Rajiv Saini & Associates compel Atelier Giorgetti’s first space in Mumbai to shed its garb of a showroom and don that of a home.
The white sheets on the plush mattress invite you to rest a minute away from your busy schedule. But a minute is not enough. You curl your legs up on the bed and think, ‘One more minute won’t hurt.’ The next thing you hear is a subtle clearing of the throat. You wink one eye open at the polite, smiling face peering at you.
‘Comfortable, isn’t it?’
“Yes, home-like” is your sheepish reply as you step off with as much poise as you can muster.
When Rajiv Saini & Associates were approached by Atelier Giorgetti to design their first showroom in Mumbai, they knew they did not want it to look like just any other furniture showroom. The client brief was open – a space to showcase their furniture. The 4000 square feet space acquired by Giorgetti was on the tenth and eleventh floors of a new residential development and also included the 12th floor terrace space.
The location prompted the design team at Rajiv Saini & Associates to style the project as an apartment house rather than a showroom. Rajiv says, “The idea was to retain the feel of a home. We did not want it to be a typical showroom with six sofas lined up, followed by six beds and so on.” The partition walls of the original apartments were gutted and a more open plan was incorporated to give the visitor an impression of meandering through a private home.
Rajiv adds, “The client was very receptive to our ideas. We also had the liberty to pick the furniture pieces we wanted to place as per our design sensibilities. Of course, these will change periodically to display newer designs, etc.”
The first level of the house has been dedicated to the bedroom suites. A large four poster bed with a contemporary twist takes centre-stage in one bedroom. Side tables, armchairs and other pieces of furniture in complementary shades of wood accessorise the room and complete it. The other bedroom is marginally smaller.
“I don’t have a favourite element in this house says Rajiv, rather the entire lower level with the bedrooms is my personal favourite space. I feel that the layout is beautiful. The flow of spaces between the larger master bedroom and the other bedroom is near perfect. Both rooms are fully private, yet they have an open plan, there is a conversation between the two spaces.”
The upper level has been divided to display different seating arrangements and a dining area. The terrace displays Giorgetti’s comprehensive range of outdoor furniture. And, with the expansive views of the city on offer, it also doubles up as an ideal venue to host events and introduce new collections at same time. A meeting room has also been incorporated to provide a meeting space with architects.
In its 112 year old existence Giorgetti furniture has become associated with the highest degree of craftsmanship in leather and timber. The design team wanted to juxtapose these materials against a more modern palette of materials. Limed oak, blackened metal and resin have been used across the apartment.
“These are not materials we would traditionally use in an apartment. Since this is not an apartment that is actually going to be lived in, we could experiment with unusual materials.”
The design team also did not have to be concerned with practical issues, like storage, generally involved in the planning of a house. “In that sense it was a more fun, and easy project,” says Rajiv.
Rajiv Saini & Associates have been associated with several residential and commercial projects since their inception. So how different is it working on a project that is a sort of an amalgamation of both? Rajiv replies, “Our strength is in details and attention to every minute aspect of the larger picture. There is always a diversity in the nature and scope of one project from another, but the level of integrity across the board is just the same.”
Text By Himali Kothari
Photographs Sebastian Zachariah Courtesy The Architects