High on style, though not so keen on ‘getting into a style’, the Lotus team prefers to define the forces at play and then create the geometry that resolves it.
The 4 Design Principals, Ambrish Arora, Sidhartha Talwar, Ankur Choksi and Arun Kullu, at Lotus are aided in their quest for stretching architectural boundaries and taking design to an extreme at the conceptual stage by a 45 member strong team of architects and designers from multiple disciplines.
We uncover 3 diverse projects by Lotus across hospitality, residential sector and public spaces for you to discover the extent to which this team of architectural mavericks lives up to their moniker: the Lotus.
Designing the interiors of a new-age Bar+Lounge establishment for Shashank Sangall and Akshay Luthria across 7000 sq.ft at the Star Mall in Gurgaon required Sidhartha, Pankhuri, Arun, Vijendra, Navin & Ambrish from Lotus to create a contemporary space fulfilling many purposes in-house. These included client demands for housing a brew bar, a day and night restaurant, a dance floor and performance stage, all in one.
They responded by placing the brewery on the mezzanine level (to enhance the height and volume of the site) and making it the backdrop of the customer experience, locating the restaurant in the large cylindrical volume of the site space on the second floor, ensuring sufficient natural light from the north sun filtered in by day and strategically placing the bar/lounge in the darker section of the site.
Thus, every spot of seating at the restaurant allows you to get a glimpse of the brewery- serving as a reminder of the fresh beer being served to you!
Accommodating heavy-duty brewery equipment-displayed along the periphery of the space required the insertion of a structural grid to support the mezzanine, which led to two distinct zones being created here: the circular space housing the restaurant with high ceiling, with the brewery as a backdrop and the grid housing the lounge, which turns into the dance floor at night. An installation comprising of old beer bottles intersects both spaces.
Low-cost, recycled/ recyclable materials (paper tubes, chain mails etc) are cleverly contrasted with luxurious materials and finishes (shell clad with stained fire-brick, quilted leather sofas etc) and make for interesting diversions to be studied when waiting for the party to begin.
This residential and interior design project for a 3,000 sq ft holiday home on a hill with a 7.5 acre plot area built for Vikram Nair and his family entrusted to Lotus project team Ambrish Arora, Ankur Choksi and Manvendra Singh had a simple design intent – to maximise natural light entry in winters. This explains the positioning of the house – stepping down following the slope of the site and opening South and East faces to the valley.
The roof of the house emerges from the ground on the north side and along the length creating a cocoon-like experience for the residents, while its roof structure, a pre-stressed membrane clad in shingles inspired by basket weaving techniques, prolongs the sense of continuity and also serves to collect rainwater. Punctuations of various shapes and scales enable maximum solar gain; the split in the centre of the roof inserted as a truss support smaller and larger sections.
Entry to the house is marked through a curved skin forming the roof and back-wall of the house and reveals the entire valley in the process of walking to the living room or the dining room (located on the south deck) to a visitor. Each room in the house boasts a personal deck with a picturesque view of the Conoor countryside.
National Police Memorial
Designed in collaboration with Landscape architects Artemisia for the Government of India, the National Police Memorial conceived on the Shanti Path vista across a 4 acre site was picturised as enjoying high visibility of the site to encourage public interface.
The design for the memorial was invoked from the idea of two sheltering hands. The protective rings symbolize the layers of protection various police organizations grant us. These concentric rings consist of a gently sloping earth form, rings of native Delhi trees and a rainwater-fed moat planted with lotus flowers.
Other design elements within the periphery include an amphitheatre and ceremonial space, ascending ramps, internal spaces, the parikrama and a lotus pond besides a recreation zone.
Accessed from the Northern entry, a stonewall with the Ashoka Lion Capital and “Satyamev Jayate” cutout in stone, creates a patriotic first impression for visitors. The path connects with a stairway leading to the basement. A museum housing uniforms, medals and arms of the various Indian police agencies, display space for a looped A/V zone showing data on martyred police personnel, serve as poignant reminders that the numbers and names engraved in the Memorial were real people and aims at keeping their memories alive.
The ceremonial space is flanked by an amphitheatre and used for daily flag hoisting and lowering, Last Post (played every evening) and venue for functions on founding days of various police bodies.
Currently engaged in projects of various scales and typologies in multiple cities that include residential buildings, boutique hotels in the hills and the coast, an artist’s studio, an eco-development venture, a school, adaptive reuse projects in Mehrangarh, Fort Jodhpur, a new 170-room Park Hotel in Kochi and a 9 screen multiplex for PVR, team Lotus is scaling design dimensions as part of the process of evolving its entity – inspirationally.
Text By Deepanjolie Sonya Figg
Photographs Courtesy Lotus & André J. Fanthome