777 South Broad Street
Designer: Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-Tectonics)
The latest project of Munish Narula, the restaurateur behind the famed Tiffin in Philadelphia, is a trendy take on a traditional cuisine: Indian tapas. The design challenge of creating a 5,000-square-foot dining space to match that concept went to architect Winka Dubbeldam, principal of the firm Archi-Tectonics. The design process included a trip to India, where Dubbeldam sought inspiration for marrying the old with the new. She hunted down hand-crafted fabrics and furnishings—a pair of ornate antique dining chairs, for instance—and plunged them into an otherwise sleek and modern dining space to create an intriguing time warp. Other elements were found closer to home, like lamps recycled from local Philadelphia machineries. One of the most dramatic design moments is offered by the well-lit open kitchen, a bright spot framed by the dark interior. According to Dubbeldam, her goal was to convey a soft transition between the spectrum of seating options—ranging from a highly visible communal table in the main dining room to intimate private booths—through “lots of layering” within the space, a solution that also plays with the ideas of private and public. Smaller seating areas are defined with laser cut wood panels, and one wall of a private dining room is formed by an outsized wine rack that stretches to the ceiling. While separate, all the spaces still feel connected.