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Merging aesthetics and functionality – Rohan Haksar

RRH Design started out of Rohan Haksar’s interest in merging aesthetics and functionality. It is this philosophy which ensures that they innovate and design and that no two projects are even remotely the same. RRH Design, a boutique architectural studio, designs and executes projects that are tailor-made to the requisite of each client – an approach that allows the end-user to appreciate personalised design in a whole new light. RRH Designs is a successful union between a unique choice of materials and contemporary new-age technologies that constantly pushes the envelope of design.

rohan-profile_pictureRohan Haksar, Principal Architect at RRH Design, graduated from the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. He went on to complete a Master’s in Digital Sustainable Design from Pennsylvania State University.

During his time at Penn State, he worked closely with Autodesk to integrate BIM and Energy modelling. This work resulted in the creation of Vsari, a new software that is currently in the testing phase. He was also amongst the first few students chosen for the Autodesk IDEA Program Residency in San Francisco. He has authored numerous papers on digital sustainable design, which have been published at conferences across the world.

Rohan started RRH Design, a young design-oriented architectural firm with the purpose of bringing thought-provoking, intuitive design to the Indian market. The firm has completed several projects with short turnarounds in a multitude of fields, ranging from hospitality, retail, corporate interiors, residential buildings, and master planning. RRH Designs continually looks to expand and add to their varied portfolio.

The in-house team comprises of architects, interior designers, and 3D visualisers. Additionally, RRH Designs works with a number of contractors to ensure the highest quality and timely completion of sites across India.

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RRH shares with Gallopper a feature on Sweetish House Mafia, which is a chain of cookie stores, with a wide variety of cookies and desserts. The chain is currently located in multiple locations such as Lower Parel, Bandra and  Andheri, among others in Mumbai and this feature is a combined one of each of these stores, having areas of  300 sq. ft., 1400 sq. ft. and 700 sq.ft. respectively.

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The client was looking for quaint and cute vibe to the space which went with the evolution of the brand from a home kitchen to 5 outlets across Mumbai. RRH Design had to design a fun and welcoming environment and the client gave them complete creative freedom. They were open to different materials and a raw look for the space. They encouraged the designers to use elements which were different from the standard cookie cutter cafe designs. This led the team to develop each item for this purpose.

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Exposed brick with a whitewash, has been used extensively along with open piping painted to match the brand colours. The display counter is finished in Duco paint.  The seating counters have been made out of polished pinewood planks. The furniture is custom made and designed for each store. It is finished in an antique white paint.

The exterior is painted in the brands blue colour and an artist was appointed to paint the scenery at the Lower Parel and Bandra stores and the light brown wooden flooring complements the white walls and ceilings. All the locations have used retro switches to carry a unified theme across the stores.

At Bandra, a varnished red brick pathway has been used in the wooden flooring. The hanging lights were powder coated bright blue and the artist painted a modern interpretation of the brand on one of the walls.

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The antique finished furniture  included round tables with hand painted quotes on it. The benches and tables have been built using old doors finished in antique paint. The brick pathway continues to the exterior where an artificial turf surface has been installed. The bathroom has a basin counter built on a cycle and pinewood plank.

At the Andheri outlet the designers have used Glo WPC board in a lacquer finish to create rafters in the area. Artificial vines have been hung on these rafters with hanging lights dropping through them.

The Lower Parel site was an old garage. The entrance had to be changed and since it was a load bearing structure,  steel portal frames had to be created for the door and window. The old door was retained as a service entry to the kitchen.

Rohan Haksar recalls, “At Bandra, we were faced with a unique layout as we had 2 mezzanine levels in addition to the 900 sq. ft. main space. We had to maximize the space and used the lower mezzanine for a dry pantry and store.  The upper space was divided into a staff toilet and guest toilet and storage.”

 The Andheri store had a major leakage problem and the ceiling was hybrid of an RCC slab and steel sheet. We used an open ceiling with WPC rafters to hide the steel sheet ceiling. Artificial vines were hung on the rafters to conceal the AC and electrical pipes.

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The designer warmly reminisces “The first site was an unused garage which I had seen while doing another project in the same Mill compound. When the clients, who are close friends, came up with the idea of their first store, I instantly thought of this place. On hindsight, it seems like this was meant to be since the store fits in perfectly with the surrounding mill environment and even the random trees outside seem to be part of the of the overall look.”

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