The Lair, New Delhi by Studio Renesa is the consequence of a dialogue between a speakeasy and design; The result is a game of mimetism with the material, playing hide-and-seek with the constraints of the place.
The latest project of the architects showcases a new typology and twist to the existing definition of a speakeasy in an oriental design setup. Walking in on a non-visible arch but not an invisible one, hidden, through a dramatically lit glass brick and mirror curtain, a den, a dualist dream, a cave. This clandestine nature was the starting point of the project, how to realize a cocktail bar, a modern speakeasy, with intimacy and unadulterated textures.
As one first ventures through the glass brick entry, the first impression is that of a mirage created by a reflective mirror staircase with pendant lights hanging at different lengths. Right ahead is a black curtain, which separates the world of hidden encounters from the diner area upstairs. Behind the curtain, the ‘cocktail cave’ is much more industrial meets underground in appearance. The first ‘lair’ ‘of the concept is the divide between the two raw materials; grey and black concrete that visually consolidates the space.
The trapezoidal space divides the infusion bar to the cocktail bar which in turn features foldable tables and bar stools to free up the space as the night progresses. The infusion bar enjoys a more mellow vibe with comfortable seating and intimacy. The striking aspects of this floor are the curved seating area shelled out of the existing structure and the glass brick smoking room that provides silhouetted and tainted views of the cocktail bar.
Adopting a theme of twists in terms of monotones and contexts, the second ‘lair’ added character and intrigue by carefully chosen fluted glass and slip openings in the wall defining the sushi and sake bar on the second floor. As one floats up the spiral staircase, in awe of the materiality, the sushi bar is a live station with high seating overlooking the double height space. The adjacent side features the formal dining area which has a more subtle yet dimly lit vibe for close gatherings.
The third and final ‘lair’ serves as the clandestine entry, opposite the kitchen and storage, a visitor finds himself in front of a private dining concealed within the wall, put forward as an undisclosed hideaway. The disguised façade is created through the fictional narrative as to transport visitors away from their normal, everyday lives and involve them in the company of good friends and well-crafted cocktails for a few hours.
In conclusion, the project is an antithesis: Made out of glass blocks, silver sheets and wood, invades the space to unfold, deploy, and flip itself on the walls, the floor and the ceiling giving rise to a cocktail bar. Arranged in a rectangular array of fluted panels, in line with the black arcade, merging into the next space diagonally– the design with conical lights and plants suggests a sanctuary, an escape: Lair.
All photographs: Niveditaa Gupta
Text: Provided by the Architects
Project: The Black Concrete, New Delhi
Architects: Renesa Architecture Design Interiors Studio
Clients: Dhruv Raj Vij , Jairaj Singh Solanki , Lair, New Delhi
Design Team: Sanjay Arora (Founder Principal Architect); Sanchit Arora (Principal Architect, Concept Design Head); Vandana Arora (Interior Designer, Decor Head); Virender Singh (Studio Technical Head); Anushka Arora (Architect, Text); Jagdish Bangari (Architect, Graphics); Akarsh Varma (Architect), Aayush Misra (Architect); Tarun Tyagi (Architect)
Built-up Area: 3600sq ft
Contractor: Mr. Mangat
Lighting: Siddharth Arora (White Lighting Solutions), IndiHaus Lighting (Nikita Jain)
Branding: Kavya Bagga