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A Baradari (Bara Dari) is a 12-columned pavilion, a feature of Indo-Saracenic architecture, and is a gathering space, a vantage point to enjoy various views, enjoy the breeze, and a space with great acoustics often used as a performance arena historically.

A view of the Private Dining Room shows how constrained budgets encouraged the design team to use a combination of new and existing furniture salvaged from the Palace. Inspired from the hybrid influences, upholstery and weaving patterns were generated to give them a new lease of life.

Key Restoration Idea 1

Layers of paint and plaster were stripped to reveal the original structure and masonry.

Key Restoration Idea 2

Lime was used as a primary material to restore, repair and detail the structure.

The Space Before
The Impact After
The Courtyard

A key conceptual move was to use the courtyard as a binding element for the new program rather than just an extension of the restaurant.

Before

The Courtyard with the toilet block: Repurposing meant dismantling an existing structure, being used as a toilet block, from the middle of the courtyard to open up the area both visually and spatially.

After

The Courtyard with the Baradari: The newly-designed areas now accommodate 200 covers across its breadth of spaces comprising the bar, lounge, restaurant and private dining room.

The Bar Lounge
Before

The Administration Office

After

The Bar Lounge

From structure to flooring to furniture units, stone masonry and inlay work have been used, given the ready access to craftsmen skilled in marble work.

Muted in colour yet rich in craft.

A view of the Private Lounge with Thikri work on the ceiling. Features like the monochromatic graphic flooring patterns keep the design rooted and local.

The intricate pattern of the Thikri Work:

"The art of inlaying hand cut pieces of mirrors using diamond scalpels into perfect shapes and arranged into frescos on the ceiling and the walls to form geometric mirrored mosaic patterns is known as “thikri” or mirror inlay or glass mosaic." (Source: dextra.in)

Before: The Restaurant
After: The Restaurant

The courtyard terminates at one end in a fluted marble water cascade that helps create a micro-environment that cools the courtyard in summer while drowning out noises from outside.

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Workspace 06 Jun 2017

Repurposed: Baradari by Studio Lotus; and how the old paves the way for the new

CQ talks to Priya Jindal of Studio Lotus, the Delhi-based design practice, about Baradari, a recently repurposed award-winning project inside the City Palace of Jaipur. We find out how an appreciation for the art of restraint, and a pride in traditional architecture stems from re-looking at conservation with a new lens.

Every year millions of tourists flock the colourful cities of Rajasthan, a place that is on the bucket list of most photographers, or most humans, around the world. When CQ came across a project by Delhi-based Studio Lotus called the Baradari at the City Palace, we obviously gravitated towards the romance of the words. A Baradari (Bara Dari) is a 12-columned pavilion, also used at times as a gathering space. It used to serve various purposes historically, such as being a vantage point: a spot from where one enjoys various views; where one enjoys the breeze, and a space with great acoustics often used as a performance arena for the dance of the courtesans and for poetry recitals of yore.

A Baradari (Bara Dari) is a 12-columned pavilion, a feature of Indo-Saracenic architecture, and is a gathering space, a vantage point to enjoy various views, enjoy the breeze, and a space with great acoustics often used as a performance arena historically.

A view of the Private Dining Room shows how constrained budgets encouraged the design team to use a combination of new and existing furniture salvaged from the Palace. Inspired from the hybrid influences, upholstery and weaving patterns were generated to give them a new lease of life.

What would a “new” Baradari be doing inside an old Palace? Naturally, it peaked our interest and we got to digging. Turns out this Baradari is the name for the fine dining destination inside City Palace: a site that sits within one of the oldest precincts of Jaipur. You can read more about the details of the project on Studio Lotus' website, but in our article, we will focus on some key elements.

Key Restoration Idea 1

Layers of paint and plaster were stripped to reveal the original structure and masonry.

Key Restoration Idea 2

Lime was used as a primary material to restore, repair and detail the structure.

The Space Before
The Impact After

What was the brief?

The brief was to expand the relatively nondescript café to include a private dining area, bar and private lounges, along with a quick-service counter, while retaining the back-of-the-house services in their current location. 

Who accesses the café?

The original café was open to the public for limited visiting hours. The visitors are usually ticketed tourists and the repurposed premises now functions as a café during the day and a fine dining restaurant in the night. So as one can imagine, the footfall is pretty high.

“The original ancient recipe of cured slaked lime with various ingredients includes fermented fenugreek, Guggal resin, jaggery, and crushed sandstone and brick to give the natural Jaipur pink colour to the plaster”, says Priya.

