The first days of the British Raj were an extravagant time. Aristocracy was spreading throughout South Asia, bringing majestic English culture to Eastern civilisation.
A time of lords and ladies, high society and hobnobbery, the mid-1800s was also a time of polo – the horseback sport born out of India and formalised and popularised by the British.
So when Christchurch restaurateurs Louis and Lynda Vieceli and their creative team set out to revitalise the southern New Zealand city’s dining strip, it was the opulence of British India and the elegance of the game of polo that struck a chord.
Top Kiwi designer Tom Skyring and brand-building agency AMG devised the concept of the ‘Bangalore Polo Club’, an affiliate clubroom circa 1859 grown from a culture of superiority set by four founding members: The Count, Brigadier Grimshaw, The Maharaja and Raja Singh.
“We wanted a concept that was steeped in history, something that captured an era of fantasy,” says Vieceli. “We also wanted something fun; something not to be taken too seriously, but delivering quality.”
200-year-old Chinese suitcase façades line the bar, and zebra skin rugs drape the walls. Scoreboards and players’ jerseys hang between white marble fireplaces, and Florence Broadhurst botanical wallpapers focalise the inset ceilings.
“We chose fittings that represented the theme, but were also timeless and ‘transportable’,” Vieceli explains.
“If we maintain it well, [the fitout] will still look good in 8-10 years, and it could easily be redone in Wellington, Auckland, Sydney or Melbourne. It’s easy to do a modern bar, but this is a commitment to something unique.”
Bangalore Polo Club