Meraki Cafe by Drawing Hands Studio is as airy and vibrant as the garden surrounding it
OCT 16, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
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.
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.
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.
“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.