North India’s first live entertainment destination at Gurgaon, brings together the challenges of set design and architecture to capture the cultural milieu of a diverse and vibrant land at a single venue.
India has a rich cultural fabric. In fact, entertainment here is defined by colour, bling and over-the-top decor; often incorporating classic architectural elements that create a flourish, reminiscent of the land of kings. ‘Kingdom of Dreams’ is India’s answer to the Opera and Broadway Theatres by being the first one-of-its-kind live entertainment and leisure destination.
Predictably, it houses two major zones - Nautanki Mahal - an 850-seat auditorium designed like an Indian palace, where one can enjoy a live performance; and Culture Gully – a lavish air conditioned boulevard of multifarious Indian cultures, culinary delights and shopping experiences. Apart from this is an upbeat IFFA Buzz Lounge & Theme Restaurant, which offers 350 exotic food preparations by certified chefs from across 14 states, in addition to a titillating offering of Bollywood memorabilia! And coming up soon is the Showshaa Theatre – for stand-up routines, interactive theatre etc.
“The existing structure was a large auditorium, standard in design, spread out on approximately 5.6 acres,” informs Kunal Kuwadekar, principal architect of the project. “The major challenge involved transforming this into a unique destination without effecting any major structural changes and whilst retaining the original auditorium shell; at the same time evolving the concept along the ambience of Indian Grandeur as perceived by the owners.
The concept evolved centered around a state-of-the-art auditorium facility and its annexed complex with a host of peripherals that would create the feel of India right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari , unifying under a single roof - the cuisines, architectural characteristics and the unique handicrafts of India.
We delve into the process of this architectural make-over, touching upon just one of the many areas – the façade that showcases the exterior view of the Nautanki Mahal and constitutes the grand entrée into the ‘Kingdom of Dreams’.
Existing structure Three options of the façade were proposed, each with the Nautanki Mahal in the foreground. The process developed from sketch to coloured rendering, computer graphics and a 3D model and the real thing is extremely close to the vision except for requisite minor on-site alterations.
The entire façade is designed like an Indian palace with front entrance gardens and the fountains.
Developing the concept
The challenge was to obtain the look of the Indian palace within the existing structural parameters. The entire transformation was carried out using a combination of GRC (glass reinforced concrete) and FRP (fibre reinforced polymer) to achieve the desired façade look.
A prefab building structure is used along with hybrid construction technology to create a lightweight and efficient structure to house the services. This increased the speed of construction and reduced the dead load on the structure.
Thematic elements, varying multiple façade treatments and ancillary enhancement elements, both, spatially and functionally efficient, are created using the most modern servicing systems and technology.
.Transformation of the main column
A nine-storey high dynamic stage and staging system for staging support for varying formats of high-end theatre production sequences is incorporated here. We see here one of the largest proscenium openings in India, thematically clad with integration of multi-point access balconies for wired flying performances.
The auditorium building on the stage-ward side, sits over a triple height basement, which contains high-end staging equipments and accessories required for stage setup; also houses the Operations ‐ Management areas within the building.