Inspired by the natural topography of the dunes and mountains of the surrounding desert, the sprawling Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in the coastal city of Aqaba in Jordan, unfolds out into an organic, approximately 13,000 sq ft development. The 18 hole signature golf course, designed by athlete-turned-designer Greg Norman, is surrounded by residential, hospitality and commercial spaces that are conceptualised by Oppenheim Architecture to connect the built environment with the natural. The design practice is influenced by tribal Bedouin tents as seen in the final construction. Conventional walls and ceilings resemble curved shotcrete shells, creating magnificent triangular entrances between the folds.
The natural light flooding the expansive interiors of Ishaara in Mumbai influenced designer Minnie Bhatt and co-owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah of Stratix Hospitality, who have collaborated with restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani, to design a conservatory inspired restaurant, serving modern Indian cuisine.
To increase the eatery’s resemblance to a greenhouse, Bhatt used natural materials along with furniture upholstered in organic shades of mustard yellow, rust and green. The highlight of the space is the Venetian terrazzo flooring that was cast on site with marble and stone pieces set into situ. Bringing in a tropical vibe is the botanical print wallpaper, which is illuminated by custom made pendant lamps in the private dining room. Meanwhile, a long running couch along the courtyard side facade and a metal and tarnished mirror screen near the bar lends visual expansiveness.
We bring to you outdoor displays spread across vast open lands, that allow you to freely breathe, live and enjoy unconfined creativity and imagination…
Hakone Open Air Museum
Nestled between the quiet valleys and verdant hills of Japan, the capacious Hakone Open-air museum was created to allow free movement between nature and art. Perfect to visit in any season, the museum has on permanent display 120 masterpieces by famous contemporary sculptors, although the Piccaso collection remains its key attraction.
Beneath the breathtaking Norwegian skies lies the Ekeberg sculpture park. Spread across 25.5 acres of lush green, it is home to heritage works of masters such as Renoir and Rodin. Breaking away from the flat and masculine form it revolves around women as the focus subject and is also the exact spot where artist Edvard Munch was inspired to paint his famed Skriket (The Scream).
Opened in 1914 as the world’s first open-air museum, The Old Town in Aarhus, is built to create an illusion of town life complete with half-timbered structures for buildings, gardens, post office and museum staff impersonating the roles of town figures. An outdoor history class, the museum captures the evolution of Danish societies and architecture.
Step into a sculptor’s haven amidst dense trees, as you stroll through modern installations that are well conceptualised, dramatic and often thought-provoking. Tucked away in the quaint city of Missouri, the collection includes over 60 exhibits, both temporary and permanent that are mostly themed on current trends and issues.
On a quiet beach along the coast of northern China’s Bohai Bay, the UCCA Dune Art Museum is carved into the sand, where it gently disappears. Countless years of wind have pushed the beach’s sand into a dune along the shore several metres high, stabilised by low-rising shrubs and another ground cover. Inspired by children’s tireless digging, the museum lies beneath this dune.
“Digging” creates a series of interconnected, organically formed spaces, which resemble caves — the primeval home of man, where the walls were once a canvas for some of humanity’s earliest works of art. Hidden between the sea and the coast, the design of the Dune Art Museum is simple, pure, and touching.
The decision to create the art museum underneath the dunes surrounding it was born out of the deep reverence for nature and the desire to protect the vulnerable ecosystem, formed by natural forces over thousands of years. “The context was nature. Because of the museum, these sand dunes will be preserved instead of being levelled, as has happened to many other dunes along the shore”, explains Li.
The architects chose to leave the irregular texture of the formwork, so these traces of the manual construction can be read across the walls. Sustainability was also key to the project. A series of cell-like contiguous spaces accommodate the museum’s rich and varied programmes. These include galleries of different sizes and a café. After passing through a long, dark tunnel and a small reception area, space suddenly opens up as you enter the largest multifunctional gallery.
There, a beam of daylight from the skylight above silently yet powerfully fills the space. Looking through different openings framed by the building, museum-goers can observe the ever-changing expressions of the sky and sea throughout the day. A spiral staircase leads to a lookout area on top of the sand dune, guiding curious audiences from the dark recesses of the cave-like galleries to the vast openness above. Nestled between the water and land, the museum emerges as a secret shelter — with ever-changing expressions and elements, the sky and sea stimulate boundless creative energy.
There is a lot to be said about the range and spread of street food in our country. There is, without exaggeration, something for everyone.
And yes, while we’re extremely tickled by that fact, we’re even more thrilled about how its all served and the diverse crowd of people it attracts, all flocking to the aroma of delicious meals prepared and served with warmth, gusto and ready smiles. Colourful furniture, delightful table linen, happy faces, al fresco dining set-ups…time to draw our inspiration for the home front, wouldn’t you say?
We found one such food truck at Gurgaon, serving a range of drool-worthy global delicacies that you must savour!
