Creative Re-use Winner at INSIDE - World Festival of Interiors in Berlin, Baradari at City Palace Jaipur explores how design can bring inherent value to a place when conventions on conservation and adaptive re-use are looked at through a fresh lens.
The royal family of Jaipur invited Studio Lotus to redevelop the former City Palace Café as a 14,000-sqft fine dining destination comprising a private dining area, bar, various lounges, and a quick service counter while retaining current back-of-the house facilities.
Existing buildings were given a new expression by stripping off paint and cement plaster layers. The exposed rubble masonry was then repaired with traditional lime mortar with details in lime plaster. A key conceptual move was to use the courtyard as a binding element for the new program rather than an extension. An existing intermediate structure, a toilet block, was dismantled from the courtyard to open up the area visually and spatially. A Pavilion in the form of a Baradari was inserted as a bar into the courtyard to divide yet link the two zones that flank it.
The newly-designed areas now accommodate 200 covers across its breadth of spaces. The concept seeks to create a balanced interplay of historic revelations and contemporary additions: both drawing from and interpreting the underlying Indo-Sarcenic influences of Jaipur’s architectural history. Traditional crafts of Jaipur like Thikri work, bespoke casting and foundry work, furniture and stone work have been worked upon in this new idiom – whether it was through finding new form or using them in a new manner for a new use.
The skilled artistry of local craftsmen in marble is given a graphic vocabulary for flooring, the Pavilion, dado work, benches, table tops and more. Built in handcrafted marble and brass, the contemporary expression of the Baradari-inspired Pavilion heightens the surrounding historic vocabulary and gives the place its key identity. Mild steel and brass are used for bespoke lighting and door design. Constrained budgets encouraged the re-use of furniture salvaged from the Palace, alongside the new, with patterns inspired from hybrid influences to give them a fresh lease of life.
Several countries in Asia have a repertoire of historic buildings but more importantly there are countries such as India, which have a rich legacy of Living Tradition of crafts and arts that are dying as they have been unable to reinvent themselves to today’s ideas and needs. Baradari serves to be a demonstration of how active engagement of these craftsmen and artisans in new design applications can bring both, an exciting flavour to the project, and open up new ways of thinking for these artisans.