Materials, textures and illumination – these are powerful tools which ZZ Architects have used wisely and creatively to create a home that is apt for the dancer and yesteryear’s actress who owns the house.
Every house is a statement, and when it belongs to the ‘Dream Girl’ of Bollywood, Hema Malini, one is sure to find, etched on the walls and ceilings, the grace and glamour that personify her. The onus of designing this Juhu home lay on architects Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainuddin of ZZ Architects, a Mumbai based design firm, known for their inherent talent in experimentation. A very Indian decor, wrapped in a contemporary tone seems to be the underlying theme, in what the architects describe as ‘a luxurious living statement for the ‘Dream Girl’ of Bollywood.’
As we make our way from the foyer into the inner sanctums, it dawns on us that for the most part, the spaces keep to a palette of brown, accentuated with rich textures, colours and fabrics. In the foyer, multiple material layers – fragile glass, solid wood panelling and polished stone, meld to create a warm yet chatoyant atmosphere which beckons us to be explorative.
A 3D lattice work in stone adorns the wall, guiding our vision to the backyard exit barred by a uniquely detailed jali door that takes its design from the textures present around and visually defines the lobby space.
This visual continuity is found in other parts of the house too; the architects linked a small terrace, the living room, dining area and a kitchenette in a single vein merely with the help of spatial extensions.
The dining area is a glass cube which facilitates communing with nature, and is easily a favourite of the architects. They elaborate, “The dining area has been designed as a glass conservatory. Designed with a lot of attention to detail, the space offers stunning views of the city’s skyline especially during rains.”
Rich stone flooring as a canvas for the inclined clear glass walls, pristine white furnishings and minimal decor, renders a contemporary appeal to this volume. To add the ‘zing’ factor, is an onyx box lit from within that acts as the dining table support; its fiery hues lighting everything nearby. Observes Hema Malini, “The original space on my floor had a quarter of the area as a terrace. But by bringing in a bit of this terrace area into the room, Zubin has provided me with an open-to-the-sky dining area, with a terrace view.”
The dining area’s minimalistic appeal is counterpoised by the rich material palette, sublime textures and earthy tones in the capacious living room. An array of objets d’art collected over the years find their setting in specially created niches and ledges, and completes the look of the opulent, yet graceful living room.
Sitting in the chocolate hued living room, the illumination mesmerises us – onyx shelves glowing like fire and a surreal speckled wave, along with other ambient lighting features. At this point, Krupa Zubin points out, “lighting was considered as the most significant element ofdesign and we used it to add an elusive imaginative touch throughout the house.”
The illumination design changes the aura of the spaces; onyx shelves and table supports that glow like a dull fire adds phantasmagorical warmth to the chic decor. While speaking of ZZ Architects’ expertise in aesthetic lighting designs, Hema Malini says, “In one of our early meetings, in a very fluid, dance-like movement I made a gesture of a wave-like ceiling that I always had in mind. Zubin has created that same movement in the form of a ceiling-structure in my room, complete with subtle lights which are so relaxing in the evenings.”
While the personal bedroom is a grand statement, it is a simple and minimal plan for the pooja-room which according to Hema Malini is her favourite spot.
Details define the essence of the house, which is a shell of luxury interlaced with a practical functioning design. According to architects Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainuddin, “The home gets its unique character from the elegant juxtaposing of different elements like wood, bright wall finishes, stone, gold leafed surfaces and glass amongst others.” The myriad material palette connects spaces and partitioned zones, while lighting features embellish the entire expanse, like jewels do in inlay work.
The aim, the architects mention, was to create ‘a luxurious living statement for the ‘Dream Girl’ of Bollywood’, and the house provides not just spaces but experiences by way of the glass cube as dynamic as nature itself, the dull fiery glow of honey onyx lights and speckled waves in the lap of warm luxury. Hema Malini herself states, “Each day I discover a new, beautiful corner in my home, and a new way to enjoy that space.” A ‘Dream House’ indeed for the ‘Dream Girl’!
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Nrupen Madhvani , Courtesy ZZ Architects