First-time guests of Tin Tin, a new restaurant inside The Toy Hotel in Chandigarh, India, are in for a genuine wow moment. Designed by New Delhi-based architecture and interior design studio Renesa, the grotto-like space defies expectations and subverts hospitality norms with its labyrinth-like configuration and sculptural tumult. A medley of sweeping arches, contoured ceilings, and sinuous built-in furnishings imbue the venue with a zany, exuberant sensibility while a checkered geometric pattern swathing the entire space produces a calming, Zen ambience. Constructed using traditional materials and techniques from Punjab, the minimalist interiors offer a modern interpretation of Indian craftsmanship, blurring the lines between local and global reflecting the restaurant’s pan-Asian menu and predominant South Asian flavours.
What makes the design of Tin Tin so powerful is the unorthodox combination of radically contradictory elements, namely the juxtaposition of the convoluted layout and curvaceous forms with the rigid geometry of the gingham-like stone and terrazzo mosaics. Laboriously hand-laid by local craftsmen over the course of six months, the mosaic tiling covers the floor, walls and built-in furnishings creating a three-dimensional geometric tapestry where sinuous shapes subtly emerge through the selective use of jade, brown, white and grey-beige stone inlays.
The graphic shapes delineated by the coloured stone inlays are accentuated by the curvilinear silhouettes of the furniture, both built-in and freestanding, as well as by the contoured ceilings, snake-like pendant lights and organic shapes of the wall lamps in the central dining area. In contrast, the orderly grid of circular pendants that crowd the street-facing perimeter zone echoes the checkered pattern of the mosaics. Leather upholders banquettes and chairs offer yet more curvaceous forms while adding soft accents.
Underpinned by an intricate composition of arched portals and winding counters, the labyrinthic layout conveys a sense of wonder and mystery. In a more practical sense, the maze-like configuration creates a variety of dining zones that range from standalone high tables and private dining nooks, to snaking community tables, allowing the venue to effortlessly transition from a peaceful eatery in the day to a high energy lounge at night.
The result is a space that feels simultaneously minimalist in its graphic uniformity whilst being unapologetically over the top in its sculptural abstraction and tactile richness.