This water pumping station in Rajasthan is transformed into a rustic cafe and museum

JUL 1, 2019 | By Aneesha Bhadri
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT The signage at the entrance features typography created by Abha Narain Lambah; The seating area post-restoration; Photography by Krishna Iyer
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT The museum exhibits several old pumping systems dating back to the British Raj; The cafe is bathed in natural light, owing to the clear roofing sheet that is supported by cast iron brackets. It is decorated in coral and turquoise hues, with succulents in wooden frames and metal shelves

Pump House Museum and Cafe in Jaipur, Rajasthan, got its moniker from the old pump house that was housed in the same edifice during the British Raj. “We wanted to transform the old water pumping station into a chic restaurant and cafe, keeping the old pumps and machinery for people to see,” explains Abha Narain Lambah, whose namesake practice consulted with Tata Projects Limited on this revivalist project.

Lambah and her team ensured that the space’s rustic appeal and earthy tones evoked a sense of nostalgia, despite the distinct contemporary touches added to the interiors. Abha Narain Lambah Associates added a signage at the entrance with typography created by Lambah herself. The area between the structure’s two sheds was covered with a clear roofing sheet and supported by cast iron brackets, as an ode to Victorian construction materials, typical of pre-Independent India. Industrial furniture and bentwood chairs in bright colours were sourced to offset the pastel-hued lime surkhi plaster on the walls. The result — a vibrant, industrial-chic aesthetic that has woven in itself an inherent old-world charm.