today were leaning towards the raw industrial and eclectic look, but this firm wanted to create a well finished and comfortable contemporary restaurant on the verge of being a fine dining location, where comfort was a key element.
Entry into Mangiamo is marked by an expanse that is a composition of a stone flooring and wooden benches with Frangipani trees set into the dry landscaping. Small wooden gates usher you into the main premises. In this external face of the restaurant, lighting has been beautifully used to line the edges of the planter boxes and compound walls; an introduction to the clean lines and strokes that unveil within.
Once inside, the alfresco dining edged by a white fence and laid out in a material combination of stone and wood smilingly awaits you. Though the space has a ‘bare minimum’ look, the elements in the setting – cabana cover, chic square wooden sofas and high stools, and minimal landscape give it a warmth that seeps into your system. As you sit and savour the gentle breeze and the most lip smacking Italian cuisine, the going-ons inside can be enjoyed through the seamless connection provided in the form of glazed surfaces.
The 2,500 square feet space inside the restaurant is zoned into three sections – the lounge or bar area, the upper dining area and the basement dining level. You step through the glass doors to enter the main volumes, where the focus is beyond doubt, ‘the lounge’ – a vanilla onyx back-lit bar on the left half of the room.
A space that Architect Zubin Zainuddin calls his favourite spot; here high wooden chairs in beige line the length while mirrors are used to heighten the spatial dynamics. The glowing bar where marble and onyx shine like the tiger’s eye, make the volume more intoxicating.
In the ambience and design style that is espied within and outside, it is hard not to notice the linearity expressed in the grains of the material palette of the restaurant, which run horizontal on the horizontal surfaces and vertical on the vertical planes. The owner Ms Mohini Chabria and the design team had a clear mandate, that they would create a timeless space, something that would grow on a customer as they frequent the place. The ‘timelessness’ is expressed in the way the linearity disappears into the mirrors and reflective surfaces, and also in the deep visual connection between all sections.
To the right half of the restaurant is the main seating, clean strokes of beige and wooden features set into a backdrop of marble surfaces. This classic layout differs from the dynamic appeal of the basement seating that is also draped in marble, wood and beige upholstery.
Architect Krupa Zubin loves the lower level dining they have created where the décor deviates subtly to include the change in spatial perceptions in the basement – stretched ceilings are panelled in reflective barrisol while the vertical surfaces are cloaked in folded paper wall covers. Strip lighting accentuates the lines, while the entire atmosphere is given a feeling of airiness due to the minimal style and reflective surfaces. Krupa feels that the basement level is an ‘unexpected aesthetic but still fits in well within the paradigm of the restaurant decor’. The team was worried about the space being ignored, but their many trips to Italy inspired them to recreate the feeling of a heritage cellar that is so common there.
Spaces change under the glare of illumination and the team at ZZ Architects have used artificial and indirect lighting to accentuate their design elements, trying to recreate the Milanese magic, while exuding style and comfort. Unconventional fittings illuminate the volumes in a muted glow from the ceiling and floor. A single idea of strip lighting along various platforms connects the entire design with a common thread, adding to the understated drama.
Charlie Trotter once said, “If all four elements were happening in equal measure – the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience, dining could happen at a spiritual level.” The design team of ZZ Architects have ensured that the spaces in Mangiamo convey the right appeal and ambience to its guests – a contemporary but comfortable, piece of Italy away from Italy.