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Indian Coffee House
Thampanoor, India
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Coffee-restaurant chain run by worker co-operative societies.

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i
Category:
meeting place
Phase:
in use
Updated:
3 December 2019
introduction

The Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain in India, run by a series of worker co-operative societies. It has strong presence across India.[1] There are nearly 400 coffee houses all over India, which are a part of the chain.

The India Coffee House chain was started by the Coffee Board in early 1940s, during British rule. In the mid 1950s the Board closed down the Coffee Houses, due to a policy change. The thrown-out workers then took over the branches, under the leadership of the communist leader A. K. Gopalan and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. The first Indian Coffee Workers Co-Operative Society was founded in Bangalore on 19 August 1957. The first Indian Coffee House was opened in New Delhi on 27 October 1957.[1] Gradually, the Indian Coffee House chain expanded across the country, with branches in Pondicherry, Thrissur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Tellicherry and Pune by the end of 1958. Later Bellary and Madras (Chennai) Societies were separated from their mother societies.

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cultural and social context

Indians own the largest worker cooperative in the world: Indian Coffee Houses. The Indian Coffee Houses in India were started by the Coffee Board in early 1940s, during British rule. In the mid 1950s the Board closed down the Coffee Houses, due to a policy change.

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materials and building techniques

The Indian Coffee House designed by Laurie Baker is one of the most prominent landmarks in Trivandrum, Kerala. As one makes way into the building, one is intrigued by more than just the warm coffee and snacks served. Entering seemingly cylindrical structure, a continuous spiral ramp takes you through the two floors. This ramp, one realizes, is swirling around the central circular service core and has seating spaces at its outer end. Baker’s trademark jaalis add to the earthen aesthetics of this renowned brick structure. These jails serve the purpose of windows, bringing in light and helping ventilation. Creating a 360-degree vantage from the upper floor, the visitor would notice the bustling surroundings to be in stark contrast to the peaceful ambience within. Laurie Baker’s favorite typical materials are well known. The walls are exposed brickwork, painted white on the inner side and brick-red at the exterior.

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