The Chalet is a new addition to Hyderabad’s landscape, encompassing the ideas of co-working space, cultural centre and sustainable living
The sprawling house that was once the address of The Sage Farm Café (which has hence moved to a new location), on Road no 52, Nandagiri Hills, Jubilee Hills, is now The Chalet — an umbrella under which there’s a co-working space, cultural centre to host workshops, and a retail space with a focus on sustainable products.
The Chalet is founded by Tanya Rao, who has been observing the growth of multi-cultural spaces and feels Hyderabad can do with a few more options. She stresses on ‘Community over competition’ and is open to collaborations.
The house is spread over 10,000 square feet, with an outside area of 1,800 square yards. Three co-working spaces are available on the first floor while the ground floor has a retail section showcasing artisanal products by 25 different labels; 21 of these are run by women. Yoga and a few activity sessions, soap making and pottery for instance, will be conducted in one of the smaller outdoor areas. An erstwhile garage transformed into an auditorium is where theatre workshops and healing sessions will be held.
Tanya Rao at The Chalet
| Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal
Tanya dabbled with a few other things before she founded The Chalet. She played professional tennis for 10 years, from the age of seven, before she quit due to injuries. She studied mass communication in college, after which she had a brief stint in television journalism. “It wasn’t my cup of tea,” she says, looking back.
She had grown up watching her mother, who runs the handloom enterprise Kikabilla, work with artisans and weavers and instinctively decided to have a new clothing label. However, she couldn’t look past the urge to do more, and joined KWAN Entertainment’s south team where she worked for three years. “This gave me the exposure to work closely with influential people and more importantly, made me zero in on what I want to do,” says Tanya.
She wants The Chalet to cater to a large section of people. Hence the coming together of co-working space, an activity centre, café and retail. “If I did only retail and café, it will welcome a niche segment. I want this space to offer something more. If a parent and child want a fun outing, there are limited options in the city apart from movies, malls or eating out. I felt it would be nice to have sessions where a child and parent can try pottery, soap making or other such creative activities,” she reasons.
The Chalet will formally open on July 21, but has already begun conducting workshops on meditation, mindfulness and permaculture.
The garden in the house has a vegetable patch and Tanya loves to harvest fresh greens and toss together a quick meal. The premises will also have a café (which is likely to open towards the end of August) and will build on the idea of eating healthy and fresh food. She hopes that the premises can host more permaculture workshops that encourage participants to grow their own vegetables.
A postion of the retail space at The Chalet
| Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal
The retail space brings together a bouquet of things — paintings, handlooms, utilitarian products made by artisans in Sri Lanka, nut butters, pickles and preserves from farm-fresh produce, and a lot more. Archana Rao will be designing a special line of handloom clothing for The Chalet. “The focus will be on sustainable products as much as possible,” says Tanya.
There are more plans. Tanya hopes to start an incubation centre for women entrepreneurs and a plastic recycling drive, inviting people to drop off their plastic bottles once a month. A group of artisans will recycle the plastic into planters, bird feeds or even sculptures.
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