Tote On The Turf has been named as having the Best Bar Design in the world, at a global awards ceremony.
The bar, owned by Rahul and Malini Akerkar, also won in the Best International Bar category, at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, held in London recently.
A panel of international lifestyle and design journalists judge entries from restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes from across the world, based on their designs, at the independent awards, which are in their second year.
Tote on the Turf opened inside the former Tote Building, a building in a heritage area of Mahalaxmi Racecourse, in September last year.
While the huge white building is split into a restaurant, banquet hall, lounge bar and bar, it was the bar, which has a panelled, 40 feet vaulted interior and mezzanine lounge seating area, that beat hundreds of entries from across the world to win.
Designer Kapil Gupta, a partner at Serie Architects, who also co-designed the Blue Frog, says: “When we walked onto the site five years ago, the first thing that struck us was the trees. We wanted to extend that experience of being under the trees to our design, so the entire panelling of the bar is a motif for intersecting trees, as well as providing the acoustics. The idea was to create a very warm, immersive feel.
“Design is very important in a bar because going to a bar is a multi-sensory experience. It’s not just about the food,” he adds.
But Gupta does not see the award as a signal that Mumbai is finally on the world design map.
“I don’t think Mumbai is emerging as an international design centre. London, Tokyo and New York are way ahead of us. Most bars in Mumbai have commercial, global mainstream designs.
“What makes Tote unique is that it responds to the specificity of Mumbai and the site, a beautiful green lung in the heart of the city. You could not lift this bar up and place it in another part of the world. I would like to see more designs like this in Mumbai that would raise the level of designs here.”
The Best Restaurant Design went to Galvin La Chapelle, London.