Gurgaon-based DADA not only works with contemporary materials and a global approach, but also keeps Indian traditional architectural wisdom close to its heart.
DADA an acronym for Design and Development Atelier, is a firm that boasts of a portfolio composed of architectural urban design and planning projects. The four design principals, Sumit Arora, Parul Mittal, Mukul Arora and Aditi Gupta Arora, pour in their international work experiences and attempt to accord every project global wings but traditional roots.
The firm’s collective consciousness works to build spaces that break away from conventional ideas and have distinct characters of their own. DADA applies this philosophy to residential and commercial projects, as well as to buildings that will house educational institutions. The result has been a body of work that is slick and contemporary, but yet not without solid Indian traditional inspirations. So in the midst of a glass and metal sprawl, one will notice a courtyard-like sensibility, with all rooms existing in their bubbles and still having a common meeting point.
The team works with an astute eye on the modernist look, and that has added a few futuristic elements in the landscapes their projects exist in.
Nicknamed “Street Smart” this residential block in New Delhi breaks the mould in so many ways that it can easily become DADA’s mascot of innovation. A tiny building located in a tiny locality, this monolithic structure seems like it is formed out of concrete blocks glued together. Turns out the architectural team was convinced about the interlocking effect of the ‘volumes and planes’ and therefore the resultant play of light and shadow.
The facade of this structure looks out to the street and offers brilliant views of its interiors, without ever compromising on the privacy factor. A hanging glass staircase connects the basement to the ground floor, and around it is the atrium entrance of the house.
DADA has focused on the ‘effect’ of materials here as opposed to a complete reliance on merely the ‘look’. So the gurgling of a cascade placed under the staircase is there more for the aural delight it will bring, than just for the aesthetics.
The Overhang House
The glass encasing that surrounds the atrium and protects the interiors from the dust and grime of the outside; but besides this it also makes for a tantalising peep into what the whole house is made up of.
All the solid glass, timber, granite and steel support systems have been enhanced with the help of manicured vegetation and lots of white pebble detailing. At night, whilst looking in from the street, a wildly colourful chandelier that looks like a nerve synapse system is sure to catch a lot of attention. DADA sure knows how to throw in these surprises.
So, it has been established that DADA has a genius for working with endless swathes of glass when building a house. And when the brief demanded a modernist home with the inclusion of all things sophisticated, the firm decided to put its favourite formula to work in earnest.
This sprawling Overhang House in Delhi again employs the busy effect of different levels of planes, both horizontal and vertical. This visual onslaught is so dynamic that it multiplies the slickness of the structure. Using louvers, cantilevers and sweeps of gleaming granite, the firm has built a space that is unabashedly contemporary.
The one traditional inspiration is the courtyard style buffer space that extends from the ground to the ceiling, establishing a viewing gallery to the outside.
With all the frame-less glass sheaths around, the whole structure has an incessant feel to it, and natural light is abundant. Behind all the material glitz though is a conscious effort at building a sustainable, weather-sensitive house.
And why has it been christened the ‘Overhang House’? Because the master bathroom, all 200 sq ft of massiveness, has been placed over the entrance cantilevers with no other support at all!
F3 Farmhouse Chattarpur
The markedly different thing about the F3 Farmhouse in Chattarpur which doubles up as a weekend escape spot, is its differentiation of the living area and its leisure section into two separate blocks. The former houses the informal zones as well as the bedrooms, while the latter encompasses a sauna, a gym, et al.
The team had 14,000 sq ft of playground to work in, so it built a centre court as the lungs that connect the two segments. The whole structure has the look of a luxurious clubhouse, with a huge pool and barbecue court in the middle. The overall language is of clean lines and gleaming wood-stone-ceramic interiors. The colours are subdued and elegant, and the greenery is well-groomed.
Built sensitively to satisfy the demands of a client who envisioned a generous space in which to relax city-stressed nerves, the design team has refrained from cramming it with furniture or any other non-essential matter. Instead, the house offers several possibilities of walking around, with good views guaranteed inside and outside. A great “space” indeed!
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photos By Ranjan Sharma, Lightzone India