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The BFT Walk II – The Rise of Versatile Spaces

The first Bharat Floorings Walk in 2016 was a memorable event curated by Instagram influencer and photographer, Kuber Shah. The walk was themed around the appreciation of the heritage rich city where the brand’s headquarters reside i.e. Mumbai, and it took us on a journey through some of the most beautiful heritage structures in South Mumbai, namely the Abode Boutique Hotel and the iconic Royal Bombay Yacht Club in Colaba, amongst others.

After a highly successful event, we set off again on a sequel to The BFT Walk, this time with an entirely different theme, i.e. how design influences the way we interact - led by founders of design firm Studio Osmosis - Shilpa and Sameer Balvally and the Vice-Chairman of Bharat Floorings, Mr. Firdaus Variava. The team at Studio Osmosis are experts at combining multiple materials to create plush, warm interiors that blur the lines between formal and informal settings. For this very reason, we invited them to join us on a walk that focussed on how multiple design elements come together to create multi-functional spaces that cater to people’s personal, professional and social needs.

Increasingly, spaces are being designed such that they enhance social interaction, especially in co-working spaces where networking plays an important role when it comes to forming professional relationships. It should be a space where members feel connected, since co-working is fundamentally about giving people access to each other. Members should be able to shift out of the professional setting occasionally so that they are making friends rather than just associates.

Our first stop as part of the walk was a co-working space designed by Shilpa and Sameer – RISE Mumbai located at Lower Parel – a co-working space by Barclays. For any given co-working space, the place itself needs to have elements that inspire creativity. Creativity is all about experimenting with different colour combinations and unique patterns, and Shilpa and Sameer have incorporated that in the design of their meeting rooms. They’ve used the quirky handmade BFT+ designer collaboration tiles, Azul Iket pattern from the Origametes collection. These patterns are derivatives of the company’s design motifs and can be seen in different accent colours throughout the space giving a local context to the otherwise global design sense.

Flexible and fixed patterns cohesively map out the different uses of the spaces in the layout. The kitchen and bar act as a social interactive space of the office area. Shilpa and Sameer designed each of these different areas so beautifully keeping the central objective of the co-working space in mind i.e. attaining a merger between their existing design language and a subtle modernist Indian essence.

Our second stop on the walk was one of Mumbai’s most iconic addresses - The World Towers. Here we had access to a beautiful private residential space designed by Shilpa and Sameer. We also got to visit some of the common spaces designed for residents of the World Towers to unwind and socialize in a comfortable, cosy setting.

These days a home isn’t just perceived as a space where you live and perform all your day to day activities, but also as an entertainment spot. It’s become a space of hospitality and living combined. For instance, the seating in the living room of the residence that we visited has been designed for flexible and fun social interactions and can be added to easily for larger groups. 

The balcony, which runs along the curve of the living room, has been converted into an outdoor bar and is the perfect outward looking social space for informal gatherings with casual colourful seating and offbeat bar counters mimicking the Mediterranean colours.

Besides the fact that this esteemed residential tower is an architectural marvel and a symbol of luxury, what also makes it an attractive choice for homeowners is the community spaces. We had the opportunity to visit the elegant art gallery set amidst carefully curated flowering plants and trees, that houses the artworks of renowned artists from around the world as well as a cafe that serves healthy beverages and snacks. Pops of colour in the décor along with comfortable seating options where residents can relax, read a book from the library, or even enjoy a stimulating conversation with friends as they sip on a cup of coffee, make this space an ideal spot for residents of this prestigious development to unwind, socialise, network, or even work in solitude!

Another highlight of our visit to the World Towers was the grand ballroom – The Sea of Blue where we got to witness the magnificent lighting design installation created by ace architect, Arjun Rathi which stands out as a distinct work of art in this beautifully designed space.

Literally next door to The World Towers is Mumbai’s most popular entertainment hub! Our third stop on the walk was Riyaaz Amlani’s newest, revolutionary concept in the city’s entertainment arena – Flea Bazaar Café located at Kamala Mills. The way the Café has been conceptualised and designed is a classic example of how multifunctionality serves as a catalyst to create a wholesome, one-of-a-kind experience for anyone who visits this eclectic space. Flea Bazar is a casual and very friendly space designed to offer something for everyone. It is also busy throughout the day making it a great choice for lunch, coffee, dinner and even drinks. Currently home to 12 food pop ups, a bar, a wine shop, a paan stall, it promises a world of entertainment and food under one roof. 

A very interesting design concept used at Flea Bazaar Café are the tables set up in front of the stage. When the venue needs to make space for dancing or performances, the tables have a simple mechanism that pull them up to the ceiling! An ingenious, space-saving solution! The venue is designed in such a way that it creates a casual vibe, acting as the perfect hangout spot for large groups. It has taken the idea of the food court to the next level by creating something that we have never seen before in India!

Finally, we concluded our journey of versatile spaces in Lower Parel with lunch at one of the most popular restaurants at Kamala Mills – The Bombay Canteen. This place is not only popular for its food but also the vibe. Classical Indian dishes served with a modern twist in an old colonial style bungalow atmosphere provide for a nostalgic experience. It’s an airy space complete with high ceilings. A combination of Bharat Floorings’ Windmill and Bell Flower patterns from the Heritage collection adds to the old school charm of the space. This multifaceted space is filled with the buzz and bustle of large family groups in the day and enthusiastic party goers out for a good time in the evening. The diversity of the menu and the casual vibe of this all-day dining restaurant makes it a popular choice among residents of South Mumbai and beyond. 

The BFT walk attendees got the opportunity to chat with Sameer and Shilpa Balvally from Studio Osmosis as well as our Vice Chairman Firdaus Variava and understand design processes at both ends; i.e. how designers and brands work together to create homes that tell a story!

Follow us on our Instagram account for updates on upcoming events that you could be a part of - @bharatfloorings and Facebook page - @Bharatflooringsandtiles!

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