A Class Apart

Ar. Behzad Kharas designs a sophisticated Chesterfield inspired Finishing School for ‘The English Manner’ at Hyatt Mumbai.

behzad kharas

When a finishing academy prepares men and women to be more sophisticated, in-tune with global manners and to turn into ladies and gentlemen, then it is only important that the place be designed with certain flair and panache. When the Indian Knowledge Hub introduced an English-run ‘The English Manner’ Finishing School in Mumbai, they recruited the help of The BNK Group to create a classic, English-inspired training space that will sport characteristic Chesterfield walls and classy beige tones for the interiors. The institute was situated in the basement of the Hyatt Hotel. Spread over 4000 sq. ft., the finishing academy comprises three classrooms, two director’s cabins and counselling rooms. Since it was part of the existing infrastructure, the design team had to be extremely careful as to not alter the existing facilities such as the ventilation, firefighting systems, plumbing etc.

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Neutral spaces

Behzad Kharas, Director, The BNK Group, was to create a clean, sophisticated space with a hint of modernism, as asked for by the owners. “Since the corporate colours are red and blue, we had to be smart about infusing the shades in upholstery and furnishing,” said Kharas. The colour palette was subtle, primarily white and beige, with hints of blue and red resurfacing on the rugs, chaise lounge and classroom chairs. A long corridor is created to approach the site. Since the site in at the basement, the drywall partition dividing the car parking from the academy was fortified with a brick wall. The area holds a small breakout space for people to unwind and relax. There is a parking staircase for the valet boys.

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Elegant lighting

In the corridor, the designers have introduced few elements like unhindered lighting to bring drama into the space while they walk in. As one enters the reception area, one can notice the English window panes separating the corridor and a dramatic ceiling. The reception desk is classic-cut, backlit with layers of alabaster. As the ceiling height was low, creating a fine ambience with suitable luxe levels was a challenge. Kharas created interesting diamond shaped patterns in the ceiling; certain parts were embossed with gypsum while some parts were backlit creating a dramatic effect on the ceiling.

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Delightful taste

The lobby area displays a Chesterfield sofa with a similar Chesterfield inspired leatherite wall, bevelled glass wall and displays the founder’s bust. One of the Director’s cabin sports a fusion design with mock curtains, Chesterfield chairs and classic chairs while the other cabin displays a classical look. The classroom features leather panelling on walls for sound insulation, mood lighting that dims during presentations. The chairs are customised to look plush with blue upholstery and turntable for the trainees. The back wall is kept empty for branding of the academy’s collaterals they intend to add on.

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The finishing school surely exudes an air of class and sophistication with its beige overtones, glass panelling and other English décor elements.

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