Bombay Brasserie presents a culinary journey that showcases India as it has never been experienced before. A mélange of unique ingredients, sourced from the far corners of the country, hand-picked from local farms lends the menu its uniqueness.
Their decor reflects the aesthetics of their menu, which is inspired by special ingredients and displays an eclectic selection that marries the familiar with the unexpected. “It all comes together to create a magical experience!’’ says concept designer, Payal Khanna of Aura Dezyne.
As the primary designer of all Bombay Brasserie restaurants across India, Payal wanted to create a space that manifests an ideal balance between the vintage and the contemporary, thus making it refreshing and youthful; something that all age groups can relate to.
As you step inside the restaurant, you are convinced that she has been successful in doing so. With an enticing mix of joyful colours and a sweet harmony of eclectic artefacts, the space is a quirky blend of old-world charm and modern vitality. The restaurant has a long verandah lined with lush greenery and intrigues with its playful, rustic charm.
As a cold wave envelops the subcontinent this holiday season, snuggle up in a warm blanket, roast some marshmallows on a campfire and experience the beauty of clear, star-filled skies. Take a look at our selection of some of the most breathtaking homestays.
Taara House, Manali: Perched 6600 feet above the ground, this cottage utilises Burma Teak, English Oak and Pine to create the perfect homely setting in the mountains. An all-glass house, for dining under the stars and breathtaking views, is the highlight of this residence that will transport you to a bygone era with its charming decor. www.taarahouse.com
Meena Bagh, Ratnari: Far from the towns of Himachal that are buzzing with tourists, this beautiful home is nestled in the middle of an apple orchard. Enjoy a tranquil stay to relax and connect with yourself, loved ones and nature.www.meenabaghresorts.com
Sylvan Villa, Kasauli: Atop the pristine Dharampur hills, this villa is speculated to have been the first school in the city, almost 100 years ago. It’s old-world charm and stunning views will have you reminiscing the stories your grandparents once told you of easier times as you relax and unwind in the fresh air.www.sylvanvilla.com
Dwarika Residency, Shimla: This boutique property provides splendid views of the Himalayas and Pabber river. Apple orchards in full bloom welcome you in the warmer months, whilst a blanket of pristine white snow and cosy interiors enchant you in the winter. Bask in the sun, poolside or sit around the campfire at night in this gorgeous bungalow.www.hotelshelapani.com
La Belle Vie, Nainital: Made with stone and reclaimed wood, this homestay is just 100 meters from Naukuchiatal Lake. Indulge in recreational activities like paragliding, trekking and nature walks when you aren’t lounging around the ‘at one with nature’ decor of this space.
Photographs courtesy the properties’ websites mentioned above
This Christmas season, dunk into some sugary goodness to indulge your taste buds with desserts infused with the flavour of the whimsical rose.
Citrus Rose Thyme Cake: Ingredients For Buttercream 120 ml double cream, 500 g icing powdered sugar sifted, 230 g unsalted butter cubed, 1 tbsp dried edible rose petals crushed to powder, 1-2 tbsp rose water, Pink food colouring optional. For Sponge250g sugar190g all-purpose flour170g whole milk yogurt150g vegetable oil68g lemon juice56g almond meal1 tsp salt1 tsp baking powder1 tsp almond extract1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, from about 2 sprigs, zest of 1 lemon1/4 tsp baking soda2 large eggs Method For Buttercream Whisk the butter and icing sugar in a bowl with a stand mixer. Increase the speed to maximum and whisk for a few minutes until fluffy. Add the rose water, rose petals and food colouring if required and whisk together. Gradually, add the double cream and whisk for 3-4 minutes. The buttercream should be smooth and hold firm peaks. If it’s runny, add some icing sugar. For Sponge Whisk together flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, thyme, and zest. In a separate bowl, blend the lemon juice and yogurt until smooth. In a larger bowl, combine oil and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each. Stir in the almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and yogurt mixture in three alternating additions. Pour into pans and bake for 35 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Layer the buttercream in between the cakes and cover the outside. Decorate with dried petals. Chill to set, and then serve.
Rosewater Panna Cotta Ingredients:1 cup heavy cream1/3 cup mascarpone cheese 2 tbs sugar2 tsp rosewater1 tsp unflavoured gelatin1 tbs cold water2 drops pink food colouring, optional Method In a heavy bottom saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a slight simmer until the sugar melts. Take a bowl to combine the gelatin and water. Mix until the gelatin has softened. Add the cream and sugar mixture to the gelatin, constantly stirring. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Strain the mixture into shot glasses. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Pipe with whipped cream and garnish with candied rose petal.
