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Wid Chapman Architects recently completed design for Dhamaka, an Indian eatery, in New York City. The brief was to create a restaurant that was fun and representative of Indian “wabi-sabi”—known as “jugaad” in Hindi—the idea that there is art and use in broken things and that the non-conventional can be useful and valuable, a nod to the innovative spirit of humanity.

The wall sculptures by artist Chris Wynter provide a “shattered” canvas, shards of objects that hint at a whole, but one that cannot be re-created and instead becomes a sculptural form in its own right. Backlighting makes the sculptural forms float from the wall and emphasizes the negative space between them.

Handmade screens at the kitchen and bathrooms are made of rusted steel in a random triangular geometry, as are the sculptural pendant lights. The bar top and some of the tables are patinaed galvanized metal. The remaining tables are reclaimed oak plank. The dining chairs have a patina on the wood that feels as though they were once painted completely but the finish has worn off. The wood seat of the bar stools is supported by bended rebar. The floors are raw concrete.

Photo: Will Ellis

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