Recreating Memory through Space
– Ajo Idea Space, Uttara, Dhaka
In the bustling concrete jungle Dhaka, seldom do we come across places that promote a free flow of energy for one to unwind and relax. Ajo Idea Space is an oasis amidst the rush of the city where the tranquillity of the space encourages contemplation and idea-sharing. The alchemy of Ajo was revived and reinvented by Ar. Rashed Chowdhury and his firm DW (Dehsar Works).
Ajo reflects the collaborative effort of the owner, Artist Khaled Mahmud and the architect, who put relentless hours in brainstorming and conceptualizing to bring their idea into being. The design team decided to bring out the craft within the industrial production system. It is a fine balance between the old and the new that creates wonderful wisdom. Ajo in its philosophy and structure does not look like a restaurant; however, it does not seem unknown either.
For the eatery to evoke a tranquil feeling, the restaurant draws inspiration from Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan. “Keeping things basic, we translated the influence of Bhutan into a modern context in terms of materials. We designed a pavilion which is the original character of architecture in this region.
You just have a roof over your head and the landscape flows through the space”, Ar Rashed explains. The steel and concrete structure made nature a significant element of the design. As one walks in, new elements are slowly unfolded in front of the visitor. There is no central furniture; every space is given a unique character and caters to different groups of people. Ajo Idea Space successfully recreated the memory of its previous narrow space into an open plan, giving the space a new face.
Foliage & Fireflies
– Green Lounge, Rupayan Trade Center, Dhaka
Claiming to be the largest rooftop restaurant in Bangladesh, Green lounge sits atop a high-rise building of Dhaka, promising sought-after isolation from the noise and pollution of the city below. Architect Al Mamun Ur Rashid of the AMUR Architecture firm is a dab hand at infusing natural elements to any project he works on and Green Lounge is no exception.
It is a restaurant second and a place to relax first, as was the idea of the architect. The use of walls is minimized wherever possible; instead utilizing the cover of foliage and wood, the space is turned into a work of art.
As dusk approaches, lights pop up around the structure and twinkle into the greens, giving the illusion of a mythical fairy garden. Subtly, there are Feng Shui components working together to impart a wholesome sense of wellbeing.
Wood and bamboo is used to fill up a sturdy, yet rustic and classic steel and glass structure, while live plants cover most of the area. Bamboo and wicker are also used for furniture and decor. Flowing, merrily bubbling water complements the green and creates a harmony with nature. Warm light from quirky pendant lamps represent the element of fire, while the serving dishes represent metal, and stone decor items represent the earth element. All in all, Green Lounge utilizes all the best features of natural components to create a soothing ambience.
Going Back to the Roots
– JatraBiroti, Banani, Dhaka
JatraBiroti in Banani boasts a peaceful atmosphere, where the positive vibes and ambience make you lose the track of time. Just how the name suggests, it is a break from the rush. The eatery located at the heart of Banani is inspired by the rich and colourful culture of Bangladesh. Promoting food and music that nourishes the soul, JatraBiroti is a journey from within.
The visually mesmerizing eatery was designed by a talented team of architects from Studio Bangi and Tech Academy- Salzar Rahman, Syed Mehboob Hussain, Farah Jalil and Zarin Tasneem. The design has an underlying eclectic theme maintained- curated with painting, wall art, handicrafts and locally sourced sustainable raw materials.
On the 4th floor is Jatra Café- an indoor space for private gatherings while the 5th floor or the rooftop is JatraBiroti, the outdoor space. The entire eatery is adorned by a myriad of jolting colours. The walls and ceilings are painted by 20 artists from Charukola, and the result is a mind-boggling interpretation of Bangladeshi through folk art. The rooftop is an evocative of a Bengali “Uthaan” or a rural courtyard. It also comprises of a gazebo at the back. The outdoor space has a lounge-like ambience to rest your feet and recline. There is a stage for live performances as well as elevated space furnished with floor tables and oversized cushions. The space is illuminated with suspended paper and fabric lanterns. All the furniture are sustainably sourced and made from scratch. JatraBiroti is one of those few places that keep the true essence of Bangladesh alive.
Embracing the Concrete Jungle
– Cilantro, Dhanmondi
Cilantro restaurant in Dhanmondi is widely popular among the crowd because of its signature decor style, featuring clusters of mason jars alit from above. Architect Tanya Afroz has designed the space by effectively developing the concept of sustainable and recycled interior design. Despite having a little space to work with, she has skillfully managed to implement various textures like wood, bricks and glasses that bring the place together.
Bare surfaces of all the materials were kept to reveal the truthfulness and set an impression of a cosy arena to rewind amidst the concrete jungle. Recycled mason jar lighting fixtures add originality to the space with a dash of rustic charm. They work as a metaphor to lost fireflies who have finally found their home in the concrete jungle. The sitting area of the restaurant is divided into two parts; air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned.
The latter portion has a roof which is elevated with a suspended transparent sheet that allows natural illumination and fresh air to come in. What makes this portion magical is that the ambient daylight through the roof gives life to the greenery in the space and true essence of the changing seasons can be enjoyed. A glass door separates the two parts, which is removed during winter to provide natural ventilation and save energy. The seating arrangement has been prepared with furniture made of pine wood that complements the rough texture of the bare brick background. The walls comprise of artworks and photography done by talented folks who want to exhibit their old and new works. Every little detail of the restaurant was well thought out and guests are surely in for a treat.