• 06.14.11

A Pop-Up Café In London Summons India’s Technicolor Vibe [Slideshow]

Dishoom Chowpatty Beach’s off-beat yet stylishly modern take on eco-friendly design.

The Dishoom Chowpatty Beach pop-up café has sprung up on London’s Southbank Centre, offering a cheery summer outpost for Bombay snacks constructed of a mishmash of old materials, furnishings, and decorations. In other words, the perfect evocation of what everyday Indian life is actually like.


Designed by the London-based Honest Entertainment, Dishoom proves that upcycling need not to translate into cardboard furniture and denim tablecloths. Everything here is found, secondhand, or recycled, and displays a creative application of jugaad (Hindi for “making do”) — including the exterior cladding of brightly colored freight pallets. The outdoor terrace features benches built from reclaimed railway sleepers, a bar made from recycled plastic bottles, and walls erected from tightly rolled newspapers. Original uses appear as inscriptions on furniture and fittings (“I used to be a . . .”).

Inside, jam-jar lights hang above multicolored bentwood chairs, which contrast with the relatively subdued geometric-print floor. Faded portraits on the walls playfully subvert Dishoom’s more straightlaced home on St. Martin’s Lane, where it will stay open until October 4.

What more could you want? An umbrella-festooned drink on the sand? Sure, why not: Dishoom has shipped in 48 tons of sand for your makeshift beach oasis.

About the author

Belinda Lanks is the editorial director of Co.Design. Before joining, she was the managing editor of Metropolis.