BindPopularCQ There is no row at position 3.There is no row at position 3.App_Web_txwndgsh
Subscribe for regular insights into the world of colour & stay updated with the latest trends
Enveloped by water on most sides, tucked away in a corner of Kerala, lies the historic region of Fort Kochi. Abundant in classic Portuguese houses and churches, spice markets held by the ruins of mansions, and narrow winding streets flanked by brightly coloured walls on two sides, it feels like time has stood still in this fold. Amidst this province, stands the Ayana Fort Kochi, somehow blended into the towns artsy demeanor while standing out against the monotony of it. CQ finds out more.
The historical structure of our focus today, began its life about two centuries ago as a court of law. After having stood witness to innumerable legal proceedings, the building took on a new avatar, that as the first banking office of ANZ Grindlays, and soon a depot for spice and tea traders, much like most other buildings in the market areas of Fort Kochi.
Soon after, the Ayana group inherited the structure, and then began the journey of transforming the dilapidating architecture, into a luxury boutique hotel that reflected Fort Kochi’s art and history wholly.
Orchestrated by Kavita Premnarayen, the Design Director of Ayana Hospitality, with architectural expertise from Amitha Madan of Infinity Design Corp, the hotel was envisioned with an ‘Old Indian Art Deco’ theme. A combination the decadence of Art Deco, with the glamour of old Indian royalty, modelled the mood-board for the renovation.
“Most hotels in Fort Kochi have a very rustic Indian feel to them, which I love, but I wanted this hotel to stand out in terms of design, and to feel a little more luxurious while at the same time retaining the “Indian-ness” that a traveler to Fort Kochi would crave,” says the Design Director. One of the structure’s most striking elements – the black and white checkered floor in the main lobby – served as the apt resultant of the theme, along with the antique, 7ft of stacked diyas playing the centrepiece.
The hotel attempted to maintain the features and the aura of the years passed, by careful restoration and imitation, while adding a pinch of modern to the mix. For instance, the space that served as the courtroom of times bygone, was religiously preserved, with each wooden plank being restored and treated to create a grand lounge and welcome area for the guests. Moreover, the eye-catching and massive sloping roof, supported by an intricate mechanism of iron tubes, goes on to exhibit the skillful architecture employed during the Portuguese occupance of the region.
The checkered floor, as discussed before, was made in traditional Athangudi tiles, in order to restore the structure’s colonial charm. Additions like the rooftop café and the pool were also designed following the Art Deco theme, and being outdoors, are usually engulfed in the france of ‘Raat ki Rani’ or night jasmine, a tree that grows wild in the area.
Rustling for hours through antiquated artefact shops, and the meticulously re-creating century old ‘Indian’ décor pieces like the Rakshasas (mythical demonic creatures used to ward off bad spirits) combined with mirrored panels and centrally lit coves, created the amalgamation of times old and new that is the hotel.
Spending time in the lap of Kochi’s local arts and culture community, the team was quick to realise the lack of awareness and appreciation of Indian contemporary art. This, combined with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India’s largest and most prestigious contemporary art exhibition, whose main exhibition hall, Aspinwall House, is situated 200 meters away from the hotel), inspired the Ayana team to source Indian artworks to fill the hotel. The building’s large public spaces, along with it’s black and white décor, sets the perfect backdrop to showcase contemporary and upcoming artists from India.
Handpicked to be the venue hosting the 2016 Kochi-Muziris inaugural breakfast, the hotel certainly does fit the description of being an artistically luxurious ensemble of history and architecture. To further what they’ve achieved in décor and architecture, the hotel also stands to promote the local martial art of Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s authentic culinary skills and vernacular fishing techniques alongside featuring a rooftop yoga class, a gymnasium and other modern amenities.
When in Fort Kochi with the notion of experiencing its true essence, feel free to book your stay in this gorgeously aged boutique hotel on their website.
To know more on Athangudi Tiles, just hop on to the extensive feature we did, here.
Kadalas, a café, in Calicut is minimal, esoteric and a melange of many things.
Free Flow – Junction Bar operates from a brief that wanted to capture the nostalgia of railways within an urban bar.
Meet Phoebe Dahl, who brings fashion and philanthropy together with Faircloth Supply.