Opolis Architects design a South Mumbai apartment with spaces that have the ability to morph in response to the varying requirements of its occupants.
The designer duo Rahul Gore and Sonal Sancheti at the helm of Opolis Architects approach all their projects with one basic philosophy: KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid! “When we design a space, we believe in creating the shell and then leaving it to the client to take it further.
Thus, the space must be designed in a manner that makes it possible for the client to experiment with it and make it their own,” says Rahul.
It is important for architects to be in tune with the clients’ expectations and the client brief for this South Mumbai flat was precisely detailed. “It was for a nuclear family with two young kids. The couple had travelled the world over before they decided to make their home in India. During their travels they had collected a lot of art which also needed to become a part of their home”, says Sonal.
As the Opolis team interacted with the clients they realised that their tastes were elegant yet down to earth. A good flow of natural light and fresh air was important to them. The team also had to find a balance between keeping the house kid-friendly and at the same time make it appropriate for the occasions when the couple entertained.
Says Sonal, “We had to do some internal planning to ensure that the home was everything the family envisioned it to be. The original layout, as it was planned by the builder, was altered significantly.” The larger bedrooms have been converted into the master bedroom and the children’s room.
“Concrete walls make spaces inflexible and both contracting and expanding spaces becomes a challenge,” says Rahul. In a city like Mumbai that is cramped for space, the flexibility in the use of different spaces can be a big bonus. A rarely used guest room would take up valuable space; so instead a study and TV room that can be turned into a third room on a need basis, has been incorporated.
Cleverly configured sliding and folding doors close in when a third room is needed. Otherwise the doors remain folded out adding expanse to the living and dining areas. Rahul says, “This sliding door is one of my favourite elements in this house because it is interesting how it conveniently opens up the space.” Extending the aspect of multi-purpose spaces further is the bar on the deck which stays snug against the wall when not in use but can be easily slid out when the couple is entertaining.
A floor-to-ceiling ‘black box’ forms the core of the house. Covered with black wallpaper in its entirety, it houses the master wardrobes and an ornate guest bathroom.
Another interesting element is the little study provided for the lady of the house who works mostly out of her home. “The location of the study was important. It had to be a place which would allow her to work in peace but at the same time be centric enough to be able to keep an eye on her kids and the goings-on in her home”, says Sonal. Its position within the TV room takes care of all these parameters and the tall façade of the desk ensures privacy and hides the clutter.
An exposed concrete wall takes up one length of the living room. This does two things. One, it provides an ideal backdrop for some of the clients’ art collection; and two its continuation into the deck blends the inside with the outside. Natural light plays an important role in the wellbeing of a place and giving it the correct energy. This concrete wall extends the inside and also pulls the natural light inwards.
In the design of this apartment, Opolis Architects manage to design a home that expands and contracts as desired; a home that endeavours to fulfill all the requirements of its occupants in a complete and elegant manner.
Text By Himali Kothari
Photographs Prashant Bhat