Freshco, The health cafe When we witness art, we get aware of energy contained by it. “Freshco” is the learned game, concept and a form of art assembled in light of serving fresh. It is inspired from Variations extending from genres of healthy serving to modern aesthetics depicting culture of sui-generis. The 780 sq.ft cafe embraces modernism imbibed with dedicated space for botany which is rarity as a concept of cafe culture of the city. The vibrant splash wall at the entry creates an aura of liveliness whereas the acrylic box on the left hand side wall cartridge with backlit thermocol glasses symbolises modern aesthetics followed by a feeling of ease. The grey walls contrast with our customised hanging lights symbolising solitary and utility. The furniture is radically simple yet elegant with variations in height and colours. An effort has been made to bring a threshold in the contemporary cafe culture.
Ingenuity is a gift, and often, it is the most talented, intelligent and artistic minds that have the ability to observe, imbibe and react to circumstances to create something that’s out-of-the-box. Most of the time, these discoveries or creations are a result of weird interventions, random conversations or chance encounters. The inception of Freshco – The Health Cafe, too, was the result of one such offhand conversation. It’s not uncommon to hear of friends cooking up plans of starting a venture together on the fly; over time though, the initial excitement usually fizzes out. Here too, nothing took root until a vacation to Mount Abu a few years later where their laid-back chat finally turned into a concrete business plan. The four decided that a cafe, unique to their city Vadodara, would be the ideal project to set the ball rolling. Harsh took to their dream instantly and was part of the entire project from concept to completion. Once the 780-sq ft space was rented out, Boghani began visualizing a palette in greens and vibrant colours reminiscent of varied juices. A limited budget challenged him and urged him to experiment with innumerable materials and design elements. He conceptualized a space that was free-flowing, lively and modern. “The main idea of the design was to make the atmosphere harmonize with the organic food that is offered in the cafe,” he says. To that end, there’s an abundance of indoor greenery. Artificial grass cut-outs have been placed in niches on a 13-foot-long cantilevered L-shaped table to the left of the entrance as well as on the 5-foot-long table on the right. Creepers hang from elongated boxes along the cafe walls, while mini plants find themselves perched on the dining tables. While the greenery adds a sense of vitality to the space, a multi-coloured wall, boxes with polystyrene disposable cups and colourful pendant lights brighten up the minimalist atmosphere. Each of these elements was customized to suit the overall mood. Initially, the plan was to splash a panel on the feature wall with fruit juices to create art. After a few failed attempts, Harsh decided to create a digitally printed splash wall with colours of grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries instead. Similarly, despite a lot of scouting, the architect was unable to find lighting fixtures that suited the budget. So he decided to improvise. He created an innovative pendant out of a large fish bowl into which he inserted six miniature ones that he had painted and filled with ping-pong balls. Again, owing to the limited budget, the wall opposite the feature wall was kept barren till the end. Here too, the architect’s creativity elevated an otherwise mundane surface — transparent acrylic boxes were filled with white polystyrene disposable cups. The glow from the back-lit LED lights penetrates through the spaces between the glasses to stunning effect. Whether it’s the grey wall that traces the cafe’s journey from inception, the black service counter with a tiny button light illuminating the Freshco logo or the bright blue washbasin, each element in the cafe has been created with great thought and in the process, lends a sublime yet purposeful character to the space. One can easily get used to sipping on fresh juice and watching the world go by while perched on the high telescopic-legged black stools at one of the longer tables. And if while turning the pages of this article, you get the same sense of vitality and exuberance that is so much a part of this space, then the architect has succeeded in creating the unique experience his clients and friends were vying for.