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Blue Frog

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Not all blue frogs are poisonous nor found in the jungles of Suriname. Mumbai boasts its own species. Safer to the touch, and silkier on the senses, the restaurant/bar/theater/recording studio hybrid Blue Frog proves itself to be as versatile as the amphibian it is named after.

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Located in a 6,000-foot converted warehouse in the Indian Ocean city's old mill district, Blue Frog is a recent addition worthy of Mumbai's reputation as a global entertainment capital. Already recognized as one of the city's premiere live music venues, Blue Frog showcases a steady stream of live performances by Indian and international artists of a plethora of musical genres.

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Pulling off Blue Frog's lofty multi-disciplinary ambitions is another matter. Can dancers, diners and drinkers coexist without intruding on each other and having the night disintegrate into a battle royale pitting cha cha versus charcuterie or martinis versus mambo? The challenge to overcome – and where many culinary and musical combinations have failed before — is to design the project's various separate parts while not lessening the overall quality of the whole.

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No simple feat. Impressively, London and Mumbai-based architectural firm Serie was up to the task. The solution to such a complex problem? As simple as a circle. A large, central circular dance floor is bordered by a raised performance stage on one side and a series of smaller circular seating booths on the other.

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Not unlike so many lily pads, each mahogany paneled cylindrical booth floats above the dance floor at different heights, offering not only uninterrupted views of the stage, but also a constant comfortable distance between diners, bar patrons and the dance floor, regardless of how crowded the lounge gets. Color ties it all together visually. The varying height of the booths is gently unified by a glowing surface of alternating colors, creating balance and steadying the eye.

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The end result is an architectural triumph that gives everyone a chance to participate in musical performance as they feel so moved. A far cry from the craned necks, elbows in the ribs and spilt drinks I have become all too familiar with at live music venues in Los Angeles. A valuable lesson Hollywood can learn from Bollywood's home city. AER

Images: Blue Frog and Serie

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