Rose Lollipops Ingredients: 1 cup sugar¼ cup corn syrup½ cup water1 teaspoon rosewater1 teaspoon rose syrup Organic dried Rose petals and sugar pearlsMethodCombine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 300°F. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool. Stir in rosewater and rose syrup. Pour the mixture into a heatproof measuring container with a spout or a candy funnel. Spray lollipop moulds with non-stick cooking spray. Place sticks and divide the mixture among the prepared moulds. Press in rose petals and sugar pearls. Let lollipops cool and harden for about 15 minutes. Wrap in cellophane bags and store in a cool dry.
Rose Cakesickles Ingredients: White chocolate 200 gram slab Vanilla sponge cakeCakesickle mould and sticksRose extract Pink Food colour Sugar Decorations of your choiceMethodCrush vanilla sponge cake into fine crumbs. Add rose extract and press into cakesickle moulds using melted white chocolate dipped-sticks. Place in the freezer till firm. Melt the white chocolate and dip the cakesicles completely into it. Tap to take off any excess chocolate and place on a parchment paper lined tine to dry. Use sugar decorations or sprinkles to decorate.
Asian tapas anyone? Head to Mumbai’s newly opened restaurant – Foo, for an intense binge-session of a Japanese- Peruvian delectable mix. Architect Sumessh Menon has crafted this stylish restaurant with a rustic-yet-contemporary Asian design. It is impossible to think of springtime Japan without an iconic image of a sea of cherry trees awash with perfect pink blooms instantly coming to mind. The sakura greets you right upon entering the swanky restaurant.
Caffeine addicts, give your daily routine a boost – discover cool coffee shops with design aesthetics as strong as their brews. We are filtering down ten coffee shops that every design enthusiast must visit at least once in their lifetime.
1) Gifu, Japan: Mirror mirror on the wall… this Queen’s dialogue in the Disney classic Disney movie Snow-white finds perfect expression in this cafe. Designed by the Japanese firm, Bandesign, the coffeehouse features wall-length mirror that reflects the cherry blossoms, which surrounds the café’s exterior – making it the ideal Instagrammable spot.
2) Laduree, Paris: This century-old salon de thé in France’s iconic boulevard, Champs – Elysees – holds the legacy of Parisian tea rooms. Established in 1862, Laduree has mastered the art of making drool-worthy macarons and equally dreamy hot chocolate. Pastel green and golden dominate the interiors, along with pictorial seating and long silk curtains that run along the windows.
3) Saint Aymes café, London: Nestled in the heart of London this cafe is a city slicker’s dreamscape. Inspired by the work of Wes Anderson and floral garden, Saint Aymes café is designed by two sisters who wanted to create a paradise on earth. While the entrance dons beautiful mauve flowers, the all-white interiors add a complimentary touch to the space.
4) Café Palladio, Jaipur: A hidden gem within the grand palace of Jaipur, be prepared to transport into a fairy tale. The coffee shop serves authentic Italian food in the most beautiful setting. Following a theme of pastel saffron and green, the walls of this Indian café are painted with scenes of verdant gardens, orange blossoms, and birds as well as butterflies in flight.
5) Dreamy camera café, South Korea: This is not your regular café, it literally stands tall in the shape of a vintage camera. On the flip side of this camera lens is a cosy space that doubles up as a café and as well as a photo gallery with polaroid pictures running along the window.
6) Ki Cafe, Tokyo: Find a little forest of quiet inside Tokyo’s popular Ki Café. Ki in Japanese means, tree and the interior of this space revolves around it. Coffee coloured poles stand tall with branches that also double as a coat hanger. The all-white aesthetics of the space gives a zen-like feeling, creating an ideal environment to work.
7) Bar Topolski, London: Art aficionados rejoice – you can now catch up on art history while sipping the house-infused spirits. The cafe bar pays homage to the Polish expressionist and painter, Feliks Topolski. The interiors of this café are covered with the illustrator’s drawings and paintings. This is enough to warrant a trip to London.
8) The Butcher’s Daughter, NYC: Contrary to the name board, The Butcher’s Daughter recognizes itself as a “vegetable slaughterhouse.” As you step into the space, you will find green planters everywhere – hanging from the ceiling, on shelves, on walls – giving it a very tropical and fresh vibe.
9) The Cake, Kyiv, Ukraine: The cheeky imitation of Jeff Koons’s animal sculpture may almost have you fooled as you enter the swanky bistro in Kyiv. Designed by 2B Group, the space reimagines a delightfully sliced piece of cake. Think an industrial theme with muted hues, 10,000 odd handmade tiles and bathroom décor with playful funky colours. Who’s up for desserts?
10) Swan Café, Cape Town: Crafted by South African interior and furniture designer Haldane Martin, the interiors of the creperie reimagines the elegance and grace of the swan. The space is manicured with brass interiors, curios on shelves, bistro furniture and a colour palette inspired by the French flag. The café serves gobsmacking crêpes and galettes that comes straight from the open-plan kitchen. What’s not to love?