The Poddar house has an aura – an incandescent energy that vibrates incessantly; simple in appearance, the spaces within and outside it, resonate soulfully; this is a constant feature in all of Husna Rahaman’s works.
As we come by Poddar house, our vision is arrested by the composition of orange, beige and white planes looking down at us, welcoming us into its portals. The design scheme has adhered to Vastu elements; hence straight lines govern the textured external façades. A white finger wall casts dramatic shadows on the walls throughout the day; the longer facades, window shades and full height rectangular glazing contribute to some more linear patterns adding to the drama. This keeps us enthralled even as we step inside and are greeted by spacious, airy and well lit volumes.
At the entrance foyer one gets a kaleidoscopic view of all the public spaces – open kitchen, dining room and living room on the ground floor and of the family room at the next level. Concurrently the use of glazing panels that run the full height, guarantee a steady play of shifting shadows. The perimeters of the functional spaces in the ground floor are defined not by walls, but by ceilings, while the circulation passages are devoid of ceiling and run the entire height of the house ensuring openness throughout.
The white volumes on the ground floor set the bright furniture, finishes and illumination features to an advantage. The dialogue between the different levels and the inside-outside is a quality that has been intentional, as Husna believes her spaces need to be emotive. According to her, ‘emotion is e + motion, and spaces which are in such a state of constant motion are filled with zeal and passion.
Immediately above the living room is the family room, a double heighted space that has clear views into the spaces below and the beautiful landscape outside. We are led to this space by a staircase which for the longest time has been an intrinsic tool towards creating architectural drama; in the Poddar house it translates as a design constituted in two parts – granite tread and risers with glass railing lead you to the first landing and thereafter wood and metal become the key materials.
The open planning is limited to the public rooms; the bedrooms are encased and have been personalised according to the occupant’s tastes, but with strokes that maintain the vibrant energy. The children, who are crazy football fans, find their heroes idolised in the huge graphics papering the walls in their bedroom. A younger and more youthful approach to the design of these spaces and the furniture has ensured a personal experience that has been welcomed.
The master bedroom on the contrary is elegant in beige and white tones of granite draping every surface of the room. Splashing red into the room is a Prasanna Kumar painting framed on a Japanese shoji – a sliding panel which unifies and separates the bedroom from the glass walled bathroom.
Husna has used lighting as an architectural tool, to transform every brick into a magical dot; she has used the element in its many natural and artificial versions to transform unique spatial equations with the vast volumes. Large windows allow abundant natural radiance – the light and shadow effects of which create dramatic pauses where ever it falls. Artificial lighting on the other hand in myriad unique features, bejewels the hiatus in the spaces, transcending from one definition to other.
By allowing a free passage to external elements, like air, light and scenic views, through the numerous small and large fenestrations the house rises above being just that and becomes a haven. Husna Rahaman’s designs are defined by thespian compositions that weave textures, colours, architectural elements, light and frequently surprising strokes in one unified entity.