Spice Route

An eclectic fusion of contemporary design with a funky ethnic twist makes Indego, at Grosvenor House, Dubai the most stylish Indian restaurant in town, courtesy of LW Design Group.

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By  Monika Grzesik Published  July 7, 2006

|~|Indego-body-1.gif|~||~|Conceived by designer Pia Sen of LW Design Group, the interior of Indego was created to reflect the style of dining. “The hotel wanted something modern with elements of Indian design. They didn’t want the traditional style of of ordering and sharing lots of dishes. So we have typical Indian food but the presentation is more refined,” says Sen. She aimed to create a fusion of Western and Eastern styles, mirroring the combination of a European style fine dining concept with Indian cuisine.

Sen was inspired by the contemporary style Red Fort Restaurant in London. “I also visited Agra in India. The Red Fort there is a building made of stone which is where I got the idea to do all the walls of the restaurant in stone and create a round entrance which is made to feel like you are entering into a fort.”

Dark timber has been used for the flooring, however this typically Indian material has been given a modern edge. “Normally Indian timber has a slightly weathered look but we wanted a very contemporary look without an overly ethnic feel — it had to look modern and new. A lot of the design is an interpretation of using materials you find in India and modernising them,” says Sen.
While most of the furnishings come from Europe, the main Indian influences in the design lie in the use of accessories. Indian company Touchwood executed the fit out of the restaurant and was able to source many authentic pieces to provide an Eastern touch.

Sen designed a stunning piece of artwork for one of the walls using intricately detailed Punjabi shoes. Large golden statues of Indian dancing god Nataraja are placed around the restaurant while big timber horses on pedestals adorn the balcony. The carved wooden fretwork was made locally by Touchwood while Dubai-based company, Marina, provided the Indian style door. The pillows in the entrance lobby are sourced from Melange in Dubai, which specialises in bringing accessories and jewellery from India. Made from 100% Indian silk, the delicate beading provides added texture.

Coloured lanterns, based on a traditional Indian design, were created especially by Italian company Habitalia. “I find that a restaurant is much more interesting when it has low light levels and a lot of candles, which is also reflective of Indian design which incorporates a lot of incense and candles,” says Sen.
The colour scheme is less vibrant than many traditional Indian interiors. Sen explains: “I wanted it to be a refined and sophisticated restaurant, so I didn’t go for the really bright colours you sometimes find in Indian design but used traditional reds and purples. These colours also appear on the Punjabi shoes that I have featured so it came about as a marriage of ideas that I had.”

“Contemporary Indian style is gaining popularity. I have designed another restaurant in the Madinat called Ushna, following the same principle of a funky, modern interior and I’m creating a similar one in Abu Dhabi, so the trend appears to be for fusing modern design with ethnic style. I think these interiors are aiming to cater more for European clientele. It’s a lot more modern Asian, modern Indian — the trend is moving towards the contemporary,” says Sen. ||**||

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