Pondicherry’s popular hotel Promenade in June, launched its themed bar named Storyteller’s. This place will provide a space for artists from the community to share their art.
We had the pleasure to speak to Mr. Dilip Kapoor, the Founder of Hi-Design properties and Kapil Thirwani, the man behind the amazing sound at the venue.
What inspired you to start the Storytellers’ Bar?
Dilip Kapoor: Any community needs places to gather, to meet, to share and entertain . Pondicherry, with its strong community focus from the Ashram and Auroville, which are among the most successful “communes” in the world, has a special heritage and interest in communities. With the tourist boom in full swing in Pondicherry, we felt the Promenade with its incredibly central location would be an ideal meeting place for locals and tourists. The lounge brings together entertainment, socializing into a space that has the heritage of Pondicherry and Auroville built into it.
How did you discover a need for Music or performance based venue in Pondicherry?
Dilip Kapoor: Music is the most widely enjoyed entertainment, and Pondicherry had no such space. The need to provide a space for artists from our community, and to those who want to share their art with Pondicherry from all over the world, has long bee
What was the most difficult task before you could launch the StoryTellers’ Bar?
Dilip Kapoor: To have a space that could be sufficiently interesting for the best in this field. We are a small city, how do we get the attention of people like Simran Mulchandani, Kapil and Ayaz? I had to tempt them with a visit to Pondy, and a personally guided tour around Pondy and Auroville: that did it, they were personally in love with this community and did this creation as much out of love as business.
What is the vision for the Storytellers Bar as a music venue?
Simran: The Storytellers’ Bar is more than a music venue. While music will play an intrinsic part in it, and we plan on a cosmopolitan mix of Indian artists and those from around the world, we want to tell stories through many different mediums. Therefore we are looking at theatre, comedy, poetry, film, photography, art…Stories can be expressed in so many ways and The Storytellers’ Bar has been set up to explore those avenues. Also it isn’t just our vision, this is a community project and we want the community, be it residents of Pondicherry and Auroville, or visitors to the town, to contribute with their thoughts, suggestions and stories.
What kind of Music and programming can we expect and how often will there be live gigs?
Simran: Once season gets going which is around mid-August, we plan to program 3-4 live nights a week, at least one movie night and some workshops on film, theatre, comedy etc with some live elements to them. We are still feeling the pulse of the scene and so things will be organic for a couple of months, but we are looking for a lot of input from the community, tapping into a lot of local talent.
How has your journey been so far with HiDesign, Promenade, Le Dupleix and the latest addition to the family which is the Storytellers’ Bar?
Dilip Kapoor: The Hidesign business continues to be central, and near additions are natural follow-ons as they represent the same lifestyle but are expressed through our strong sense of community and dedication to this city.
How did your education and early experiences in life help in building a brand like HiDesign from scratch? How did you expand your horizons to owning one of the best properties like The Promenade and Le Duplex in Pondicherry?
Dilip Kapoor: My education in the ashram brought a strong sense of clean aesthetics, beauty to be found in simplicity. My interest in Auroville has brought a strong sense of ecology and sustainable operation with nature.
Quickly tell us about setting up Sound / Acoustics for Storytellers’ Bar.
Kapil Thirwani: The space presented to us was a long, rectangular basement with limited height. All the wrong ingredients for a performance space. We had to use these methodologies here
1. Use delayed loudspeakers for the electro acoustic design to encounter the length challenge
2. Splay less on side wall to avoid early reflections
3. Use directive sound energy techniques to have minimal destructive interference due to height
4. Use isolation design in low frequency energy balance
5. Use minimal absorption and more diffusion for room acoustics to have live taste to venue
How is the setup different from other usual Music venues?
Kapil Thirwani: Looks like a regular restaurant with posh interiors but the acoustics are hidden in the interior design. Form and function I would say.
Engineered sound system design and engineering with inputs on acoustics for interior design to bring the best out of venue.
What are the other projects you have worked on?
Kapil Thirwani: Blue frogs, Hardrock Café’s, Playboy, Socials etc in India. A lot of performance spaces and bars around the world have the Munro tag.
3 Myths about setting up Acoustics for a Music Venue like Storytellers’ Bar.
1. Reflective surfaces when shaped right can diffuse sound
2. The right system engineering, placement and optimization is a must for venues
3. Make the place live rather than dead. Let the dynamics speak and music have its peaks.