In just a few short years, Bar Palladio in Jaipur has achieved the kind of status that makes it one of those iconic spots you’re told you can’t leave the Pink City without seeing for yourself. Conceived by Italian Barbara Miolini, the bar/restaurant is a world unto itself, full of charming block prints, tented canopies and expert lighting. Her latest project, Caffe Palladio, is just a five-minute walk away. Restful, serene, and decorated in pastel shades of coral, pink and yellow, the all-day restaurant is the perfect complement to Bar Palladio’s evening vibe.
That's not all the Palladio team is up to: they recently launched an exclusive ‘Caffe Palladio’ tea inspired by Sicily (a warm blend of Darjeeling black tea with ginger and dried orange) in collaboration with New Delhi artisanal tea brand No 3 Clive Road, and a ‘Fiori d’Arancio’ candle inspired by the orange gardens of Palermo’s country villas with luxury skincare brand Kama Ayurveda. Their blockprinted homeware line, available on ShopLatitude.com, includes a range of cushion covers, napkin and placemat sets, and tote bags.
“Our line is built on pattern and color; it's playful and pretty but bold in design and classic in its understanding of beauty,” says Miolini. Shop Latitude chats further with the design maven about her brand and its newest ventures.
Bar Palladio's rich interiors
Q: How did the launch of Bar Palladio come about?
A: Bar Palladio was born from a love of travel, from a desire to seek beauty. Before arriving in India 11 years ago, I had been living outside of Venice in Asolo, exactly the region where Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio constructed his masterpieces. Bar Palladio was born from my memories of this area, a desire to create a feeling of Italy (a feeling of history, of culture, and of course, food) in India, to bring my past into my adopted home.
Table setting at Caffe Palladio
Q: How do you find common ground between Indian and Italian design sensibilities?
A: Such strong histories and cultures will naturally produce a very particular sensibility. These are two countries that believe more is always better, that worship color and sensuality. These are two places where luxury is an actual way of living. Both Indian and Italian aesthetics are changing and adapting in very interesting ways, while trying still to maintain a strong dialogue with tradition.
'Mughal Flower' cushion cover
Q: What do you love about the city of Jaipur and how does it influence your work?
A: Jaipur is a fantasy, unlike any other place in the world. Here is a city of palaces, of secret gardens, of jewelry and diamonds you cannot imagine, of fabric and block-print, of turbans and saris. This is a city caught between histories. To step out my house everyday means something new, something gorgeous, something entirely unexpected will come my way.
The Caffe Palladio garden
Q: How would you sum up the Palladio aesthetic?
A: The Palladio aesthetic is classic, it is baroque, while at the same time very contemporary. The beauty of both Bar Palladio and Caffé Palladio is each person envisions new romances when they step into these spaces. You could be in a Sicilian palazzo, in a Mughal haveli, a Ramanov tearoom, an Ottoman tent... As I see it, this is one of the few aesthetics I know that inspires you to dream, to return to the fictive histories we imagine, to enter into lost worlds.
Q: The Bar Palladio homeware line focuses primarily on block print. What is it about this handicraft that you're drawn to?
A: Jaipur is a city whose creative identity has been tied to block print for hundreds of years. There is no other city in India to match the skill and history present here. Sure, silkscreen allows you more colorways and freedoms, it is cheaper and more efficient to produce but it lacks soul. A block print contains the touch of the hand, the weight of tradition; there are memories contained within each piece.