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Meraki Cafe by Drawing Hands Studio is as airy and vibrant as the garden surrounding it

OCT 16, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
A metallic frame and wooden rafters line the pathway leading to the cafe; Photographs by Phosart Studio
View of the entrance of Meraki Café; Photographs by Phosart Studio
Walls depict larger-than-life, vibrant artworks of flora by a local artist; Photographs by Phosart Studio
Custom-made ferrocement seating with a mild grey finish mutes the expanse of vivid colours; Photographs by Phosart Studio
The outdoor seating area of the cafe is furnished with bespoke seating and custom artworks; Photographs by Phosart Studio
A vibrant tropical palette enlivens this eatery; Photographs by Phosart Studio
The tropical theme continues inside with colourful flora painted on the walls; Photographs by Phosart Studio
The interiors comprise a cafe-style seating arrangement and a bakery display; Photographs by Phosart Studio
Another perspective of the interiors overlooks the brightly painted walls outside; Photographs by Phosart Studio
A consistent black metal frame forms the display unit in the cafe; Photographs by Phosart Studio

A metallic walkway with wooden rafters leads to an alfresco cafe dotted with trees and shrubbery. Designed around a garden with a few large trees, Meraki Café is a 3,000 sq ft venue in Chennai that opens up gradually, one relaxed step at a time. Walls displaying vibrant and large-scale, floral murals by a local artist run through the bright space, giving patrons the impression of an exotic jungle.

What began as a renovation exercise of a bungalow in Chennai’s ECR for a cafe as an extension to the existing brand Cafe de Paris turned into an overhaul and creation of a new project that included a cafe, restaurant and coworking space. Meraki Café is the completed typology of the trio.

“The client wanted to highlight the tropical nature of the city and also create a lively ambience, attracting millennials. It was this brief that became our initial watchwords and we pivoted the design such,” says Shruti Omprakash of Drawing Hands Studio.

The entrance of Meraki Café in Chennai designed by Drawing Hands Studio; Photographs by Phosart Studio

Once part of a garage, the bright and cheery walls house the indoor eatery with an open-seating lounge on the upper level. The studio transformed the lawn into an open and semi-covered space, convenient for hosting events. The tropical theme continues inside with flora painted on the walls with brilliant brushstrokes.

The interiors are characterised by black metal framework; Photographs by Phosart Studio

Custom-made ferrocement seating with a mild grey finish mutes the expanse of colour. The interiors comprise a cafe-style seating arrangement and a bakery display. Alluding to the hot and humid climes of the city, colour and vegetation dictate the design of this garden cafe in different ways.

Glass walls allow a seamless indoor-outdoor transition that befits the natural theme of the cafe; Photographs by Phosart Studio

“We love working with metal frames, be it furniture, interior elements or outdoor structures. A consistent black frame became a display unit as well as a seating ledge in the cafe. We’ve also provided slightly inclined shelving for the bakery products to be kept in the future,” says Omprakash, adding, “We’ve been through plenty of design iterations in terms of artwork, relevance of colour and pattern for this project. The final outcome is that of a relaxed space with good food and a feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle of city life,” she concludes.