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Designer of the Week: Minnie Bhatt

SEP 9, 2016 | By Nupur Ashok Sarvaiya
We met the interior designer Minnie Bhatt who fuses technical tenacity, cultural identities and native craftsmanship to design contemporary, hybrid spaces. It is no wonder why the fraternity is abuzz with Minnie.
The Mumbai based creative was exposed to heritage structures and the charm of vintage buildings while growing up in South end of the city. She got a Diploma in Interior Design. Taking the “right” turn from there, she was unstoppable… she went on to train under some of the most renowned interior designers in the country and with the learnings, she founded – Minnie Bhatt Designs, eight years ago.
From designing restaurants in India like Radio Bar, Burma Burma, Mirchi and Mine, Silver Beach Cafe, Nom Nom, The Woking Mama etc. that make your life less ordinary to working on the restoration and redesigning of a 400 year old temple in Vrindavan, Mathura, Minnie’s mantra is to never to repeat her creations.
Her design philosophy
With 18 glorious years in the world of design experience, even today, each day, is just as exciting for Minnie, who propels herself to create and evolve with every new project. In a subconscious way, her childhood influences of the old world neighbourhoods often, find their way subtly into the spaces she creates.
“My style of design is mainly eclectic and contemporary. I try to ensure that everything I do is specific to the client, wherein a space not only reflects their personality but also is in sync with my aesthetics,” she reveals. In a world that is in a constant state of flux, “I try to design spaces that are timeless and authentic,” she adds. She draws inspiration from materials and finishes and also follows Japanese designer Nendo’s work.
Most recent project
Recently, the creative completed a restaurant called Myx in Juhu, Mumbai. A trendy and eclectic canvas, the space is a rendezvous of whimsical chic with solid shades. “Synonymous to its name, Myx was planned around the concept of tapas – small eats from around the world. The brief from the client was simple: To imagine an eatery that is plush yet casual. This is why we tried to bring in a wanderlust concept through the decor. When you enter, you’re greeted with huge hand painted motif on the wall of a woman looking out on the world with her binoculars along with ample of knick knacks such as vintage video cameras that adorn the space,” she avers.
The place is segregated into an indoor dining section and an alfresco area, while the ambidextrous bar is accessible from both sides. Inside the diner, artistry, ingenuity and good ol’ Indian hospitality come together to make every gourmand’s heart and eyes wander. Solid earthy shades and monochromes complement the customised furniture. “The furniture unifies different aesthetics. For instance, the crimson coloured tables are paired together, where they are partly painted and partly polished. Even service stations bear a myriad of finishes,” cites Minnie.
Steering clear from the industrial look, the designer took liberties with the existing brick wall, making bold moves with a rough plaster. “Interestingly, it was a tasking job to mesh the plaster on to the wall because we wanted the layering to look right before we incorporated the motifs like guy on the cycle or lighthouse on it.”
The dark ambience was strategically clashed with a vibrant ceiling that features restored vintage tinted tiles from the ’60s that have been put together as a collage. While speaking on the challenges faced, she mentions, ”Lighting the central part of the space was a major challenge. We wanted it to be lit well enough without being too bright or too dull. We devised three kinds of fittings before zeroing down to the one that is prevalent. These were mounted on the sides instead of the ceiling, with a play of linear lines. Even the outside lighting was a challenge, half way through the project the brand added molecular gastronomy dishes to the menu, so the tables had to be better lit than what we had planned for. For this, we engineered a three arm light that highlights the roofs, the dishes but does not illuminate the centre of the table overwhelmingly.”
Also read: This hotel in Zurich was inspired by Swiss chocolates