The Ritz- Carlton, Pune which opened its majestic doors in October, sets new benchmarks with its grandeur, elegance and opulence
The Ritz-Carlton, Pune is part of a mixed-use development and was consciously designed as a linear block with long and transparent north and south facades
Although The Ritz-Carlton, Pune sits on a busy street in the heart of Yerawada’s business district, surrounded by MNCs, it has as its neighbour, a lush golf course. The 198-keys property is one of the most luxurious to open not just in Pune, but also in India this year, offering a befitting finale to 2019. The Ritz Carlton, Pune which has its architecture done by Madhav Joshi and Associates and interior design by Bangkok-based PIA Interior Company Limited, is a study in decadence, luxury, and elegance. This is luxury not just for the sake of it, but because of the well-thought-out grandeur with the city of Peshwas as its backdrop. The hotel seems part-art deco, part- Maratha, and part-British, the latter two because of the British-era illustrations, Greco-Roman figurines and portraits of Maratha rulers sprinkled across.
Madhav Joshi, Principal Architect, Madhav Joshi and Associates.
According to Madhav Joshi, the Principal Architect of the project, “The luxury experience is ensured not only by its exuberant interiors but also through the conception of its public and guest areas as a balanced combination of the indoors and outdoors. In a city like Pune, blessed with a salubrious climate, it was natural to conceive spaces that offer an option to step out into the warm sun, feel the cool winter breeze, or enjoy a mild drizzle.” The Ritz-Carlton, Pune is part of a mixed-use development and was consciously designed as a linear block with long and transparent north and south facades and narrow and solid east and west facades, which ensure that the interiors and the outdoor spaces are shaded even in hot summer months. The hospitality division of Panchshil Realty, headed by Ranjit Batra, was clear about its intention to bring to Pune, a top-class hotel brand and thus, redefine Pune's hospitality industry.
According to Joshi, “The main challenge was to integrate and yet set apart the two entities. The second challenge was to create an exclusive edifice for a global brand, yet ensure that it is distinct from the mundane glass blocks that dot the downtowns around the world. The third and the most difficult challenge was to provide a seamlessly functioning hotel facility without compromising with the needs of the brand to continuously update, modernise and rejuvenate the Ritz experience.” Ultimately, the architects conceived the hotel as a translucent glass block floating on a solid and monumental stone base. The Ritz Carlton, Pune is framed by a neutral metallic solid surface, with large volume public spaces such as the porte cochere, grand entrance lobby, dining areas, a banquet hall on the ground floor, and guest services such as speciality restaurants, spa, gym and ballroom at the upper levels.
The indoor-outdoor synergies
The exquisitely raw, natural design of the Ukiyo speciality restaurant creates a sense of harmony between the old world and the new.
While the Three Kitchens Restaurant and Bar extends to the alfresco dining deck enclosed by a tropical garden, the Japanese resto-bar Ukiyo spills onto the mid-level terrace overlooking the green plaza. A quiet and private evening over a drink on the sky deck. Aasmana, of the executive lounge offers sweeping views of the city at sunset. All rooms have glass walls that open to wide vistas. The corners are reserved for executive suites while the Presidential suite occupies the uppermost floor.
Designing interior spaces
Pomme Mokkhavesa, Design Director, PIA Interior.
Even though The Ritz-Carlton, Pune just about opened its luxurious doors, the work on its interior design began way back in 2012. Sutana Pomme Mokkhavesa, Design Director, PIA Interior, reliving the process, says, “Over many design workshops with the client, operator, kitchen consultant and architect, we carved out a concept that, for us, perfectly aligns with Panchshil’s ambition and a timeless contemporary arrangement befitting the Ritz Carlton brand.”
Premier Suites include Club Lounge access, bathrooms with double vanities and sunken tubs, writing desks, and city or golf course views.
The grand property is classically inspired and yet relevant, with finely balanced interior themes, rigorous space planning and a clear understanding of proportion and detail. “A sense of familiar classical charm inspires and underpins the identity of the spaces,” she adds. The design was then infused with contemporary detailing to create a sense of composed elegance at a residential scale, to ensure that ‘at home’ feeling. The wow factor in the interiors is due to the generously opulent triple-height spaces. "While leaning towards masculine in its textural arrangements, the interiors are finely infused with feminine touches that soften and accent the space," says Mokkhavesa. The interior spaces have been arranged to ensure seamless functionality and luxury of personal service. One of the finest examples of the spaces blending form with function is the grand lobby, a formidable triple-height volume comprising of a commanding array of columns. “We have dressed the columns in a classical marble arrangement and forged them into a series of arches consisting of contemporary timber panelling with metal expressions,” points out Mokkhavesa. “This Indian silhouette inspires, delineates and informs the formal entry space. The result is a series of transition spaces that help to transcend the experiential journey from the dominant lobby through the intimate comfort of the residential- style reception area.”
Every leaf and icicle of the 4,500-piece chandelier has been hand-blown in the Czech Republic.
