Wednesday 26 August 2015

A day at the Above Ground Levell Lounge.....

Okay, so that was a long long... long break. I know that some of my readers (mostly my beloved students) were very unhappy and kept asking me when I would start blogging again. Many of them were truly concerned if I would ever come back. But thanks to your constant support and interest, I am back in form and onto what I love doing the most, BLOGGING!!!!. I promise to write more and more interesting articles. 

“Thus began a break of undetermined length and meaning.” Jacob Slichter.
This is so true and in my case, the hiatus has been a long one. I was constantly looking for some motivation to get back to blogging again, but was always held back for one reason or the other until when a well wisher in disguise called me for a review of the above ground levell lounge in the Kempegowda International Airport Limited, Bangalore. 

I was super excited and instantly knew that this is going to be my come-back article. So, here it is....

The above ground levell lounge is an Indian Conglomerate of the Bird Group which is not only into Hospitality but also into High-end retail. Their concept of the Lounge caters to "Athithi Devo Bhava" meaning "The guest is equivalent to God". The idea of being Indian starts from here. Today, I will concentrate more on analysing the architecture, design and style aspects of the lounge.

Let's start from the logo. The name "above ground levell" signifies the feeling of lightness in the body when taken off the ground. The logo contains 3 elements namely; the circle which stands for wholeness, the bird which is the primary logo of the parent company and lastly the leaves which form the background of the logo representing the culinary herbs used in cooking.
  Moving on to the walls and surface finishes;
As I walked into the lounge, the first thing that caught my attention were the motifs of Hampi recreated on the walls and desks. The interesting feature is that one can easily overdo these motifs. But here, I noticed that the team has kept the contemporary and international ambience in mind and effortlessly blended the local elements into the design.

I sensed the pride in the spokesperson's voice when she said that "Ours is an Eco friendly Lounge". Having traveled locally and internationally, how often does one come across a totally eco friendly lounge. Greenery all around, natural plants with water recycled and treated, LEDs for accent lighting, Skylights for  ambient lighting and many more....
The carved relief work (motifs) is beautifully inset into the modern glossy black desk. The accent lighting is very beautiful and one can't get enough of it. I am not sure of the material used to create this work.
All through the lounge, you get to see canopies like the one below. The design inspiration for canopies are the trees and the branches. Although white is the prominent colour, one can see the use of earthy tones in mud red, rusty brown, sandy beige as background colours. Accents are with yellows, oranges and teals.
The carved relief work depicts the story of Ramayana. Do notice the shape of the seating. It definitely reminds me of a "royal asana" or a royal chair giving one the feel of a palace.
As you see here, the columns with downlighters are a classic element of the design and are featured throughout the lounge. The columns here are more a decorative element and not a part of the structure. These columns are engaged  to form part of a wall.
 The lounges are also equipped with magnificent bar and re-charging stations for laptops, mobiles, iPads & gaming consoles at most seating point.

Another beautifully imbibed south indian element is the "Rangoli". Traditionally, rangoli is a folk art where patterns are created on the floor at the entrance of the foyer, living room and court yards. This is done as a ritual to welcome the deities. So going back to where I began, Athithi devo bhava or welcoming the guests. The floor is carpeted with motifs of rangoli. The colour of the carpet in the domestic lounge is red signifying the extensive use of vermillon (kunkum) in our festivities.

The domestic lounge features three separate dining experiences. Guests have a choice of specific cuisines for each meal and do not have to be content with a set menu for the whole day. To cater to the needs of the travellers on the go, take away meal concept is also in function.The presence of a glass fa├žade to the kitchen gives the guests a sense of confidence and comfort about the way their food is being cooked.
What excited me the most was their induction based cooking concept. So every thing from coffee to pasta to chaats to omlettes/rotis are cooked on Induction. Filter coffee and Masala tea is a part of their menu too.
What you see below is the International Lounge. Although the design elements are pretty much the same, there is a lot of sophistication in creating a very cosy ambience for the guests.
The mood is very subtle with a warm accent lighting. The carpet is a turmeric (Haldi) yellow colour with another rangoli pattern which is very welcoming.
The Jaali or Lattice is seen in both the lounges. It not only serves as a decorative element featuring the natural fern leaf motifs, but also acts as a source of bringing in the natural light during the day. Of course, the mellowed warm lighting in yellow makes it more comforting to the eyes.

Before I forget, I have to mention about this twinkling star-light ceiling feature. It is very soothing and relaxing for the guests before they take off.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Thanks to the team of above ground levell lounge for providing all the answers to my questions and inviting me to be a part of the review program. A special thanks to the PR team as well for contacting cherishing spaces and for the wonderful lunch.