The architectural beauty of India is fascinating. In the city of Moradabab, 150 kilometers north of New-Delhi, the architects of Portal 92 have designed the Village Café. The designers Aanchal Sawhney, Sagar Goyal and their team were inspired by traditional Indian villages for the concept of space. The use of contrasting materials recalls the diversity of the country amid urbanization.

Like Indian Villages, the Village Café is composed of a maze of paths, seats, plots, and secret spaces. The shape of the planters as well as the walls were molded to recreate an organic ambiance. User-friendly, shaded areas are semi-protected from direct view are spread out in different areas and favour intimacy.

The plaster coating of terracotta gives the atmosphere a sense of warmth and vitality, while concrete rings perforate the walls regularly, to give a subtle glimpse of the view. The interior light fixtures are sculpted of carved wood, to contrast with the raw concrete of the building. The plants themselves weren’t chosen randomly. The architects selected species that will thrive in the local environment.

The city of Moradabab boasts a booming brass crafting industry, which has earned the name pital nagri, in other words “city of brass”. Brass vases and jars in different sizes are integrated into the décor to reference the local commerce.

Always, in the spirit of authenticity, the floor of the central courtyard is composed of broken slabs of black Kadappa stones, locally found in India. This palette of raw and rustic materials reference rural Indian homes. The numerous plants as well as the cleverly woven circulations create a space where only regulars can find their way easily. This mixture of tradition and modernity makes the Village Café a lively and warm place for today’s “urban Indians” that appreciate this return to their roots.

Photo credits : Niveditaa Gupta