The grandeur is augmented by two large classically inspired chandeliers of monumental proportions, which infuse the lobby with a golden glow; it took eight craftspeople 30 days to install each chandelier. Every leaf and icicle of each of the 4,500-piece chandelier was hand-blown in the Czech Republic and hauled over to Pune. Decorative wood panelling envelops the lobby spaces and classical balconies offer views of the lobby from various vantage points. Natural light floods through the vast glazed expanse into the lobby lounge and beyond. “At night, this space is transformed into a picturesque scene of opulent tranquillity, which is inviting and grandiose,” she adds.
The executive lounge, Aasmana, offers sweeping views of the city at sunset.
Dining, tea lounge and the private club The Tea Lounge and Bar, set within the heart of the grand lobby, has a circular seating arrangement, complemented by a traditional floral centrepiece. Anchored between a marble floor inset and an opulent towering chandelier, the lounge has a full-height butterfly marble wall as its backdrop. The Three Kitchens Restaurant and Bar, set on an axis and with an emphasis on the viewpoint, has curated smaller display counters. The seatings are arranged in enclosed rooms and separated by layered screens, which provide an enhanced sense of thoughtful domesticity. The Ritz Carlton Club lounge epitomises the residential narrative with blonde wood panelling, enhancing the airy executive dining experience.
The Living Room has textured decorative fabrics and colourful accent pieces in keeping with the monochromatic backdrop. The Private Club lounge offers an exclusive social experience set in a highly desirable luxury apartment setting. Reminiscent of the traditional library lounge, this unique stage can evolve from a private meeting room to a sophisticated space for an evening soiree.
How Pune has inspired the design
According to Mokkhavesa, the considerable heritage of Pune as a Maratha stronghold has played a role in the conceptual design language. “The Sinhagad Fort just outside Pune was the staging point for the famous battle of Sinhagad. During this battle, the famous warrior Tanaji Malusare was killed to which the warriors cried, “We gained the fort but lost the lion”. Some 350 years later, we feel it is apt that Pune has reincarnated its lion under the auspices of The Ritz-Carlton brand. For centuries Pune has been referred to as the Oxford of the East and this has influenced particularly influence the staging of the reception, which was developed in the form ofa reading room and study. Prevalent throughout are subtle fine-grained Indian jaali motifs, seamlessly joined together. The mood is further enriched with pops of regal colour such as blues and reds to symbolise reverence, positivity and sense of prosperity.
An elegant corner in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Pune is a melange of beautiful and luxurious materials and art, accented by rich beige-gold colour.
Mokkhavesa says that the deliberate composition of the guestroom interiors is influenced by a city whose antiquities emulate a glorious past, expressed in as an acknowledgement of a modern-day cultural and economic centre. Joshi asserts that while The Ritz- Carlton Pune is essentially rooted in its place, it is not in the most obvious ways through embellishment or stylistic features. “This is glocal architecture. The configuration is inspired from the courtyard typology found locally. The humble scale of the traditional city is reflected in the two-layered horizontal mass of the corporate office buildings that make the otherwise ten-storied building look diminutive,” he contends. “Also, unlike other corporate buildings, the complex provides direct pedestrian access from the street to the podium, thus capturing the local ethos of active street life due to fluid connections between streets and buildings.”
Creating magical landscapes
The linear block, with transparent north and south facades and solid east and west facades, has many shaded spaces.
The landscape design brings together a contemporary tropical palette of materials, textures, colours, plants, water features, to offer a cosy experience to guests relaxing under the pavilions and sit-outs, with the vast expanse of the sky and ever-changing shade and shadows ensuring a new experience with every passing hour of the day, every passing day of the month and every passing season of the year. That is the luxury experience as it unfolds at The Ritz-Carlton Pune, Joshi rhapsodies.
THE KEY CONSULTANTS
- RCC Consultant: Shirish Patel and Associates Consultants Pvt.Ltd, Mumbai.
- Electrical Consultants: Abhiyanta Consulting Engineers LLP, Pune.
- PHE & FF Consultants: ACE Consultants, Pune.
- HVAC Consultants: R S Kulkarni HVACR Consulting Engineers, Pune.
- Lighting Consultants: DPA Lighting Consultants, London.
- Kitchen Consultants: CKP Hospitality Consultants.
- RCC Contractor: Bhate and Raje Construction Company, Pune.
- Facade Contractor: Chiniwalas Pvt. Ltd, Pune.
- Stone Cladding Contractor: Dekor Exclusive Granites Pvt. Ltd and Shrijee Developers.
- Name of the Project: The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Pune
- Client: Panchshil Corporate Park Pvt.Ltd
- Designers: Madhav Joshi and Associates, Pune
- Principal Architect: Madhav Joshi
- Landscape Architects: Madhav Joshi and Associates, Pune
- Softscape: Forethought Design Consultants, Pune
- Interior Designers: PIA Interior Company Limited, Bangkok
- Speciality Restaurant Interior Designer: Masafumi Sanada, M-Style Inc
- Area: 53,000 sq.m (5, 75,000 sq.ft)
- Location: Golf Course Square, Airport Road, Yerwada, Pune
- Duration of project: 2011-2019
- Date of completion: October 2019