Astronaut feasts on Indian interiors

Astronaut, the fledgling design group launched by Bennett Interior Design, has completed interior and graphics concepts for contemporary Indian restaurant Anakana.

Anakana founders Neil Gill and Maruk Miah are close to signing on a large site in the City of London this week. The restaurant will be modelled on the communal canteen dining of London eateries such as Busaba Eathai and Wagamama, says Gill, who was Busaba Eathai’s first manager.

‘We want Anakana to be accessible and attract a lunchtime and early evening market. People won’t automatically know it’s an Indian restaurant when they walk in, but we will feature Indian references for those with a keen eye,’ he says.

The restaurant will serve Indian street food in its canteen-style restaurant and Chotakana – Indian tapas – in an adjoining tea room. Gill says he wants to move away from both the ‘flocked wallpaper’ and more recent ‘stripped floorboards, Pitcher & Piano’ look of ‘stereotypical’ Indian restaurants.

Interiors will incorporate bench seating, lava stone tables and movable screens as well as candles suspended by wires that appear to be floating. Anakana’s identity has been designed by freelance designer Steve Lawler.

Astronaut was appointed last November without a pitch. It is one of the first projects for the group, which will focus on leisure and hospitality interiors projects such as bars, restaurants, gyms and retail environments.

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