City Hangout – India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road
Delhi’s swish space.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Little must have Joseph Allen Stein, the American architect of India Habitat Center (IHC), imagined that the six restaurants, four galleries, one auditorium, amphitheatre and a sprawling atrium in his designed complex would be so thoroughly exploited by the most civilised set of Delhi’s population, which seeks more then just Bollywood, cricket and shopping.
The Capital’s cultural hub, known for hosting plays, book readings, music concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions, corporate luncheons and office workshops, is also a place to catch up with friends and lovers. It has the ambience for the mind and the heart.
Flowerpots line the steps to the foyer (if you are entering from gate no. 2). The musical totel pole, at the entrance of Palm Court, tilts on both sides to produce melodious chimes. Inside, skylight brightens the lovely tree-decked Palm Court. The roof is not made of bricks, and its shading devices of blue and white panels screen off the sunrays so that the area remains cool in the summer.
Landscaped with abstract stone sculptures, the space is quiet, except for the sounds of gurgling fountains or occasional laughter. The couples sit by the pools or on the plaza steps adjoining Stein auditorium. On a rare day, you may run into college students rehearsing for their play in the amphitheatre. Otherwise, solitary art-lovers wander around the galleries. Hungry people feed on pizzas and chaat in the multi-cuisine Eatopia (which has a row of faux-Victorian lamp posts), or on steaks and pancakes at The All American Diner. The other four restaurants – Delhi ‘O’ Delhi, Past Times, Oriental Octopus and The Deck — are for members only.
No worries. The access to IHC’s aesthetic aura — created by its regulars — is accessible to us all. On its website, it claims to provide a “physical environment which would serve as a catalyst for a synergetic relationship between individuals… and therefore, maximise their total effectiveness”. It succeeds.
Where Lodhi Estate, Lodhi Road Book Halls and gardens for hosting private events, artists can book galleries Phone 24682001- 24682009 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Nearest Metro Station Jorbagh
Past the pond
Beside the fountain
To the conference
Here’s the bread
The American Diner
The swish set
An IHC regular
This week’s action
It’s a lovely world