Tote is one of Mumbai’s hottest new restaurant, bar and banquet destinations, adapting a heritage building to the needs of five-star hospitality.
In the middle of one of Mumbai’s most beautiful open spaces, an old shell has been given a new interior. The conservation guidelines call for the preservation of the roof profile for three-quarters of the buildings and full conservation for the remaining one-quarter. Through the design, the colonial facade of the Tote building gives way to a thoroughly modern adaptation.
The restaurant is split into three areas—lounge seating on a veranda enclosed by glass panels; an indoor dining room sandwiched in between, and an alfresco space with the foliage of lush rain trees latticing the sky. This open-air section houses pits for a grill, tandoor and wood-fired ovens and tables sheltered by umbrellas.
When designing the lighting for Tote, we had numerous design discussions with the architects, and while looking for an inspirational benchmark, we found an image of day light filtering through dense foliage.
Once the vision was clear, we had the creative courage to carry it through the entire process, refining and tweaking as we developed the design. In the banqueting and indoor restaurant areas, white metal tree-mimicking pillars branch to the ceiling. Lighting is installed at the points where these branches meet the ceiling.
The lighting strategy in this space is to use the architectural pockets of light to mimic light piercing through the foliage of “trees” into the space. The bar area lighting strategy uses the double height space to highlight the faceted wood panels with shafts of daylight.
The false ceiling is a complex arrangement of three lighting systems built up in plasterboard and plywood coves. They offer the client flexibility to alter the lighting effects based on event type.
The Tote won The 2010 Restaurant Bar Design Awards in category International Bar and Best Bar design award.