A dance studio, rendered in the French style, brings old world charm waltzing into the modern world.
Tucked away in a basement in bustling Bandra, is this quaint, elegant, multi-disciplinary space aptly named House of Wow (HOW). Designed by Design Office, a Mumbai based practice; this 1100 sq ft space oozes a quaint charm from every nook and corner of the cabin, studio and other spaces accommodated within.
Rishita Das and Rushda Hakim, principal architects at Design Office explain to us, “It was a generic requirement that the decor contributes substantially to the USP of the studio.” A delicate French vintage theme was adopted which emphasises superior quality and opulence, and gives HOW a distinct statement.
Situated in a basement, the only external facade was the entrance, which the designers gave a full vintage look to; a white wrought iron door with white name plates were designed in accordance with the style. The short descent down a few steps towards the foyer becomes interesting with the ceiling illumination spelling out the word ‘HOW’.
The vintage look in continuum is attained through a soft colour palette and curvy furniture; waiting in the foyer is a pleasure as unique decor elements keep one engaged. As we stand there, we realise that a lack of an external facade did not hold back designers Rishita and Rushda. Explain the duo, “The studio wall is treated like a ‘house’ facade with a French arched door flanked by two vintage windows, complete with flower baskets below.”
The studio, carpeted in hardwood flooring and lined with mirrors takes the theme to a crescendo. A fireplace fits perfectly into the style and houses the audio visual equipment while moulding on the ceiling, floral prints, lush trims and carved wooden furniture add to the sophisticated French theme.
Mentions Rushda, “Our client, a passionate dancer herself, had simple requirements which have been included into the layout. She was particular about just two things – sound insulation and a good audio-visual system – which are paramount in any dance studio.” To ensure this, fabric has been used to line the walls as an added feature for sound insulation and absorption.
The main cabin is the epitome of French design, and we can find all elements associated with the style in it. Though small and compact, the flowery wallpaper and antiquated furniture accents that include a vintage desk, Irani chairs and a bench upholstered in flower patterned fabrics, give the space a cosy appeal. Rishita points out to us one of their many ‘chor bazaar buys’ – “the suspended brass lamp makes for an interesting visual and creates amazing light and shadow patterns.”
But ask them their favourite space, and they will take you to the washroom where you are transported straight back to a French Mansion from the 60s. A pedestal vintage basin, floral wallpaper and white surfaces merge into a beautiful backdrop for the cut glass chandelier – the true show-stopper. “A beautiful play of shadows occurs constantly thanks to the chandelier,” shares Rushda.
The beauty of HOW does not just lie in the excellent execution of the delicate and elegant theme, but also in the quirky accessories placed around to give that interesting twist to the décor. Rushda and Rishita elaborate, “Knick knacks from chor bazaar contributed to the styling – brass bracket lights are used for illumination, an old typewriter becomes a pamphlet holder, a ‘tin peti’ doubles up as a centre piece and bird cage lights line the studio wall.”
The need to make a unique statement with the built space was a requisite for the multi-purpose studio, and by selecting a theme that exuded luxury, elegance and style, Rishita Das and Rushda Hakim not only gave HOW a graceful sophisticated French look but also an old world appeal that charms every visitor. The melange of quirky knick-knacks in conjunction with the thematically planned interiors, create a spatial experience that is nothing short of ‘parfait’.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Courtesy Abner Fernandes