Renovating the iconic bar at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club took architect Pooja Bihani back to its 200-year-old planning and open up the space to the stunning golf greens
India was the first country outside of Great Britain to adopt golf as a sport. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) was the first golf club to be founded in India in 1829. Affectionately known as the ‘Royal’, it is synonymous with golfing in the country and is also the oldest golf club outside the British Isles. Over the years, Royal has managed to maintain its essential character of a golf club. Substantial effort has been put in over the last decade to enhance the course, both on the design and beautification fronts. Now, Royal is considered to be one of the finest golf courses not only in India but also in Asia.
The vintage yet modern bar where golfers enjoy their time after a game of 18 holes is aptly called Bar at 19th. The space opens up physically and visually to the wonderful golf greens and the blue sky. Earlier it was in an enclosed area that was aloof from the beautiful view outside, but now the materials and techniques used in its design make it unique and fun, yet elegant—an iconic bar for golfers not only in Kolkata, but also in the country.
The bar extends into a beautiful curve that opens it up to the golf greens through its heritage arches. Although the curve is asymmetrical, focus and axis from there make everything else fall in place. The tables, lounge sofas as well as the ceiling have all been given a certain definition. The interior architecture was designed and modulated in a manner that this curve now looks symmetrical and anchored as if it was meant to be. The key to this was opening up and restoring the five arches back to the 200-year-old
planning of the heritage building. Bringing back the arch proportions helped in the aesthetics; they now open up to the outside and can be converted into an outdoor deck to form a great ambience in winters.
The 200-year-old heritage building had lost its identity to time, most likely due to the many different renovations and changes it underwent over the years. The five wonderful arches were covered up with Aircon and had no view to the greens. These arches have now been restored to their original glory and their proportions have been enhanced in the interior by false keystones. All the furniture and accessories for this space have been custom-made by the team at Spaces & Design or by local dealers. The unique blue shade, which was coincidentally the Pantone shade of the year
2020, brings about the green that golfers identify their passion with. All the elements in the interiors anchor the blue of the walls.
“Everything about golf was an inspiration, including the right swing to a golfer, the golf clubs and the visual treat of golf greens with the blue sky. Restoring the building itself was a huge responsibility and an inspiration. Identifying the right proportion of the arches was a great experience and journey rather than a challenge,” says Pooja Bihani, Founder and Principal Architect, Spaces & Design.
Photo credit: Vivek Das
Project: Bar at 19, Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC)
Architects: Pooja Bihani; Spaces & Design, Kolkata
Pooja Bihani, Founder and Principal Architect, Spaces & Design
Pooja Bihani is an established and a well-known Architect and Interior Designer in Kolkata, West Bengal. She recognised her passion for the field at an early age and pursued the same as she grew up. She laid the foundation for Spaces & Design in 2006. The design mantra at Spaces & Design is to “Constantly Innovate”. Another law that guides all its undertakings is the perception of Interior Architecture not just Interior Design. This helps in designing spaces “Inside-out” integrating architecture into interiors and vice versa.