Old architecture and restoration projects have always interested me. Throw in the Portuguese angle, and I am hooked (I am mid-way writing a book about old Mangalorean homes). So when I saw pictures of this old rice mill that an architectural firm in Goa converted into a cafe-bar with simple yet stunning old-world interiors, I had to feature it here. And I love that they decided to name it The Rice Mill. 🙂
Owned by the architect Raya Shankhwalker himself, and located at Morjin, the firm Raya Shankhwalker Architects designed the cafe to retrofit an existing structure that was originally constructed to function as a mill. The structure of the cafe-bar, with its exposed laterite walls, art deco grills, wooden trusses and Mangalore tiled roof was originally built in 1955.
The firm says their heritage conservation and adaptive reuse project aims to restore all the architectural elements that once lent the mill its nostalgic charm.
The 100 sq.m. café – bar accommodates a semi-open seating area in the verandah, an indoor seating area, a bar, washrooms, a kitchen and its herb garden. Structural additions such as the IPS floor and exposed brick walls are synonymous with the existing structure. Tropical plants breathe life into the space, while items of utility from the old rice mill become elements of decor in the cafe-bar.
Most items of furniture are sourced from local vendors, while certain pieces are constructed from recycled wood. Glass inserts in the existing Mangalore tiled roof allow rays of natural light to flood into the cafe.
As someone who hails from a place with architecture similar to this, it was a slap of nostalgia – the details right from the Mangalore tiles, to the windows with that trademark rising sun design, the colours and of course those ‘folding chairs’ Indeed a perfectly executed restoration!
I would love to know what those scribbles on the wall are. Are they there to add an air of authenticity to the space, or do they also convey or signify something? I deciphered the rate list in Konkani, but I don’t know what the Peso and other scribbles stand for. Are you wondering too? Let’s hope the Architects can answer your questions and mine! 🙂
Photographer: Harshan Thomson