What was stripped off?

Pink City, as Jaipur is called, was built over several periods, and the city and the Palace evolved over the years, with many layers added on top of the original architecture. The kinds of construction and expressions all varied from place to place in the Palace itself. Additionally, the City Palace has been commissioned to undergo conservation work in many phases over time, therefore, many layers of conservation work had already covered the surfaces of the structures. Predominantly the  Palace is built in an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, and some portions of the City Palace such as the quarters of the Queen were left untouched. All in all, it was a jumble.

The Courtyard

A key conceptual move was to use the courtyard as a binding element for the new program rather than just an extension of the restaurant.

Before

The Courtyard with the toilet block: Repurposing meant dismantling an existing structure, being used as a toilet block, from the middle of the courtyard to open up the area both visually and spatially.

After

The Courtyard with the Baradari: The newly-designed areas now accommodate 200 covers across its breadth of spaces comprising the bar, lounge, restaurant and private dining room.

The challenge for the new intervention was to create an experience that would be different from the experience of the Palace for any visitor. Extensive studies of spaces were done. The existing toilet block in the middle of the courtyard was dismantled and a Baradari-inspired Pavilion, which served as a bar, was built in its place, becoming a key binding element.

Walls were stripped off of layers of paint and cement. The exposed rubble masonry was then repaired with lime mortar and detailed with lime plaster. “The original ancient recipe of cured slaked lime with various ingredients includes fermented fenugreek, Guggal resin, jaggery, and crushed sandstone and brick to give the natural Jaipur pink colour to the plaster", says Priya.

The Bar Lounge
Before

The Administration Office

After

The Bar Lounge

What materials were used to dress it?

Built in handcrafted (fluted) marble, mirror and brass, the Baradari’s contemporaneity contrast with the surrounding historic appeal. In this contradiction lies the entire play of colour and material.

After the remodelling, the Pavilion, restaurant and bar look homogenous: muted in Colour but rich in Craft. When asked why, Priya said, “Traditionally, Rajasthan is known for bold colours, bold flavours, but for us, it wasn’t the architecture that was meant to bear that boldness in colour. It was the people who would walk in, who would bring the colour with them.” Therefore, the palette is simple and provides visual relief in the landscape.

From structure to flooring to furniture units, stone masonry and inlay work have been used, given the ready access to craftsmen skilled in marble work.

Muted in colour yet rich in craft.

A view of the Private Lounge with Thikri work on the ceiling. Features like the monochromatic graphic flooring patterns keep the design rooted and local.

“Traditionally, Rajasthan is known for bold colours, bold flavours, and for us, it wasn’t the architecture that was meant to bear that boldness in colour. It was the people who would walk in, who would bring the colour with them.”

From structure to flooring to furniture units, stone masonry and inlay work have been used, given the ready access to local craftsmen skilled in marble work. The flooring is completely done in stone sourced from Kishangarh and Jaipur. Some of the furniture’s been made locally. Bespoke lamps fabricated by Ayush Kasliwal (AKFD) also find a new home here. Locally-inspired cane weaved chairs and monochromatic graphic flooring patterns, the Pavilion, dado work, table tops and more, keep the design rooted and local.

In-built marble benches line the deep verandahs enveloping the courtyard, creating interesting dining spaces. Mild steel and brass are used for bespoke lighting and door design.

The intricate pattern of the Thikri Work:

"The art of inlaying hand cut pieces of mirrors using diamond scalpels into perfect shapes and arranged into frescos on the ceiling and the walls to form geometric mirrored mosaic patterns is known as “thikri” or mirror inlay or glass mosaic." (Source: dextra.in)

Before: The Restaurant
After: The Restaurant

Baradari is a contemporary Rajasthan: a treat to the eyes, even in its contrast. “Traditional crafts of Jaipur like Thikri work, bespoke casting and foundry work, furniture and stonework have been interpreted in this new idiom – whether it was through finding new form or using them in a new manner for a new use,” as has been aptly put by Priya.

The courtyard terminates at one end in a fluted marble water cascade that helps create a micro-environment that cools the courtyard in summer while drowning out noises from outside.

CQ recommends that if you’re in Jaipur in future, you must make a visit to this award-winning project and experience how restraint is the new synonym for repurposing. More on Studio Lotus here: studiolotus.in

Quick Facts
Site & Project Area: 14,000 sqft
Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Completion: January 2016
Design Team: Ambrish Arora, Arun Kullu, Priya Jindal, Christopher Miller, Sanjay Kumar 
Photography Credits: Edmund Sumner

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