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KADALAS

The chosen structure for the cafe, although old, was a brick and RCC building. The architects retained the structured but repaired its metal staircase and roof. They chose corrugated sheets over Mangalore-tiles owing to the wind-forces from the sea.

SANDS

The ground floor is called ‘sands’ and sees furniture finished in metal-work and grouped together tightly.

WAVES

The first-floor hosts wooden furniture that comparatively relaxed and the space is tied to the theme of ‘seas’.

SKIES

The terrace floor is more like a lounge with a greater ceiling height and is attributed the ‘sky’.

THE DECOR

The multiple ideas; of history, love of books, writing and reading, the seas and local architectural practices were rounded off to an inconspicuous whole.

CORRUGATED SHEETS

The internal and external walls are cladded with corrugated sheets to level unevenness and column projections. They are dry-cladded onto steel fabrication on the walls.

CIRCULAR WINDOWS

The circular-window openings on the sea-facing walls were the only major modifications done to the structure. The corrugated sheets that encircle the windows are hand-cut by the local labourers.

TERRACOTTA JAALI

Terracotta jaalis are used as decorative installations within the space. They are used on walls and suspended from beams.

ON REUSING AND RECYCLING

The architects sourced old doors and windows, used wood, etc. for the furniture but deployed them sans finishing touches.

SITE PLAN

The sea-facing Kadalas, located in Calicut is a café set in a historic precinct that attempts to offer a dining experience beyond food.

GROUND FLOOR PLAN
FIRST FLOOR PLAN
TERRACE PLAN
ELEVATIONS

The architects visualised a café that borrows from the precinct and the seas. The entire space would reflect the local architecture, derive colours from the sea and the street where it stands.

THE KADALAS WORDPLAY

Kadal = seas and kadalas = paper in Malayalam. The client was keen to accommodate a reading culture in the cafe. Accommodating a large library and the seas, the cafe is names Kadalas!

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Workspace 01 Apr 2019

Kadalas, a sea-facing café in Calicut, is born from the love of seas and books

The sea-facing Kadalas, located in Calicut is a café set in a historic precinct that offers a dining experience beyond food. Although the process began with slightly opposing concepts wherein the clients and architects visualised contrasting themes for the café, eventually the many ideas – of history, love of books, writing and reading, the seas and local architectural practices – were rounded off to an inconspicuous whole.

When the Manjeri-based architectural firm Zero Studio was roped in for overhauling an old, 3-storey warehouse into a café, the architects visualised a space that borrows from the precinct and the seas. The entire space would reflect the local architecture, derive colours from the sea and the street where it stands. However, the clients wished that each floor be designed in a starkly different fashion from one another. This would offer diners a new experience each time.

SITE PLAN

The sea-facing Kadalas, located in Calicut is a café set in a historic precinct that attempts to offer a dining experience beyond food.

KADALAS

The chosen structure for the cafe, although old, was a brick and RCC building. The architects retained the structured but repaired its metal staircase and roof. They chose corrugated sheets over Mangalore-tiles owing to the wind-forces from the sea.

SANDS

The ground floor is called ‘sands’ and sees furniture finished in metal-work and grouped together tightly.

WAVES

The first-floor hosts wooden furniture that comparatively relaxed and the space is tied to the theme of ‘seas’.

SKIES

The terrace floor is more like a lounge with a greater ceiling height and is attributed the ‘sky’.

Finding a mid-way, both parties agreed on annotating each floor a unique theme while keeping it tied to the context of borrowing from the precinct. The ground floor is called ‘sands’ and sees furniture finished in metal-work and grouped together tightly. The first-floor hosts wooden furniture that feels comparatively relaxed and the space is tied by the theme of ‘seas’. The second floor is more like a lounge with more ceiling height and is attributed to the ‘sky’.

THE DECOR

The multiple ideas; of history, love of books, writing and reading, the seas and local architectural practices were rounded off to an inconspicuous whole.

CORRUGATED SHEETS

The internal and external walls are cladded with corrugated sheets to level unevenness and column projections. They are dry-cladded onto steel fabrication on the walls.

The architects annotated each floor a unique theme but married it to the context of borrowing from the precinct.

A slice of Gujarat in Calicut

The café is located on Gujarat Street, a place with historical relevance. This locale got its name from Gujarati traders and merchants who settled in Calicut almost a 100 years ago. The chosen structure for the café is in brick and RCC. The architects retained the structure but repaired its metal staircase and roof. Given the proximity to the seas, the traditional Mangalore-roof tiles wouldn’t withstand the wind-forces. So the architects opted for a corrugated-sheet roof. The internal and external walls are cladded with corrugated sheets too, to level unevenness and column projections. Their undulated profile also resonates with the sea-waves, endowing a sense of rhythm, perhaps like the waves itself.

To further bring in the sea, the architects created circular openings on the sea-facing walls of the café. And to not overpower or take away from the view, the decor was handled with restraint. For example, reinforcement bars are used in the furniture and on windows as they wouldn’t obstruct the line of vision. Used doors, windows and table-tops were procured and deployed in the café sans any finishing or paint.

CIRCULAR WINDOWS

The circular-window openings on the sea-facing walls were the only major modifications done to the structure. The corrugated sheets that encircle the windows are hand-cut by the local labourers.

TERRACOTTA JAALI

Terracotta jaalis are used as decorative installations within the space. They are used on walls and suspended from beams.

ON REUSING AND RECYCLING

The architects sourced old doors and windows, used wood, etc. for the furniture but deployed them sans finishing touches.

Details within

Terracotta jaalis are used as decorative installations within the space. They feature in a curved profile where the architects sourced the smallest panel, 160mm X 160mm as small sizes are easier to align and obtain a curved profile by staggering them smartly. They are also fixed onto beams to achieve the ‘drop-down’ aesthetic. Cement-oxide flooring underlines the underplayed aesthetics.

A bit of wordplay

In Malayalam, “Kadal” means seas and “kadalas” means paper. The client was keen to accommodate a reading culture and the café currently boasts of having the largest library-in-a-café in the city. Interweaving the wordplay, the branding team decided to call the café Kadalas – for the love of the seas and books.

THE KADALAS WORDPLAY

Kadal = seas and kadalas = paper in Malayalam. The client was keen to accommodate a reading culture in the cafe. Accommodating a large library and the seas, the cafe is names Kadalas!

Aside from getting lost at Kadalas, check out the other works of Zero Studio here.