Amidst the coastal charm of Goa, a resplendent architectural wonder emerges – The Balcao, a beloved porch that encapsulates the essence of Goan homes. This outdoor haven graces the heart of most Goan households, featuring its signature gracefully curved walls adorned with vibrant hand-cast concrete. A welcoming embrace of the home, the Balcao beckons visitors with its allure, extending an invitation to partake in its tranquil ambiance.
The Balcao stands as a quintessential facet of Goan living, offering a space where languid afternoons dissolve into casual relaxation, reading, writing, and friendly exchanges. It is a haven where daily rituals such as morning tea, neighborly chats, and tranquil naps find a cherished abode. Amidst the modernization of architecture and urban sprawl, the Balcao remains a vital emblem of connectivity. In a time when residences are increasingly insular, the Balcao boldly bridges the gap between interior and exterior, acting as an open threshold.
Arko, Founder and Principal Architect of Otherworlds, describes the inception: “Upon our first visit to the villa, it was apparent that a welcoming Balcao was missing. The structure seemed enclosed, lacking connection. We envisioned the bar as a bridge to reconcile this gap, in the form of a Balcao.” The design envisaged the entire restaurant blossoming from this central bar, extending outdoors to create enclosures, becoming the embodiment of the Balcao. The restaurant’s concept metamorphosed into an extension of the home, seamlessly blending into the urban fabric.
At the heart of the design stands The Bar, a dynamic space where traditional barriers are dissolved. The island bar, nestled against the house, carves spaces for serendipitous encounters and social interactions. The bar defies convention, its form curving around the house and housing a planter that merges interior and exterior. Above, a floating library transforms into a luminous chandelier as night descends. This metal and fluted glass structure, painted in soft green, pays homage to the house’s arched windows while casting an inviting glow.
Organic inspirations saturate the design, drawing from nature’s ephemeral beauty and the tropical essence of Goa. The bamboo canopy, supported by slender columns, creates a transcendent canopy that bathes the space in diffused daylight. The play of light and shadow rekindles the susegad spirit – Goa’s relaxed, contented lifestyle. The restaurant’s lights, resembling falling leaves, dance on slim columns, adding a touch of whimsy.
The Balcao beckons you to a sanctuary where nature and leisure intertwine, echoing Goa’s outdoor-centric culture. Arko explains, “We aimed to echo Goa’s affinity for nature, fostering a sense of belonging. The restaurant had to immerse patrons in a distinct mood, evoking presence, well-being, and harmony.” As the bar evolves into the new Balcao, it extends into the outdoors, creating seating, planters, and further enclosures. A monolithic olive-green structure nestles under a bamboo canopy, embracing the Balcao’s spirit. The floating bamboo expanse ascends from a molded green plinth, tapering gently and embracing vast elliptical skylights that cast dappled light over the outdoor dining zone.
Each element tells a story, from the benches washed in gentle green hues to the shadow patterns created by elliptical openings. Serendipitous moments, reminiscent of Goa’s intimate encounters, shape the space’s character. Arko affirms, “Sitting on your balcao bench under a leaf-shaped lamp, you spot a friend on the other side, waving. These are the moments that make a space unforgettable.”
Tertulia, a reflection of this ethos, embraces the spirit of conversation and community. Through locally sourced materials, bamboo, and custom-crafted pieces, The Balcao celebrates the marriage of design and culture, while also transcending into the realm of high-energy evenings. It encapsulates the susegad lifestyle and the vivacity of Goa’s evenings, embodying an atmosphere that feels both native and novel.
In the heart of Goa, The Balcao stands as a testament to the past and the present, where architecture is intertwined with tradition, creating a haven for relaxation, connection, and cherished moments.
Area: 6500 ft²
Photographs: Suryan // Dang
Manufacturers: Jyamiti and Sea
Lead Architects: Arko