Project focus 05: The Kind Roastery and Brewery.

“I’ve never met a man I didn’t like.”

So said Will Rogers. And that feeling of like is the start to the embodiment of human kindness. Presenting to you my latest “The Kind Roastery and Brewery” that has its ethos much aligned to mine. Subtle and fine, it has in its climes 50 shades of beige or even champagne, my favourite color for the background of life. In sync with my sensibilities, why even the Oscars went taupe this year! As Lady Gaga croons her Oscar-nominated song, hold my hand, here is a little glimpse into a cafe so nice that it could make your coffee blush twice!

Here’s a look:

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Subtle and fine, tucked away in the fast expanding lanes of JP Nagar in Bangalore, The Kind Cafe, a Roastery and Brewery brings forth a fresh vibe teeming in its aroma not just of world-class coffee, but of a world-class space. When the clients, noted restaurateurs came to me with their vision of a cafe unlike any other, one that is steeped in a concept of beguiling kindness, I was hooked, the thoughts they had absolutely matched my ethos and hitting it off with Pallavii instantly, the design simply rolled. With a requirement of three primary zones, one as a coffee lounge, one a family setting and the third a coworking space, the three areas of the Kind are independent but flow seamlessly into each other, complementing and uniting into a cohesive whole. Thus the three basic elements of a swell space, the light, scale and proportion orchestrate the three zones of the cafe into a champagne melody. The front facade, consisting of glass rimmed with aluminium sections is flanked by a long bench, chairs and tables, an outdoor seating that looks onto the bustling street. 

Entering into the double-height coffee lounge zone makes the whole expanse of space discernible right at the start. To the right is the brew bar with its slick coffee machines and fancy delicatessen, its base is shrouded in snug biscoff tiles, backed by working counters and a spirited, embossed branding wall. The Kind logo is stamped on the opposite wall, looking into a relaxed composition of seating on a warm terracotta imbibed floor pattern. The front wall holds a swanky drip coffee apparatus. This casual and content zone is cheered by generous swathes of sunlight and a welcoming visual expanse. The space is topped by a waffle-vault ceiling intensifying the thespianism quotient in the space that is also equally nimble. The paint finish is kept uniform, in the tones of champagne, taupe and beige, while three types of texture are employed synchronising tons of geniality. The mild steel staircase, is the vertical circulation, covered in rubberwood softening and supplanting the acoustic quotient. Foliage here buffers and stands out against a hand-finished textured backdrop. 

The lounge space breaks into upper and lower mezzanines, while the former is a co-working space holding a conference room, and a gallery, the latter is a familial setting allowing for gregarious and boisterous encounters. In the upper mezzanine the clients wanted to do a thing that wasn’t done before. Firing up the neurons came the idea of a Japanese zen garden much like Ryoanji in Kyoto, with gravel, smooth balancing stones and some moss reciped in complementary proportions to picture a dainty setting for witnessing or engaging in for pleasure. Raking tools facilitate drawing patterns, echoing the ripples made in water when a stone strikes or waves or even lines. The generous raking table with its power supply finds its bearings amidst large windows for up-ended freelancers or flurried corporates to apply brakes, rake some and get on with work totally refreshed. The adjacent conference room with its television screen and requisite cables on a swanky 6 seater table also doubles up as a coffee cupping room, topped with red lights for an artisanal coffee connoisseuring experience. The gallery zone with more work desks is ahead and it overlooks the vast double height ground floor lounge zone. 

Warming up the space are the congenial feel of textures, the coziness of terracotta, the grainy beiges wafting memories of biscoffs doing a dainty face off with clear-white Corian, the edginess of concrete, the warm embrace of wood, the strength of mild steel swathed in no nonsense black, or the velvety suede in line with rigid linen, with a play that brings tomes of alacrity. The material palette is supplanted by textured walls that climb high up to the roof to only be crowned by vaults on the ceiling. The feeling of belonging arrives with a curve in the design. God is after all in the curves, as proclaimed Gaudi. From the Zen Garden inspired raking table, to the rose dimmed conference room, to the starkness of steel employed to the plastered diwan seating, there is much happening in the space, but as one arrives all the happenings fall back.

Armed with a sheaf of design intent and working closely with the artisans, carpenters, painters and site workers though a number of computational drawings were engaged, hand drawn sketches and on site renders became a crucial part of the construction process. Apart from the drawings made for site much of the work at site progressed with hand sketches made spontaneously on site! Drawing inspiration from the process of thoughtfulness as a backbone of being kind, the very process of putting together the site drew on the many tenets of sustainability. While we reduced untenable costs through administorial red tape, we even got into miniscule costing to source material from the precincts of the city. In fact as a major first, the site work progressed much to the delight of the carpenters and the umpteen worksmen without major printing of drawings as most of the workers made use of their smart phones in accessing pdfs, thereby minimising the use of paper, a lot like the times when Hadrian built the Hagia Sophia, an experience I am clearly besotted by! 

Materials used were also excessively and exceptionally tied to the “less is more” character. Avoiding teak but making do with neem wood, sheesham wood, birch wood, rubber wood and plywood literally gave all the other woods a time to shine. From visiting the city’s oldest markets for the best possible price to sticking with one shade of paint that not only makes the space look very classy and expensive but also makes sure there is not an ounce put to waste brings sustainability to the fore focussing on ergonomics and user sense. Guiding the space to see the light of day was not so much as forcing it to be something, but tweaking the space to bring in the elements of nature whether it is the sun or air, stone or plants to bring in life. Kindness in thought, word or deed is the drive, the idea, the emotion, the central notion in “The Kind Roastery and Brew Room”, and it is one that I am super proud of!