Rakeshh Jeswaani of RJIA Studio designs a luxurious 12,000 sq ft bungalow in Indore, replete with courtyard, garden and pool. Like a leitmotif, Indian crafts are reinterpreted in a contemporary idiom, to create a home which is rooted in its time and place and yet timeless.
Approaching this home is through a huge wooden canopy which slants over the porch, appearing to slice through the top of the main door as it enters the space within.
The solid wood door with an enormous round beaten metal handle, has glass replacing what would usually be a wall around it. “There were no security issues,” says Rakeshh.
Inside, the canopy folds over the ceiling in repeated pleats of solid timber which run the length of the corridor. Its dark hue is in stark contrast to the white flooring and walls, as it sets the tone for the voyage of discovery in the design.
The courtyard has a water body with a champa tree in its midst – a connect with nature which is established right from the centre of the house. The skylight above brings natural light to the inner core of the space.
Traditional Indian crafts repeatedly find their mojo in the décor. A console with ‘tekri’ mirror work from Udaipur aligns itself with the wall in the entrance lobby. A plank from Bali offers seating in this area, while a stone carving adorns the glass wall at the far end. The backdrop of the mandir is in mother of pearl and steel inlay, while the doors are in wooden carving with a silver foil covering.
The bar, living and dining spaces are interconnected. Sliding panels in aluminium leafwork come together to conceal the contents of the bar when not in use. Customised bar chairs in wood have purple upholstery and a swivel base for convenience. The living room has two seating arrangements, with simple contemporary sofas and an onyx top coffee table. A Seema Kohli painting animates the space with its brilliant colours.
The second seating arrangement has three round tables topped with black mirror. ‘Morning Glory’, an 8 ft tall sculpted floor lamp (made of treated silk laid on a metal structure) by Ayala Serfaty, stand tall in one corner, provoking conversation.
Purple accents abound, in the cushions, sofas and accessories. A Paresh Maity in blazing hues effortlessly holds its own against the purple.
In the dining room, Italian chairs and a mother of pearl runner on the dining table do their bit to up the luxury quotient. The walls are covered with a grey veneer and a serving counter replaces a sideboard. Wooden doors in brown lead to the kitchen and a powder room which has a chunky customised basin in Italian marble with a floor mounted tap.
The lift is positioned behind the water body in the courtyard, so it’s not visible from the entrance. A cabinet adjacent to it is an intriguing combination of mirror and beaten copper strips. But its modern treasure chest detailing merely encases the motor and machinery of the lift. True to form, only all things beautiful are visible in this house.
The staircase has thick marble slabs for treads and a glass railing, except at the base, where wooden panels with lotus carvings provide a contrast to the airiness of the glass. The family room overlooks a large stone sleeping Buddha with a water body behind it. “Curtains are replaced by sliding wooden jaali panels which look good from the exterior,” says Rakeshh.
The TV room is an extension of the family room. Four recliner cinema chairs in brown leather, wooden flooring and coffee table blocks from Tranceforme collude to provide a cosy den-like feel.
The master bedroom has a solid wood floor in a large herringbone pattern, while the wall behind the bed has been upholstered from end to end. The chest at the foot of the bed is from Pinakin.
The daughter’s bedroom has a large purple sofa placed on a grey marble platform at one end of the room, contrasting with the rest of the flooring in wood. Inviting closer inspection is the artwork by an artist from Bali, created from scrolls of paper. In the bathroom, the piece de resistance is the bar code design consisting of pink, white and purple stripes painted on wood and given a polyurethane coating for a mirror-like gloss.
The son’s room is in red, white and blue, with a bed from Fimes, an Italian company specialising in bedroom furniture. Only one bedside table is backed with a shiny red lacquer, the asymmetry upping the design ante. A large acrylic bulb provides illumination. The adjacent bath has small white squares in rough white marble, with blue accents.
Bringing together tradition and modernity while combining the detailing of Indian craftsmanship with Western sensibilities, it appears that Rakeshh has a recipe for a timeless aesthetic.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Courtesy The Designer