The Gandhi residence, designed by ZZ Architects in Mumbai, stands in pretty contrast to the city it resides in – it is spacious, full of natural light, and has immense capacity to provide meditative peace to its residents.
In Mumbai, space is the most ostentatious symbol of luxury. In this bustling metropolis, a 3,500 sq ft spread of stony elegance, under a warm yellow glow, would land at the top of the table of gracious living.
The Gandhi residence, designed with a fine hand by ZZ Architects, is a quietly beautiful temple of comfort. There are no eccentric flourishes here, at least none that are in your face. This home is a serene sanctuary of elegance located in the centre of relentless bustle.
The house combines the easy-on-the-eye colour tones of a meditation centre and the precise contours of a luxury hotel. The designers have put to use the natural colour and texture of stone to accord the residence a distinct look. The other materials used in turn enhance the look of the stone – the glass windows welcome brilliant sunlight, setting up a game of reflections; and the lamps, throwing out in some places close-to-sepia tones of light, infuse a calm, relaxed vibe into the air.
All this makes the stone look like a happy partner in a stress-busting scheme. The juxtaposition of natural and artificial light is so clever that the home seems to change costumes – in the day it is the meditative, spiritual being; at night it is an elegant fashionista with a taste for sublime pastels.
The lower floor of this duplex apartment is dominated by a brilliantly unconventional staircase – unconventional because from the width of the stairs to the angle of its tilt, nothing is uniform. It is framed by glass blocks, which cloak in the sunlight and seem to disappear during the day.
The stairwell is surrounded by glass windows, setting up endless city views for the residents of the home. Below the curve of this structure is a pool of water, winking in the sunlight and sending up restless shadows in reply. This part of the house is the playground of criss-crossing lines and reflections; the fun is to know which is real light and which one is the product of all the glass additions!
Sitting pretty beside the staircase is the dining area with cosy, green-cushioned chairs and a couch. Lording over the shiny square table is an unusual ceiling lamp structure with brown-stained stalactite-like glass hangings. The drawing room has more wooden accents and cladding instead of stone, with shiny silver cushions making a rare statement of bling. A window-side elevated settee gets closer to the view and the genteel terrace garden.
The geometric precision on the walls and floors, and the minimal embellishments, give the whole house a feel of constant movement – while walking on the floor, looking up at the ceiling or while staring out of the many, many windows, all you will think of is ‘sheer space’.
At the Gandhi residence, ZZ Architects have let loose the natural charms of certain fool-proof materials – the ever reliable granite, the fascinating effect of long-winding lines across a large space, nimble lamps that are more mood-lighting than scorchers, and the city landscape as wallpaper. It really is a simple home, elevated to design perfection by smart placements. This home has enough space, enough light and just the right touch of quirkiness to keep any family happy.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect