Ayaz Basrai calls himself the ‘co-founder and peon’ of Mumbai and Goa-based The Busride Design Studio, which only indicates his level of involvement in a venture that has brought him much creative fulfillment. The Busride Design Studio, which he runs with his brother Zameer, is associated with some of the most ‘happening’ restaurants’ in the country. What makes their designs work, he says, is their healthy disrespect for the commercial aspect of a project…what matters is its impact on the community.
At The Busride there’s no straight process they follow, when approaching the project:
“There are a few processes that resonate though, and these need to be articulated individually for each project inquiry. We ask a lot of questions. We’re always questioning the given brief, always figuring out better ways to get under the skin of the project. What makes this place special, how can we discover some new direction or soul within the site? The more divergent and strange the questions, the more well articulated our end design outcome becomes.”
Ayaz says that the role of interior design is relatively small when it comes to creating the vibe of the place:
” The vibe of a place is so fragile, and I don’t think it has a single stakeholder. I feel, especially in a hospitality venue, the interior design strictly speaking contributes a small amount. The service design, of which the interior experience is a part, is a larger, more fun inquiry. Some places start off with the vibe and lose it somewhere along the way, some places gather it after a few years in operation…It’s a delicate and ephemeral mix of the right crowd, the right music, the right lighting, the perfect food and good conversation.”
“The success is really a by-product”. – he believes. “I don’t think we’ve ever approached a project thinking how much money it’s going to make, and I hope nobody ever does. Our new batch of users is super smart, and can sniff out fake stuff a mile away.”
“We need to have better barometers for success; I feel impact on community is a much better measure for design studios than money or turnover. The lure of being rich makes us select the worst projects, the worst clients, and at times make terrible decisions by skewing design outcomes the absolutely wrong way. We’re stuck in a bit of a dark age where this is concern, and we’re already fast evolving out of this paradigm.”
Designer envisions the future of hospitality design as “A small intimate 40-seater restaurant, home-style, situated in the middle of the newly created Mumbai salt pans. Large vertical gardens of hydroponics, and a small free-range farm. Local chefs and international residencies creating farm-tofork experiences, with locally grown produce and ethically sourced catch. Insects on the menu, along with foraged vermin from South Mumbai. Having a nice hot cup of mushroom tea gazing out across the post apocalyptic wastelands of Mumbai 2034…”
Read this story in POOL 75.