Dinner in the Round
Bethan Ryder -- Interior Design, 6/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
At first glance, Blue Frog resembles a glowing moonscape riddled with craters. On closer inspection, the perfectly formed holes reveal themselves to be mahogany-lined dining booths. And the entire Stanley Kubrick–futuristic supper club turns out to be not in New York or Tokyo but in Bombay. The combined restaurant, lounge, and performance space is by Serie, an award-winning practice with principals Chris Lee and Kapil Gupta operating from London and Bombay, respectively. Serie is swiftly gaining a reputation for a progressive typological approach, and Blue Frog was a $2 million test of that thinking.
"How do you collapse a theater into a restaurant whilst maintaining the characteristics of each?" Lee and Gupta asked themselves. Their resolution combines two very different building types. You can see the circles of tables, typical of a restaurant floor plan, as well as a theater configuration, a tiered horseshoe around an open space—but it's standing room only, rather than orchestra seating. Diners still have uninterrupted views of the stage, because the booths are raised. Undulating between them is the up-lit acrylic resin surface that gives Blue Frog its distinct identity.
"It's so difficult to be experimental in the U.K.," Lee comments. Three of Serie's largest commissions right now are, in fact, in India. "Here and in China," Gupta adds, "there's more of a culture of risk and trying to make a mark." Showtime.