Of good food and fabulous design at Beyond Designs
|Beautiful space about at the Beyond Designs studio. Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
During my eight-year stint at Hi Blitz magazine, I always enjoyed visiting people’s homes. I’m speaking of times when ‘armchair journalism’ was yet to be and most often than not, I preferred meeting people (on whom I was writing) in their home. Unless, they preferred their workspace. While we chatted, I absorbed the surroundings. The décor, the art, the colours and the way things were laid out. I observed the owner’s interaction with his nest, which I believe becomes almost an animate object over the years. Those vignettes peppered my writing. I like it that way.
|Image by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
Nothing has changed, except that I am my own boss. The modus operandi continues to be a one-on-one interaction in homes, especially when it comes to bringing out a side of a personality that is only obvious when he is in his private space. A home, I believe, mirrors the persona of the owners in an inimitable way. It sheds light on hobbies, passions and the creative eye. It narrates stories and tells of memories.
|Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
Over the years, I have honed my eye to distinguish between rich homes and homes that are rich. The former, at the risk of being blasé, is a space that is filled with opulence (read expensive furniture and accessories) but lacks the finesse of thoughtful design and artistic curation. The latter is a delight to the senses. When there is a confluence of exquisite design, a discerning selection of art and an eclectic choice of accessories, it immediately becomes a talking point. The love for travel, the knack for indigenous art, the taste for elegant colours, the quirk of pop tints, everything makes a space a joy to be in. It also become such a global and luxurious home. Place it in any city on the planet, it fits in without a glitch and is its owner’s pride.
|Interesting murals and installations. Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
Something about Beyond Designs, the new 8,000 sq ft design and lifestyle studio at Sultanpur in the Capital, reminded me of that kind of a setting. Where Indian ethnicity is toasted in global tones. Where the design idiom is luxury, opulence, but with classical elegance and timeless beauty. Frankly, the way a design studio is dressed is also symptomatic of the home the label is looking at creating. In that, Sachin and Neha Gupta’s baby is on point. Beyond Designs is all about exquisite homes and projects with bespoke furniture and unique art, curated with a keen eye for heterogenous beauty. Instances of a living area, a dining area, a bedroom, a bar, a lounge give the clients a view of the world that Beyond Designs seeks to render. The ambient lighting sets the mood immaculately. The foyer with inlay work will fit in cosily in the large homes that Delhi loves. But these are not what I liked most.
|Neha and Sachin Gupta. Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
I was bowled by the curation (everything is made in house), the lush furniture, the attractive accessories and installations, the artistic busts and statues, the glass chandeliers and the old-world charm that the Guptas have infused in the space with custom-made bric-a-brac with antique-finish. The lavish chandeliers and lights reminiscent of the havelis of Lucknow and Varanasi. This is old India, presented in a contemporary vein. The art is distinctive because they have been collated not keeping in mind the names and tags but the aura they create. The colours are coordinated to blend in as well as strike an exciting contrast.
|Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
The Gupta’s design vocabulary, honed by 18 years of design expertise (credited with doing up a large number of city homes in India and abroad) and globetrotting, is the best of all worlds. Without being overtly contemporary, the ideology is eclectic ethnic, fusing the Indian, the Oriental and the East European.
|Cafe We at Beyond Designs, a brainchild of Varun Gupta. Pic by Atul Pratap Chauhan|
That the studio is doing things differently is evident from Café We, a diner in the studio itself. This, I believe, is a concept that is popular now. A design space with a built-in café. It works well because after a round of intense retail therapy and research, who wouldn’t want to grab a bite and a cuppa. We’ve had Nico Caara at Chanakya, the Good Earth Café in Khan market, Café Dori in Chattarpur and now this spacious Café We at Beyond Designs. The interiors are classically minimalist, with hints of colour in bits and sparks. There is a main dining area towards the end as well. It is a wholesome concept, which when totally in function, promises to be an enticing proposition for walk-ins.
Varun, like Sachin, is pretty hands-on with the operation. And they walk around with a smile all the time. While there was a continuous offering of canapes like chilli cheese tartlets, chicken satay, peri peri chicken pops and brownie bites, I found the fusion fare small eats from the café menu well-rounded. Especially the salads. And the portions. I had a cocktail made of orange juice and mint that was sweet and tangy, with a brush of freshness.
The basil pesto chicken pasta was one of the best pesto-based pastas I have had. Yes, the seasoning was just right. It had a rich creamy texture without being too clammy.
The salads are the high points of this 52-seater eatery. We tried the Thai-Tanic salad. While the soya ginger chicken version was decent, the fish chilli garlic variant was really good. The fish was perfectly spiced and went wonderfully with the crunchy greens. The Pro-Fit-Loss salad is a bed of greens with chargrilled chicken with a citrus balsamic dressing.
The Pink Detox was watermelon chunks dusted with creole spices, accompanied by cucumber cubes rolled in basil, mint and feta dressing. The talk of the table was however the Pitapan salad, inspired by the fattoush salad. It came with a generous helping of pita bread stuffed with chicken and hummus.
We also ordered a grilled prawns platter and prawns in lemon garlic butter. While the first one arrived with a serving of buttered rice, fried potato wedges and grilled veggies, the second one appeared rested on toasted garlic bread.
For desserts, it was Vanilla Crème Pie and a Carrot Date Cake. I’m not too fond of cheese cakes because they appear soft and squishy from outside but are hard. I really liked the carrot date cake though. It was warm and fresh and tasted divine with the toffee caramel sauce.
I’d highly recommend this place to those who like witnessing beauty and art with an edge of fabulous design. Design that is extravagant yet classy, showcasing the amalgamation of rich cultures and heritage. Beyond Designs is a perfect hub for that kind of redolence. Do go. And don’t forget to indulge your taste buds at Café We.
For more visit www.beyonddesigns.in