“Ingenuity is a gift, and often, it is the most talented, intelligent and artistic minds that have the ability to observe, imbibe and react to circumstances to create something that is out-of-the-box. Most of the time, these discoveries or creations are a result of weird interventions, random conversations or chance encounters.” reflects Architect Harsh Boghani in an introspective note.
The founder member of The Crossboundaries in coherence with Ar. Shailesh Boghani, Ar.Harsh Boghani pursued his B.Arch from SVIT, India with a gold medal and further procured M.Arch from Institute of Advance Architecture of Catalonia Barcelona, Spain (IAAC). Before commencing his practice, Harsh’s stints with MAD Architects (Beijing, China), RSP Architects (Dubai), ARUP (Singapore), NU.DE ( Mumbai) and Vadodara helped him to gather the synergies of aesthetics, design, ideologies and culture. His diverse global exposure and vision reflects in his work which is a blend of modern aesthetics imbibed from cultural diversities.
The Crossboundaries are a Vadodara based multidisciplinary firm, an offspring of a highly reputed design studio by Architect Shailesh Boghani , crafting its presence since last 30 years. Their practice since its inception , has attempted to synthesize the three rudimentary essentials of architecture including design, aesthetics and environment into existence.
Here the Architect shares with Gallopper their project, Freshco, The health cafe, located in Vadodra. In the design team were Priyank Mistry, Vijay Dhabi, Sanket prajapati, Urvi Velani, Harsh Boghani and Shailesh Boghani.
The inception of Freshco – The Health Cafe, was the result of an off-hand conversation between Harish and his childhood friends. He reminisces “It is not uncommon to hear of friends cooking up plans of starting a venture together on the fly; over time though, the initial excitement usually fizzles out. Here too, nothing took root until a vacation to Mount Abu a few years later where their laid-back chat finally turned into a concrete business plan.” The four decided that a cafe, unique to their city Vadodara, would be the ideal project to set the ball rolling.
Due to his comfort with his “clients”, Harsh took to their dream instantly and was part of the entire project from concept to completion. Once the 780-sq. ft. space was rented out, Boghani began visualizing a palette in greens and vibrant colors reminiscent of varied juices.
A limited budget urged the designer to experiment with innumerable materials and design elements. He conceptualized a space that was free-flowing, lively and modern. “The main idea of the design was to ensure that the atmosphere harmonizes with the organic food that is offered in the cafe,” he says.
To that end, there is an abundance of indoor greenery in the cafe. Artificial grass cut-outs have been placed in niches on a 13-foot-long cantilevered L-shaped table to the left of the entrance as well as on the 5-foot-long table on the right. Creepers hang from elongated boxes along the cafe walls, while mini plants find themselves perched on the dining tables. While the greenery adds a sense of vitality to the space, a multi-colored wall, boxes with polystyrene disposable cups and colorful pendant lights brighten up the minimalist atmosphere. Each of these elements have been customized to suit the overall mood.
Initially, the plan was to splash a panel on the feature wall with fruit juices to create art. After a few failed attempts, Harsh decided to create a digitally printed splash wall with colors of grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries instead.
Again, despite a lot of scouting, the architect was unable to find lighting fixtures that suited the budget. So he decided to improvise. He created an innovative pendant out of a large fish bowl into which he inserted six miniature ones that he had painted and filled with ping-pong balls. Again, owing to the limited budget, the wall opposite the feature wall was kept barren till the end.
Once again the architect’s creativity elevated an otherwise mundane surface — transparent acrylic boxes were filled with white polystyrene disposable cups. The glow from the back-lit LED lights penetrates through the spaces between the glasses to stunning effect.
Whether it’s the grey wall that traces the cafe’s journey from inception, the black service counter with a tiny button light illuminating the Freshco logo or the bright blue washbasin, each element in the cafe has been created with great thought and in the process, lends a sublime yet purposeful character to the space.
The ambiance at the cafe is encouraging enough to get patrons to easily get used to sipping on fresh juice and watching the world go by while being perched on the high telescopic-legged black stools at one of the longer tables.