Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

Portal 92 designs Village Cafe to evoke feeling of an Indian village

A frame of monolithic concrete portals supports a bar and cafe, designed by Portal 92, which overlooks a raised terrace of terracotta-coloured seating in Moradabad, India.

Called The Village Cafe, the spaces are split across two levels, providing locals with both indoor and outdoor areas to eat arranged around a winding, maze-like route.

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

Squeezing a wide variety of spatial conditions and materials into a relatively small space, the project was designed to evoke the feeling of being in an Indian village.

"When we received the proposed name for the cafe from our client, these questions suddenly came to light," said the New Delhi studio.

"The intent became to design a space which represents a lucid memory of a village for today's 'urban Indian', looking for a drink down nostalgic lane."

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

Clusters of seating sit across two levels, connected by a staircase and overlooked by the concrete and glass form of the indoor seating area.

The outdoor tables and booths sit tucked behind low walls or planters filled with local foliage, and adjacent to the indoor bar a curved canopy shelters an outdoor serving area.

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

"The possibility of various movement patters gives the illusion of an intimate organic settlement wherein regulars find their own path, seldom taken by new visitors," described the studio.

"The form of the planters and walls has been carefully modulated to generate a surreal impression of rural settlements."

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

Terracotta plaster was chosen to lend a "warmth and vibrancy" to the space, contrasting the white walls that surround the site's boundary and the black of the broken slabs of local Kadappa stone, which have been inlaid in the terrace's floors.

A recurring motif of concrete "rings" helps to unify the various elements of the site, framing small holes that have been made in walls throughout the scheme to facilitate glimpses between spaces.

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

Between the large concrete portals of the indoor bar are sheets of glazing which extend to cover both the walls and the roof, filling the bar with light.

Inside, exposed concrete and white plaster create a simple, open space that contrasts the vibrancy of the terrace outside, with custom hanging light fixings carved from wood.

Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92

To reflect the history of brass trading in Moradabad, a series of brass vessels have been incorporated into the design, affixed to walls or sat atop plinths.

Other recent projects in India include Anagram Architects' Cleft House in New Delhi, and a temple close to Pune designed by Karan Darda Architects.

Photography is by Niveditaa Gupta.


Project credits:

Architects: Porta l92
Lead architects: Sagar Goyal, Aanchal Sawhney
Lighting: Indi Hauz Designs, Dbel Studio

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Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92
Village Cafe in Moradabad, India, by Portal92