With the sea view as its hero, Carter Road Social is another blockbuster from Impresario

By Maria Louis

Sitting by the rocks with friends, talking about love, life and the mysteries of the universe while the careless whispers of the wind are punctuated by the crashing of the waves. “Carter Road means so much to so many people, and it’s one of the best public spaces we have!” Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and MD of Impresario Handmade Restaurants (parent company of Social) couldn’t have said it better. Most of Mumbai’s bar flies would have strolled down this promenade in Bandra, shooting the breeze or jogging along its pavement. So, when Impresario took over the iconic location from Masala Bar for Social #20 (#10 in Mumbai), it was only fitting that they decided to celebrate all that is wonderful about Carter Road.
“The first impression we got of this place was a total contrast to what you see now. It was covered and dimly lit,” recalls Swapna Nair, chief project manager, Impresario Handmade Restaurants. “The hero of this place is the view, so we worked around the concept of making the whole place one with its natural surroundings and embodying it. This is one of the few places in the city that can boast about its view. I designed this outlet with the intention of breathing sun, sand and sea into every nook and cranny of its space.”
Complemented by summery pastel shades of baby pink and variants of refreshing green, and flanked by embroidered cane-like chairs alongside comfortable lounge seating, it’s the perfect representation of summer (without the heat!), all within strolling distance from the Arabian Sea. The walls, patterned with tropical motifs, also sport some great artwork by Manipuri artist Sony Thokchom complementing the theme.
With plants dotting the floor (and ceiling!) and palm trees just a breath away, this floral masterpiece is like a summer escape. “The undeniable pièce de résistance here is the breathtaking view of the setting sun from the sweeping glass windows, accompanied by majestic views of the entire promenade, laid out against the crashing waves and the hustle and bustle of life on Carter Road. So, the idea was to keep it minimal and design a seamless space which does not differentiate the outside from the inside,” explains Nair.
As the space is not too large and Impresario wanted to retain most of the original structure (in keeping with their sustainable design ethos), they didn’t play around with the existing layout – but kept the basic plan intact. Divided into three sections, the place is planned in a way that you can see the sea from wherever you are. An ‘outdoor’ area has been added, where the windows can be opened when the weather permits. Sticking to Social’s brand ideology of Minimum Intervention and Maximum Upcycle, they retained most of the material (including the bar) and modified it to suit their requirements and design aesthetic.
The colour palette, predominantly green and pink, is meant to lift up the spirits of the guests. Art is an integral part of the design, included in the form of paintings, neon lights, hand-painted walls and even plants used as art (framed succulents). The windows have clear glass for maximum light and a clear view. “Riyaaz was sure about what he wanted from the place, so it wasn’t difficult to get it right,” states Nair, who, when asked about the challenges of designing, replies that projects are always full of challenges. “It’s a part and parcel of the game. The final outcome was exactly what we wanted, and we had great fun putting it together. But there is always room for improvement, and we will keep modifying it.”
The energy at Carter Road Social is palpable, and that has a lot to do with the brand and its creator, who are known for challenging norms. With this new outlet, they have renewed their commitment to “developing a hotbed of creativity and creating a space that thrives on synergy for young entrepreneurs and inspired minds.” Cheers to that social spirit!

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