Bengaluru-based GRCA (Gaurav Roy Choudhury Architects) takes on a limited number of projects but has become an expert hand at creating elegant and welcoming spaces, be it homes or work spaces.
“I always look at my spaces from a perception/projection point of view, vis-à-vis human beings. I try to keep my projects ‘real’ and ‘feel oriented’ as against the incoherent versions, which has become a fad today. I deal in spaces, light, ventilation and emotion; in surprise, drama, awe and eventually peace of mind,” says designer, Gaurav Roy Choudhury.
GRCA was established in 2007, and has since then fortified a commitment to building a portfolio that is based on delivering solid, context-based solutions to design demands, rather than just accumulating names and numbers. This mature restraint is clearly observed in every aspect of the firm’s projects.
Laguna Clothing Factory, Bengaluru
This factory is remarkable in more ways than one, the most endearing of which is its jolly embrace of the idiosyncrasies of its Italian-French ownership and the crazy outskirts of its Bengaluru location.
Starting with the façade, which is mostly white, with a red chunk stuck to it, looks like a wrong puzzle piece. This ‘Red Box’ in fact houses the executive guest house and the board room; it was designed deliberately to showcase the ownership-worker dynamics at play. But that is where the juxtaposition of differences ends, because inside all effort is tilted towards integration and work-flow efficiency.
Laguna Clothing Pvt. Ltd. came into being when a French-Mauritian shirt-making company and an Italian fabric manufacturer joined forces, and after three years of operation in the city, decided to build a factory at Kanakpura, situated 55kms from the Bangalore city.
The largely linear plot of 1,25,000 sq ft area comfortably makes space for the over 1,500 workers, while the rest of the spaces go about explicitly breaking down barriers. The crèche, medical centre and children’s play area are located in the front garden, while the factory and the administrative block have no walls dividing their edges.
The spaces are all roomy and airy, with lots of natural light; the building is energy-efficient and recycles all of its water. And in the process, also manages to turn the grimy stereotype of the ‘factory’ on its head.
Ghose House, Bengaluru
This beautiful home is situated in Bengaluru and its location signifies the widening concretisation of this metropolis’ borders. The Ghose House faces a valley which was once a lake, and will soon become the spot for something sprawling and man-made. This fact, in part, necessitated the home’s insularity.
It had to become an escape, an ensconce. And like every home with great substance, it also had to become the demarcation in the midst of all the noise, heat and unexpected developments.
Imagining such a nuanced set-up right in the middle of encroaching construction is a tough call, and GRCA does a great job of it. It moves from the outside shell, which is protected by a stone wall, through some planned greenery to a brick landscape wall. Hovering above it is the home’s building, its lower floor peeping above the brick wall and the upper floor boldly stretching out beyond the periphery.
The home’s interiors on the other hand are flushed with light and air; with the dominance of pristine white and deep wooden browns in the colour scheme.
Balconies and small gardens open up to greet the trees outside, while cosy corners shield everything away from prying eyes. Apart from the obvious beauty of the colour combinations, the spare furniture layout, one remarkable accent wall, and all the lovely greenery adds to the harmonic ensemble. It establishes an inside-outside dynamic, where there is not only enough nature around and inside, but also in existence are alcoves of privacy. Perfect homeliness, if such a thing can be defined.
This project was taken on by Roy Choudhury in 2003 and is titled ‘Changes in Perception and Projection of Mumbai in the post-liberalisation era: A study of Transport Infrastructure’.
Admittedly it was an exercise in imagining, or possibly rationally predicting, what the city can or would become if its destiny was hinged to its road transportation landscape. “It studied the spaces that were being created and predicted the spaces it would create,” he says.
The ideas in the fellowship seek out a more sanitised, gentrified cityscape, with all “dishevelled” elements pushed back from direct view.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs by Sindhur Reddy Courtesy the Designer