Cornucopia is the latest in Mumbai’s gourmet food revolution. My clients are the brothers behind the city’s landmark 75-year-old Café Madras, who have opened a Covent Garden-inspired gourmet food haven right next door.
The gourmet food store, which launched in March 2017, functions as a sort of local deli, retailing everything from fresh pastries, dips and sauces, to artisanal snack foods sourced from independent local vendors.
Cornucopia’s steadily increasing footfall is in a large part due to a clever storefront design. It has set itself up as a charming addition to the local landscape.
The solid blue storefront stands in stark contrast to the pale pink of Café Madras next door. The old-world, British-barber’s-shop-style signage and wide open glass windows immediately intrigue passers-by; what’s more, in the evenings, when the light is more muted, you’re offered a clear view of the interiors—the tiled floor, the blackboards at the pastry counter that announce the day’s specials, and the big brass lanterns framed perfectly by the turquoise wrought-iron arch.
All of the elements of the space—from the brass lights to the floor tiles—were custom designed by us to keep with the client’s early Covent Garden-inspired vision for the brand. The space was meant to be warm, welcoming—and more importantly, relaxed. The arch is a direct reference to a local English marketplace; not only does it make good use of the space’s impressive height, but it also brings down the ceiling and makes the room a whole lot more intimate. Our design team had the unique challenge of not just designing Cornucopia’s flagship store, but also essentially laying the foundation for the new brand. The challenge, for me, was to live up to the name of Café Madras while also carving out a name that was unique to Cornucopia.
Cornucopia has set a precedent for food retail in India—not merely by making a range of good quality food items available all under one roof, but by making that roof a warm, relaxed space to be under as well.
“Aesthetically it is important to do things like this,” my client Devavrath explains. “It’s the architecture. With places like this, the city becomes more beautiful.”