Mumbai-based MuseLAB is an ambitious but level-headed firm that is slowly building up a portfolio of elegant projects. Architects Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani bonded over a common love for food, travel and design to form MuseLAB in 2012. Since then, the young team has been gradually building up a work ethic founded on an aesthetic of elegance and attention to detail.
MuseLAB’s flourish is in the not-so-obvious details of a project. When presented with a simple plan, the team has the gumption to go simple, while always being attached to a philosophy of adding interesting, slightly impish accents to the scheme, just to make sure nothing ever gets boring.
The bedrock of the MuseLAB team’s understanding of beauty is restraint. Clutter will be hard to come by in their designs, instead there will be neutral colours awash with sunlight and breathy spaces that just happen to have some essential furniture in them. For this young firm, everything synthetic is an accessory to enhancing the naturally beautiful.
Light Play, Mumbai
This resplendent apartment at Khar is a classic MuseLAB specimen – spare and serene, but spotted with delightful surprises. The credit of this project’s implementation lies not in its blatant flourish, but in its calm aesthetic.
The clients wanted a simple and straightforward house, and the design team decided to follow this by the letter. The two bedroom flat was to stand in the midst of abundant sunlight, so MuseLAB hatched up a smart plan; they installed screens with dramatic geometric patterns to make the light slit and slide in. Such a screen stands at the entranceway to the house, while another blocks the bedrooms and the puja room from behind the bar.
Aiding these effects is a window grill fitted with patterns resembling distant birds in the sky. These elements team up with the tastefully subdued ochre and grey tones of the house and unleash a constant ‘play’ of light, shade and patterns, on the floor, walls and the curtains. Not to mention, they also bring in an overall sense of impetuousness that will break any possible monotony for the four residents of the home.
Braided Comfort, Mumbai
To identify MuseLAB’s leitmotif, look for tasteful geometric patterns, sometimes in unexpected places; a romantic exploration of natural light; and one common design detail that will be peppered around the space. The living room furniture here has a distinct thick braiding pattern that makes it look sturdy and long-lasting.
The light curtains are breezy, and the colour scheme is populated by red, grey, and ivory, with surprises of lively blue. The shiny surfaces ensure generous sweeps and spots of light all around.
While basking in the overall aura, don’t miss the lamps that look like they were made of crumpled paper, and the brilliant blue chaise lounge against a silken patterned curtain background. MuseLAB has succeeded in designing a home that is both warm and welcoming for kids, and of a bespoke feel for the adults.
First Social, Dehradun
With this project, MuseLAB wants to turn the definition of social housing design on its head.
First Social is still in the proposal stage, but its ambition is to be a 40-acre, valley-facing example of a sensitively-planned living area for three segments of a population – EWS (economically weaker section), LIG (lower income group), and LMIG (lower-middle income group).
The construction area ratio here will be of 1:2:4, and the plan includes a primary health centre and school; a green court; a shopping complex; a pre-existing nallah that will be revived to form a canal with its own street walk; a park; and more.
“The idea is that a social housing project doesn’t have to look bad. The plan is to make it more live-able and more social, where life is also much better,” says Pirani.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy Sameer Tawde and MuseLAB