Zeppelin Design was founded in 2008 on an ideology that involved the pursuit of a design language that creates value for all stakeholders. Partner at Zeppelin Design, Som Sengupta says, “We do not believe in any grand rigid visions. We like our projects to evolve around the brief while not losing sight on the end user. The client brief almost always needs to be re-interpreted and polished to achieve aesthetic results.”
The firm does not limit itself by adhering to any absolute philosophy. Instead, the endeavour is to see the opportunity as a part of a larger system and to explore and learn as much as possible with a strong foundation of systematic thinking.
Cafe Delhi Heights
In the time that it has been operational, the DLF Place Saket branch of Café Delhi Heights has become popular not just for its great food, but also for its inviting ambience. At first glance it appears that things have just been thrown together randomly – mish mash of furniture, throw cushions, stacks of books, shelves lined with knick-knacks and quirky signboards tacked to the wall. A closer look reveals that there is nothing random about this setting; it has all been constructed to exude a casual charm.
The brief from the client for Café Delhi Heights was succinct and clear – the space should project the honest service culture of the café with a warm ambience that complements the food. Som says, “Hospitality is a very dynamic field and is often governed by strong trends that can be overtly polarising. Out attempt hence is to preserve some uniqueness and authenticity of design.”
For Café Delhi Heights, the team at Zeppelin Design came up with a design concept that would invoke Delhi-centric nostalgia and a unique DIY character. The different seating options from tables to benches piled with cushions to booths enclosed by floaty sheer curtains make it possible to have spots of varied ambiences within the same space.
The use of furniture is Som’s favourite element in the restaurant. Interesting memorabilia like the red telephone booth, window frames on the exposed brick wall and other bits placed in random niches and corners adds to the eclectic feel of the café.
The Beer Cafe
When the team at Zeppelin Design was approached to design the Beer Café, they were asked to come up with a concept that would streamline the look with the use of signature elements which could then be effected across all outlets for a national rollout. For Zeppelin, the main challenge was to achieve homogenity but at the same time avoid a cookie cutter approach. The collaboration has worked and Zeppelin has designed 20 Beer Cafés across India till date.
The Beer Café is a one of its kind beer bar with a friendly cafe feel and lighting is the key element that has helped achieve this look. “The lighting levels are very different from traditional beer bars and this makes it even more of an all day concept,” explains Som. Full length windows allow sunlight to stream into the interiors. Unlike the dark interiors usually associated with beer bars, the inside here is flushed with light.
White straight-backed chairs or low sunken coir chairs grouped around wooden tables make up the seating. Some high chairs are lined up at the bar which is a stark white. A sunny yellow in the form of quirky accents like shutters to frame the windows or artwork on the brickwall provide for a splash of colour in the otherwise white-centric colour scheme.
Som says, “Over the last decade or so we (Zeppelin Design) have learned a lot about this industry and are able to cross-pollinate our learnings.” This knowledge helped the design team to come up with a concept that would optimise costs and manage timelines for this profitable quick service beer model.
William Grant Corporate Office
When world renowned scotch brand William Grant decided to open their first office in India they were keen on an office space that would go beyond just a functional space. They wanted the space to project the brand internally and excite guests and patrons who would visit the office. Som feels that while practicality and efficiency are important in planning an office space, creativity too should get its due.
“Spaces need to tell stories, either directly or subtly,’’ he says. “Offices that don’t tell stories are just ‘warehouses of people’. We understand that utilitarian spaces need that extra effort to stand out and work for the inhabitants.”
Fortunately for Zeppelin it was given a free hand to create an experience that would push the benchmark of William Grant offices worldwide. The design concept was planned such that it would capture the illustrious history of the brand and present it in a modern, yet distillery like space.
Different zones have been created in the office to reflect the unique characteristic of the different products of the brand. A large wooden keg makes up the reception desk and sets the mood for the rest of the office. The use of dark tones in the floor, ceiling and the workstations is a distinct move away from the environment generally associated with an office space.
One feature that highlights the essence of the brand is the bar-like table with the bar stools that cuts through the functional areas of the office. The end result is an office that clearly represents the brand values of William Grant.
Text by Himali Kothari
Photographs Courtesy Zeppelin Design