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by Pooja Suresh HollannavarPublished on : Apr 17, 2023
The core idea behind the design of Mutu Loka Café was born out of the desire to honour the presence of open areas in public spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to creating awareness around personal and communal hygiene, also had an impact on how architects and designers looked at creating public and community spaces. The importance of creating a space that is equal parts embedded with indoor comforts and outdoor ventilation has become paramount.
Designed by Indonesia-based Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture, Mutu Loka Café in Bandung exemplifies the need to blend outdoors with the internal spaces. The original building is a collection of masses that is anchored by a central mass formed by a 30 cm thick wall devoid of any reinforced concrete beams and columns. The other masses arrange themselves around this depending on the function they serve. Due to this organic growth pattern of the structure, the studio had to demolish certain sections of the original structure and reinforce other sections as a part of their restoration strategy. The strategy helped the studio create wider and more open indoor spaces that perfectly complement the easy outdoor areas.
The café design embraces its industrial style and leaves essential elements and services exposed, albeit neatly arranged. This reinforces the aesthetic of the café while providing easy access for maintenance. The industrial vibe of the spaces is enhanced with the furniture selection in the outdoor areas. The metal chairs and tables are not only durable and all weather in nature, but also lend a sense of lightness to the space.
With different parts of the café embellished with a variety of furnishings, the brickwork ties it all together. The entire exterior of the café features glazed terracotta tiles that echo traditional brick craftsmanship. Inside, the flooring features tiles reminiscent of a cobblestone road, thus bringing the outside inside. Soft furnishings lend a much-needed sense of warmth to the interior design.
A curved wall, cast in the same glazed terracotta tiles, becomes a focal point in the outdoor seating area. It features a point of visual interest as well as a comfortable station for laying down. It provides an unusual seating arrangement in lieu of the standard benches. On one end, the curved wall extends into a parapet like seating.
Plants are used sparingly and strategically to provide pops of colour throughout. The green of the foliage is mirrored by the name bearing brick wall that is painted green. Use of black in the form of frames and the spiral staircase, contrasts the earthen tones of the spaces beautifully and adds further depth.
"One of the beauties of adaptive reuse is what-so-called a witnessed process, which, one can effortlessly observe within a glimpse. The essence of history lies in the main building located at the front, where once ‘Tiloejane’ was sculpted to mark the identity of Cilaki 33. Established in 2022, Mutu Loka would like to celebrate the history progression within Cilaki 33, juxtaposing a narrative of old and contemporary lifestyle, where in the early 2020s after the pandemic, people much appreciated the appearance of open space. Enjoy your day under the sun, sitting on top of deconstructed shaped bricks that once merely purposed to enclose space; as now it aims to disclose open-space festivity," shares Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture.
Adaptive reuse as a term has been used and reused in the design world for decades. Mutu Loka Café is an example of what successful adaptive reuse looks like. It preserves the sanctity of the structure while giving it a much-needed new identity, thus renewing its existence for decades to come.
Name: Mutu Loka Cafe
Location: Bandung, Indonesia
Built Up Area: 384 sq. m.
Year of completion: 2023
Design Firm: Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture
Design Team: Yanuar Pratama Firdaus, Azzahra Dartaman, Martha Aurelia, Bayu Herdiadi, Dede Indra Abdul Rohman
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