Mumbai-based Spasm Design keeps its approach simple, its outlook global and its philosophy always leaning towards better understanding of cultures.
Spasm Design was started in 1995, so it has had much time to coast along and re-define its focus and philosophy. Founded by Mumbai-educated Sanjeev Panjabi and Sangeeta Merchant, the firm has been engaged in residential, commercial and mixed use projects in both India and Tanzania in East Africa.
Over this period, Spasm has carefully formed a work ethic that rolls in practicality and its own brand of philosophy. Working in two geographical zones that could find climatic similarities, but many cultural differences, the team aims to deliver “endearing, relevant, humane” projects.
The firm’s recent focus has been on family homes, villas and commercial office towers. The team of 13 mostly keeps the look of their projects simple, focusing more on using sturdy, reliable materials and enhancing the existing aura of the location.
The firm also has a keen awareness of the importance of furniture pieces in complementing the design of a place.
It dabbles in wooden pieces, moulding them innovatively into unconventional table legs and chairs, lamp posts and more.
This project showcases the firm’s trademark quality of work – completion in the shortest possible available time. When Panoramah, a door and window systems company, wanted to display its minimal window systems and seamless glass railings at an industrial shed, it roped in Spasm to design the kiosk.
The firm had a good idea in hand, but just 48 hours to execute it. What it came up with was a concrete hunk in the shape of a cuboid, seemingly floating on water. The set-up displayed Panoramah’s products’ forte with stylish ingenuity – the water, with the cuboid astride it, represented lightness and seamlessness. Additionally the hollow inside of the cuboid morphed into a meeting point for the visitors, with two sides showing off the pavilion’s spread.
This project, though seemingly simple, depicts Spasm’s out-of-the-box approach, even if it means setting up something at a largely colourless expanse. The use of water was a self-explanatory addition that benefited both Spasm and its client. It also set apart this corner from the rest, without trying too hard.
Spasm’s restorative instincts are at their peak here. Built in an 88-year-old church property, this mansion is a minimalist shrine adorned with Cuddapah flooring, and walls, ceilings, awnings and doors made of smooth salvaged wood.
The stone accords it a quaint under-construction look, while the wood is just brilliant in contrast. 3,000 sq ft of the area is supported by 4 cast iron columns.
What Spasm did was to re-imagine this space by capitalising on the shell it was handed; the firm did this by keeping the spirit of the place alive and introducing minimal material intervention. The firm made good use of the previous false ceiling, which was 7 feet deep, and shot blasted the paint off the columns to reveal old metal. A grey troweled plaster coat rendering followed, and what came out was a shining example of what a culturally-conscious design firm can do with a decades-old space.
This firm is in love with natural hues and textures, and lets this loose whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The Bagamoyo House took 3 years to realise, but its effect again is deceptively simple. Facing the Indian Ocean as it is, it had a brilliant view as an advantage from the word go. To build something here meant creating a mirror to reflect the beauty that already exists. Spasm did this by constructing a roof that unleashed a mighty spike in the air on one end, and put in place enough glass and wood to attract every sliver of sunlight in.
The gazebo structure, the luxurious pool and the ample ground run over by foliage just add to the planned rustic look of the place. Apparently, the comment from the clients was “heaven”, and that describes it the best, don’t you agree?
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Designer