The newly-opened Taj Santacruz designed by Ar. Jeffrey Wilkes is a symphony of Indian nostalgia and opulence
Taj opens its new luxury hotel in the busy suburbs of Santacruz, adjoining the domestic airport. The hotel is a sanctuary for business and leisure travellers alike. Given that Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity, food and fashion, the hotel’s design imbibes the spirit in every facet.
Malaysian-based DesignWilkes executed the design of the hotel. The team headed by Ar. Jeffrey A. Wilkes, Principal Architect and Noor Azhar Mahmud, Senior Designer implemented a design that combines the mix of palatial and art deco, both of which are recurrent themes in Mumbai’s architecture.
Wilkes is deeply influenced by the jaali patterns (fretted screens) and draws inspiration from the Victorian, Art Deco or late 50’s design sensibilities from an old Mumbai block. “In our experience, we’ve found layering pattern to be a strong element in Indian design. We’ve created a palette and selected a single colour from it as a dominant feature in each of the spaces; this not only captures the essence and energy of each space, but distinguishes one space from another. So, red takes centre stage in the Lobby and Ballroom area while for the restaurants it is yellow for Golden Dragon, green for Rivea and orange in Tiqri,” explains Ar. Wilkes.
Space and Art
Colours and patterns are in constant play throughout the hotel. As you enter the porte cochère, a patterned ceiling invites you in. While the entrance is flanked by ruby red back-painted glass panels with etched patterns, a large aquarium tank rests as the focal point of the lobby. Overhead, crystal and glass chandeliers depicting glaciers lend sparkle and shimmer to space, while the walls offer a soothing contrast with its champagne leaf wallcovering.
The lobby houses an interesting collection of contemporary ruby red sofas, traditional silver chairs and bone inlay consoles and mashaals depicting the majestic palaces of India. A geometric ruby and wine hand-tufted carpet complements the floor, complemented by a beautiful rose tinged Michelangelo marble ceiling. The front concierge and reception desks are carved from white Indian Makarana stone in Udaipur. An incredible collection of artwork, including paintings by artist Paresh Maity adorns the walls.
The guest rooms have been infused with Mumbai’s spirit of inclusiveness and diversity. There are Runway Rooms with double glazed windows with cutting-sensors that provide a panoramic view of the runway. These rooms face the runway at the airport and have been designed to offer absolute soundproofing and security. Then there are the Tranquility Rooms, which have been designed to offer the occupant the comfort of absolute silence by using the invisible housekeeping technique and thick carpeted flooring, making it ideal for cabin crew as well as jet-lagged guests.
The Imperial Room is a confluence of space maximisation and functionality. This is the second largest room in the hotel after the Ballroom, which is built adjacent to it and features a ruby red design theme. While it is primarily a business utility room, it is not devoid of the Taj Santacruz’ signature artistic touch and has beautiful ruby red chandeliers adorning its ceilings.
Rivea, the Mediterranean restaurant off the lobby, unfolds in a flurry of silver, chrome, and grey tones. Green malachite stone is used for the kitchen and communal table while silver tikri mirror inlays clad the side wall. The theme and grey-green colour scheme is inspired from the olive tree.
At CHINA Inc, the sister restaurant to the Golden Dragon at the Taj Mahal, the lounge area is decorated with an Imperial collection of Beijing glass and fine ceramics. A dragon flies overhead in a swirl of glass and crystal against a wall papered in egg yolk yellow coloured fabric.
At Tiqri, an all-day restaurant and bar, a spectacular wall panel showcases an impressive six story high tikri mirrored panel display ‘Tree of Life.’ Executed in gold, champagne and silver colours, the shape is inspired by the flame of a forest tree. The vibrant upholstery depicts bright orange blossoms that have scattered on the forest floor and is a continuity of the leather and jaali patterned fabrics. Divided into two sections, the higher end of the atrium holds the bar and the lounge while the far end of the floor has the restaurant. Geometric patterns are repeated in the floor, glazed panels and skylight. A cobalt and aqua blue underlit floor of the bar provides a cool relief to the warm décor.
The design of Taj Santacruz, like the city of Mumbai, is immersed in diversity, exclusivity and individualism that would leave patrons awe-inspired at every single step.