Lifestyle

Minnie Bhatt designs Burma Burma’s latest outpost in Kolkata as a celebration of Myanmar’s cultural and colonial architectural heritage

NOV 19, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
The restaurant Burma Burma in Kolkata is replete with allusions to Myanmar's cultural heritage; Photographs by Ricken Desai
Large cane chairs and walls hand-painted with landscape imagery of the ancient city of Bagan accentuate the restaurant's charm; Photographs by Ricken Desai
A woven chattai panelling is suspended above a long sofa in the dining area on the lower floor; Photographs by Ricken Desai
Close-up of the chattai wall panelling; Photographs by Ricken Desai
Curved booths set against contrasting wooden panelling characterise one side of the dining area of Burma Burma; Photographs by Ricken Desai
Framed antique palm leaf Buddhist manuscripts from Burma are placed on this bluish green textured wall; Photographs by Ricken Desai
This private dining section features a colourful hand painted carpet; Photographs by Ricken Desai
A collection of lacquerware artefacts from Burma is seen in the backdrop; Photographs by Ricken Desai

Burma Burma restaurant and tea room’s newest outpost in a colonial building on Park Street is set against the rich cultural and historical backdrop of Kolkata. It aesthetically renders the southeast Asian nation’s colonial heritage.

The double-heighted restaurant is designed by Minnie Bhatt and her eponymous creative studio to resemble a colonial home in Myanmar. We love how the mezzanine floor as well as private dining section recall the grandeur of colonial architecture and celebrates the cultural identity of its namesake country.

From the facade itself, Burma Burma sets the tone of the space with arched wooden windows and a classic wooden staircase and railing.

Cane chairs, wooden accents, bespoke lighting, walls covered in artworks from Myanmar and terrazzo-tiled flooring that’s inlaid with a brass strip make up Burma Burma’s quaint aesthetic; Photographs by Ricken Desai

“We were inspired by our travels to Myanmar. Yangon has many colonial buildings and The Strand there has retained its colonial decor. This influenced us to include large cane chairs, walls hand painted with landscape imagery, and terrazzo-tiled flooring inlaid with a brass strip…all inspired from our visit to the iconic hotel,” says Minnie Bhatt, the brains behind the designer space.

Large lights in pleated and dyed fabric with a brass pulley system illuminate the dining area; Photographs by Ricken Desai

On the left of the entrance is a bar with tall, hand painted tables. Nearby, a staircase leads to the mezzanine level. The seemingly modest space opens out into a grand dining area with a 20ft ceiling. The majesty of the setting is amplified by large lights in pleated and dyed fabric with a brass pulley system in the centre of the ceiling, reminiscent of British colonial pendant lights.

Close-up of the ceiling lamp; Photographs by Ricken Desai

A row of curved booths are set against a pale jade-painted wooden panel with a matching, bluish green textured backdrop. Huge frames holding antique palm leaf Buddhist manuscripts from Burma, placed on a raw silk mount, elevate the wall. On the other side of the room, a woven chattai panelling is suspended above a long sofa. Original vintage Burmese family photos sourced during a visit to Myanmar line the wall.

Curved booths line the bluish green textured wall with pale jade-painted wood panelling; Photographs by Ricken Desai

The walls along the wooden staircase leading up to the mezzanine are hand painted to depict the landscape of Bagan, perhaps Myanmar’s most iconic city. Large and bespoke jade green peacock chairs mark the entrance of this space, while a lacquered divider screen sourced from Myanmar looms in the backdrop.

Framed antique palm leaf Buddhist manuscripts from Burma elevate this wall; Photographs by Ricken Desai

Just next door from this point is the private dining section, which is marked by a hand painted carpet covering the engineered wooden flooring. Beyond this is the library that houses a staggering collection of lacquerware artefacts from Burma.

Aerial view of the communal dining area on the lower floor; Photographs by Ricken Desai

“Overall the design language has colonial undertones with elements from authentic Burmese culture, just like a colonial style Burmese home that is influenced by the British rule but still firmly rooted in its own cultural heritage and traditions,” says Bhatt.

For more images of Burma Burma in Kolkata, scroll below…

A classic wooden staircase leads to the mezzanine floor; Photographs by Ricken Desai

 

The walls along the staircase are hand painted to depict the landscape of the ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bagan; Photographs by Ricken Desai

 

A peek into the private dining area on the mezzanine level; Photographs by Ricken Desai

 

Pictured here is a hand painted carpet covering the engineered wooden flooring of the private dining section; Photographs by Ricken Desai

 

An assortment of lacquerware artefacts from Burma line this wall upstairs; Photographs by Ricken Desai