British Brewing Company in Mumbai has been designed by NU.DE Architecture as a classy homage to the quintessential English pub.
After paying a visit to a bar, you may remember it for the beer, or for the happy hour offers, or for the entrées and the starters, or for the friendly service. But, for the ceiling? That would not happen, right? At the British Brewing Company that could just happen.
Designed by Mumbai-based NU.DE Architecture, the British Brewing Company is a stylish pub fashioned after the legendary English watering holes that brought not just drink-happy folks, but entire communities together and triggered the formation of sub-cultures of various interests.
Nuru Karim, who led the design team, says, “To put it simply, it had to have the look and feel of a British pub, without resorting to clichés.” And by working on a very specific brief, the expected results were achieved.
So, back to the ceiling. The spectacular wooden roof here looks like playing cards being shuffled by an expert in a casino. The modular vaults are all minimally surfaced, ribbed, and made of plywood that has been treated with a weather-protective coat. Parabolic arches are interspersed in this space.
The sturdiness of the structure was tested through 3D printed models and large prototypes. “The vault ceiling system was generated using parametric digital modelling tools which allowed for a seamless workflow right from design to fabrication,” Karim explains further.
The slick geometry of this ceiling will hold guests in thrall, and conjure up images of gothic palaces and cathedrals. The textural finish here seems to give the ceiling a sense of movement, like wooden waves passing each other by.
Another key element which enhances the effect of the ceiling is the lighting scheme. “The entire minimal surface ribbed vault ceiling system was washed strategically with up-lighters. Several real time lighting tests were conducted to achieve the perfect ambience as desired by the clients,” attests Karim. The team scoured through local markets to source suspended lamps.
The stone floor is illuminated with the help of bunches of lights, and not just by a sweep of light from overhead fittings. Here there are floor-up lighters, and concealed LED light strips which make the island bar counter look mysterious, and effortlessly elegant.
The entire space measures 2,350 sq. ft., and eschews thoughtless frills, instead favouring the deep dignified presence of wood. Aged timber plank strips were specifically moulded to fit the curvature of the barrel pod, an effort that brings in the slight roughness of a tavern. Some RCC columns existed here before the project began, and they have been retained in their exposed form.
The brief had also asked for large mirror frames, an old wall clock, an open kitchen with a service counter, use of fire bricks, framed quotes on the walls, and screens for relaying live sport events. All of these elements have been carefully included in the design scheme.
The furniture has been brought in with a keen understanding of British Brewing Company’s ambition of being a place where varied sets of patrons can feel right at home. So, the bar sections have comfortable chairs, with slender long legs, as well as stools, ideal for individuals or small groups. Vertical and horizontal barrel pods and dining booths are for the serious diners who love a smidgen of privacy. The external façade also features 2-seater tables.
NU.DE Architecture has made a statement of minimalism through this project. In spite of the glut of bars and pubs in the market, it is hard to find one that ensures an ‘experience’. It is rarer still to find one that doesn’t go overboard with colour, or props, or overdone rock-n-roll references. British Brewing Company wants to be a place where one can eat-and-drink, talk-and-think, and its design ensures a sprint towards that aim. And to top it all, it is also a proud supporter of the café racer culture. This place’s design had to be cool, and it sure is!
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Sameer Chawda