Naviluna, (Earthloaf) Handmade Chocolate Factory at Mysore was looking to create a space that provided an immersive experience on the craft of chocolate making
Design and build including landscape and master planning.
Landscaping and the basic structure for the project has been completed.
Being the first chocolate maker in the world to use organically certified Indian cacao beans, Naviluna looked to create a bean-to-bar chocolate house that integrated, landscape, experiential and sensorial design together. The heart of this space is the café where one can see the chocolate makers at work while enjoying handmade chocolate snacks. Keeping sustainable design in mind, the prerogative was to reuse, recycle and use waste and natural materials from the 43,000 SQFT space. The design process for this project stood for conscious landscaping exercise in the truest sense of the word!
The highlight of Naviluna space is witnessing how the chocolate is being made. Rubenius considered a Masterplan based on the existing topography of the region and the existing natural landscape. The Naviluna team had to make some quick decisions regarding the orientation, the choice of interiors, where to place the kitchen, in line with this courtyard concept. Man-made water bodies around the cafe were revised once this decision was completed.
As much of the existing landscape as possible was preserved to protect its biodiversity, to improve microclimates, protect against soil erosion and thus provide a healthy habitat for the cacao trees and plantation.
Using sustainable design practices, Rubenius designed a space for the consumer to wander in and experience. Employing an understated palette (neutral tones with chocolate brown and emerald green) helps patrons focus their attention on the beans, not the architecture, per se. Using choice wood species such as Merbau, Jarrah and Karri complimented with traditional corrugated Mangalore tiles and brutalist brick walls, has created this exciting, expansive space.
The customised industrial look brought out the raw beauty of the space and infusing it with a healthy dose of green. To break away from a regular cafe, Naviluna’s cottage like chocolate house sprinkled seating around the perimeter of the courtyard, giving patrons a view of the landscape and a peek into crafting chocolate at the same time.
While the open courtyard cafe is beautiful and the location of it in the centre of the site makes it alluring, what really sets it apart are the views out towards its plantations. Through strategically placed windows around the building, guests can see the coconut, sugarcane and Wannon varieties of cocoa tree on a raised bank opposite to the factory, which is built on relatively flat ground. When in full bloom, these trees provide a visual treat for visitors.
Luxurious and minimal, we filled this café with artful seating areas, seductive ceiling lamps and a surrounding open library.
We designed a garden with water bodies and walkway bridges for the enjoyment of not only those who work within it but also of all of their community. Naviluna was an extremely well-executed project and is certainly worth a visit. In representing the concepts of ‘Bean-to-bar’, Naviluna bares its soul to the earth in which cocoa beans are grown, prepared for packaging—all using sustainable methods.