Mumbai-based smstudio is an expert hand at converting cold, empty shells of buildings into dynamic spaces full of natural light and charm.
The firm smstudio came into being in 2007, with a wide-ranging interest in architecture, interior design, planning, base build and fit-out contracting services.
Led by Meghna Shetty and Suresh Mistry, the team’s focus has always been on building minimalist and elegant spaces. The use of clichéd props and loud colours is absent here and mood-lighting is a huge favourite.
The firm also has a distinct predilection towards constructing striking entrance-ways to buildings, be it homes or offices. And to top it all, solid aesthetics are matched by the shared vision of designing sustainable structures.
This multiple-award-winning project by smstudio highlights the firm’s brilliance in making the most of any given space, no matter how cramped or unwieldy.
This residence in the affluent area of Bandra in Mumbai exists in the generous space that connects two terraces at the top of an apartment building.
To tackle the challenge of the unusual space swathe, and to give the home a private bungalow feel, the team came up with a ‘shielded open plan’.
The roughly 9,000 sq. ft. area is split into two defined segments – the private and the public. The former includes the living room, the bedrooms, the puja room and across a raised platform, the kitchen and the guest room. The latter is populated by the business room, the bar and a formal office.
The beauty of this project is in its detailing. To accord the house the intended personalised abode-in-the-sky look, specific elements were chosen – a 20 ft. water curtain wall enhanced with mood lighting, patches of green grass, river washed pebbles across the terraces and lotus ponds.
This home also has rock solid green credentials. Natural light is abundant here, with two service ducts serving on both sides of the living room as sunlight conduits.
The entrance is especially ethereal because of its sky-light lounge look. The “extrovert-introvert” quality of the home was achieved by creating smart folding partitions, which bring the private spaces in contact with the public ones whenever desired.
Goverdhan Gardens is an exclusive 16-acre community of weekend homes in Jetpur-Surat, about 25 kms outside Surat, Gujarat. It is composed of 109 weekend homes that can each be designed according to the clients’ specific requests.
The entire township is built to be an escape paradise, with great views of natural beauty around. The design team was determined to make eco-friendliness the fulcrum of this project.
About 50% of each home here, built on a range of 367 sq. yards to 975 sq. yards plot size, is given to landscaped greenery. Sharp focus on the free flow of natural air and light make the villas stand low on the carbon-emission scale.
An area of 4,500 sq. yards has been used to build a posh Club House that has a wide range of facilities like sauna, massage rooms, a reading lounge, a party hall, a pool-side cafeteria, a gym, as well as a ground for weddings and parties.
The success of the smstudio team here is in realising a project that is spread across such a large area – but aims to be positioned at families looking for a ‘personalised’ second home.
Mocha Head Office
This head office reflects the calm minimalism of its product chain. The Mocha headquarters was built in a 100-year-old building in Byculla, Mumbai, with a design brief that specifically asked for restraint and minimalism.
The smstudio team replied by putting in Cuddapah clad black flooring; retaining all the old beams and columns of the erstwhile bakery; and putting up grey concrete walls. This accords the space a quaint dated feel, which is then contrasted bya few eclectic pieces of furniture and fittings.
The main office cabin overlooks the impressive conference room, which itself offers a view of the rest of the office – in effect building up a continuous gallery of transparency. The entire 5,000 sq. ft. office has a slick, linear feel.
The design team’s expertise was employed in recreating the cosy warmth of the flagship coffee chain outlets within the head office as well. Also interesting is the smattering of some smart interior design accents such as a monolithic table made of concrete and an antechamber full of meditative charm.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs The Architect