Zura in Gurgaon is a bistro, a bar and a bakery. And an understated design marvel to boot.
Zura, in Gurgaon, must be understood on a three-level basis. This establishment is a bistro, a bar and a bakery all rolled into one chic package. This triptych describes its functional divisions, as well as its diverse interests. It was envisioned by owner Nidhi Wadhwa as a place for guests to find a “home away from home”, and the sparsely decorated interiors of Zura lay down just the right ambience to achieve that end.
Light is a surprisingly striking aspect of this project; surprising because it is so restrained and reticent in its tenor – yet so noticeable. The designers from New Delhi-based Lotus Studio have infused a good mix of natural and artificial light to create a sublime sense of being across all levels of the restaurant.
The white brick walls conjure up images of cobble-stoned roads, and the romance of street-side bistros under a Mediterranean sun. Overhanging cylindrical lamps are elegant additions to the interior scheme, with their illuminated tips making them look like celestial creatures.
The general tenor of the place is warm, brown and uncluttered, which bodes well with Zura’s triple service aim. It is the smart play of furniture arrangement too that helps; it seamlessly blends all its functions under one roof.
Zura has a floor space of 6,000 sq. ft., spread across two floors, and can roughly seat 100 people. But its careful finish and sheen hide some solid foundational detailing. A specially constructed steel structure holds the establishment together and sets up its spatial divisions.
Throughout, the design focus was on churning out high-quality works that walk the tough line between subdued contemporary and earthy friendliness. All used material came from within the country, further strengthening the organic charm of Zura.
The main seating with its slender-limbed chairs and benches, oozes casual upscale perfection. Stylishly arranged frames on the walls and a single candle on every table is a subtle indication of preparedness to host caffeine-loving yuppie groups, as well as convivial families. The ceiling is boarded up with wooden slats, adding to the brown glory of the interiors and aiding the brilliant effect of natural light sweeping in from the many large glass windows.
The bar section too is a rather informal space, more of a well-stocked homely corner than a commercial counter. Here there are solid wooden, broad-hipped chairs rather than the traditional stools, and an elongated, slim table ensures good conversations over drinks, just like a faithful bar should. The adjoining staircase and seating area also ensure a constant buzz of movement and conversation around, creating the sensation of a personal bubble both at once challenging and interesting.
The smattering of coloured, transparent panels, and a bit of grey, green and blue detailing, is just enough mischief for this scheme. They also form great reflective props, be it day or night. Flushes of natural day light indeed accord the place an ethereal brilliance; this is when the stone flooring, the brick walls and all the wooden detailing shine full throttle, in both inner and reflected glory.
Zura is a multi-levelled beauty of an eatery and hangout place. In the zeal to include patrons of as many age groups as possible, restaurants often lose sight and track of subtlety, and cram up as many representative props as the spaces can fit. Not Zura, which seems to take tender steps towards ensuring a good time to all who decide to step into it.
The success of its design is in its earnest but mild eclecticism. After all, most of us do seek that queer mix of the familiar and the innovative, while out with friends or family. Don’t we?
Text Shruti Nambiar
Photographs André J Fanthome