The Courtyard is the space where culture and creative expression are given wings.
As a city that merges the contemporary with the traditional, Bengaluru is a hands down winner. And making this possible in its own way is an interactive space located in the midst of the city that is slowly but surely becoming a hub of crafts, arts, culture, food and more. Welcome to The Courtyard an urban oasis of culture, community and creativity located in Double Road in Shantinagar. Conceptualised and designed by Akhila Srinivas, a trained architect and urban designer along with the team from M9 design studio this is a contemporary urban space to nurture and influence the creative mind of artists, chefs, musicians, students and fitness enthusiasts.
An old Bangalore home that evokes not just a sense of rest and relaxation, but of history and learning, The Courtyard is designed in a way to work as a public space where one has the utmost freedom to creatively express rather than a closed private space. “The courtyard is a culture project in the heart of Bangalore city with an emphasis on rooting creative communities to the space. It is at the heart of which is a courtyard flanked by an old Bangalore bungalow overlooking a new insertion,” says Akhila.
The convenient location makes it a perfect place for a working lunch, casual but elegant dinner or lazy weekend all day dining. The essence of Bangalore with the touch of contemporary makes The Courtyard a catalyst to root culture and community. The old bungalow has been restored to house the office, two exhibition spaces and the first floor houses two living units that one can rent and stay in for both short and long stays. The rooftop of the new building has a 100 year old Gulmohar tree canopy sweeping in and makes for an ideal space for private events and parties.
The classic south-Indian architecture and vernacular styles create an old-world charm. The green courtyard in the very center of the space embodies the openness and a breathing space in the middle of one of the city’s main arterial roads. The rooftop with its incredibly evocative green canopy, tucked away as it is, the rooftop is perfect for deeply involved conversation and a shaded outdoor space. The Studio on the first floor is the newest part of The Courtyard. With an open, flexible plan, movable stage area and seating, laminated wood flooring and provides a blackout space for activities that bring communities together. The Courtyard also houses a conveniently located bistro and wine bar that offers excellent food with a comfortable yet elegant atmosphere where one could dine, meet friends or have a drink after work. “The new structure is basically a MS building with corrugated metal sheet for walls. The studio space also has a large curtain element. It works as a light and sound filter for our formal studio area,” says Akhila. The flooring is IPS flooring and the formal studio space has wooden flooring for performances, workshops, talks, screenings etc. All lighting is exposed LED bulbs and some bamboo lamp shades which have been re-used from the previous space.
Being an old building that was being refurbished, structural integrity was of paramount importance when it was being renovated. “It is almost a 80 year old bubble with 18” walls with lime plaster. Though strong in its construction, fragility does creep in. We also made a conscious effort to not really re-do much but just restore to its original condition. The approach was to keep it true to its anatomy of simplicity and not dramatise just to achieve a certain look or feel,” says Akhila. The bistro space is furnished with restored old furniture and lamp shades. The finish is of black metal against teal wood furniture and lots of green.
The studio space is again a combination of black painted MS structure and a skin of polycarbonate sheet with black Aluminium frames and a large expansive black curtain to control sound and light. The flooring in the studio is that of light wood. The courtyard space is an open area with lots of green and some very old trees. “We have used repurposed turf for this area to make it child friendly and generally comfortable to just sit on it or just roll about if you chose to. It is also far easier to maintain and ecologically a better option than having a heavy maintenance and water guzzler lawn, especially since the turf is a refurbished piece,” says Akhila. The colour scheme is stark and neutral at the same time. For the space to become a backdrop for all the happenings and change its vibe according to the art being displayed or performed there is a black scheme with good doses of teak wood, translucent polycarbonate sheets and lots of sunlight and greenery.
Address: The Courtyard, 105, KH Road (Lalbagh Double Rd) Opp. Corporation Bank, Shanti Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560027. Phone: 7338677996
This story first appeared in Spunky Indian June 2019 issue here: