Design gurus at Atelier Dnd present their clients with a customised nesting solution for different generations. Their SW House project was conceived with a simple mantra: a crisp design and a seamless flow, where textures and various accents become its highlights.
“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can, oft times, arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there.”
Designer duo Shobhan and Anand, partners, founders and fellow architectural mavericks of Mumbai based firm Atelier Dnd love this quote by Steve Jobs – and also live it!
For them, designing has been always been about achieving a look of simplicity and sense of timelessness, which translates into understated elegance. Being committed creative professionals, the architects think creating a spatial programme is half the battle won. They regard the selection of finishes as the skin which enhances the core-space planning, which is why they presented the apartment in its raw shell condition – a decision that grants a beautiful sense of scale to its visitors.
As Shobhan explains, “Every project begins with a brief – an elaborate wish list – most of the times unreasonable – it is up to us as designers to rationalise these demands.” The clients in this case had great clarity, a definitive sense of requirements and design sensibility. This knowledge helped the designers in setting benchmarks for understanding the client’s nesting needs for the family of four (husband, wife and two school going sons) and room requirements were limited to two. They also felt the need to integrate a third multi-functional room that would be used as a media room cum guest room.
Thus, the design ideology was to keep the house modern yet functional and try and achieve a sense of understated elegance.
Shobhan and Anand, notwithstanding the clarity in briefing granted by the clients, do admit to a fair amount of challenge faced in interpreting the wishes of the client at a design level. “Ideas get diluted and revisiting the drawing board is a common woe,” they acknowledge. However, this didn’t transform into friction with the client as the design team strived to find a common wavelength and thus arrive at the design/functional goals.
The generous ceiling height and allowance for shifting of walls empowered them to achieve spatial clarity and avoid the stereotypical development of new apartment structures, which limit flexibility in plan and height. Their project became an exercise of architectural interior intervention in spatial organisation as they restructured the layout to suit the client brief.
Incorporating a feature wall was a well thought out gesture that serves to highlight the entry passage as it accentuates the entrance leading to the dining and living space. Enhancing the unique feel of the home, the bar and powder room were carved between the guest/entertainment room and the children’s room. A further sense of intimacy was granted to this space by placing an entertainment room with a generous library and study along with the master bedroom entrance tucked away from the living room.
Endowing a suite-like feel to the bedroom (it opens to a bathroom with a walk-in wardrobe) is a large deck that can be accessed from the two bedrooms and the living room.
A generous mix of Italian marble, slate, faux alabaster, metallic duco, distressed veneer and quartz makes up the material palette of the SW House project, which is calibrated in select spaces to differentiate the textural language and give a distinctive look to special nooks.
The signature stone wall defines the entrance passage, where a calibrated barcode pattern and mustard tones meet to match client preferences for colours that are “warm.” It also explains the beige palette elsewhere in the house.
The style of calibrated wooden strips is repeated on the bar ceiling too, where it becomes the backdrop and serves to camouflage the powder room behind it.
These and other small but expressive touches best interpret the soul of Shobhan and Anand’s design journey in a nutshell.
They say they’ve chipped away at the design and each time have had the blocks fall into place – and “things happened.” We know better!
More than a decade in business with the singular goal “to be honest, to design, to push the envelope” believing the rest will follow, the guys at Atelier Dnd have sculpted their love for travel, exploration of different cities and cultures, photography and the wonderful gift of artful construction into a binding factor that has honed their partnership into one that transcends pragmatic realism.
They live by Tom Peters credo “I know it sounds crazy, but you’ve got to let what you are going to do find you, rather than you pursuing it,” and their works clearly reflects this ease of living and loving it.
Text By Deepanjolie Sonya Figg
Photographs Atelier Dnd