Bengaluru-based Techno Architecture Inc.’s talent is in realising simple, eclectically-designed projects that effortlessly mix traditional with contemporary minimalism.
Established in 2002 by Rajesh Shivaram, Techno Architecture Inc. likes to view its work as an effort in fruitfully combining the two disciplines of architecture and interior design. The team considers these two fields as being “symbiotic”, a sentiment that is clearly visible in all the firm’s projects – from the materials used, to the colour scheme, to the sustainable elements introduced, everything is designed to work together and not stand out pointlessly.
M House, Bengaluru
The odds were stacked high against this house, and they were also representative of the serious roadblocks that all urban construction in present-day Bengaluru faces. The available space was small – a 650 sq. ft. stretch near a pre-existing 3-storey structure. The site also faces a 6 mt. wide road, and is part of a claustrophobic residential cluster that is typical of Karnataka, making lighting design a massively difficult task as well.
So, naturally, making the most of what’s at hand and highly-disciplined minimisation of all forms became the design priority. The entire 3-storey structure was realised in steel, with a corrugated deck sheet roof and a building skin that was finished in 4-inch solid block masonry.
The ground floor is occupied by the car park and an office, while all the common/public areas populate the first floor. The floors above this become the site of all the private rooms.
Remarkably, even in these cramped conditions, the design team didn’t let go of their trademark style – the scheme includes a small reflective pool; a lap pool above the roof of the living room that is connected by a bar counter and a deck; green features like LED lighting, rainwater harvesting and solar heating; and toughened glass partitions between toilets and bedrooms, cleverly used to save space and invite more natural light.
Little India, Bengaluru
The roof of this restaurant is the absolute show-stealer here. Realised in solid wood, this magnificent ceiling was inspired by the whimsical, ever-changing sand dunes of Rajasthan, from where the cuisine served at this restaurant is inspired by too. The MDF-finished roof spans the entire ceiling space of this 54-seater eatery.
The all-covering expanse of this remarkable roof, what with its seemingly gay dance movements frozen in time, unites the minor segments of the restaurant with the main room – there is a small, 10-seater private area, built for those who prefer to wine and dine in relative quiet. This section is aptly lit by low-density LED fixtures and is peppered with minor white texturing.
Needless to say, almost every other design element here was brought in to compliment the mighty wooden over-seer – there are tinted mirror panels around, put in place to capture all available sunlight and then reflect it to create greater sweeps of whimsy in the space, and also to conjure up the sartorial detailing so uniquely reminiscent of the western Indian desert communities. Minimalism was the go-to approach here, both in space and accenting.
The entire space is sparse yet homely, carefully-designed and uncluttered. “The design aimed at ‘for the first time’ approach that reflected exceptional quality that would have longevity and style to match the food,” states the team. What is less obviously discernible is the environment-friendliness of the material use here. The wood and the metal for the furniture pieces were all sourced locally to cut down on transportation costs and were designed by the team and realised in the city itself.
The kitchen stands on the level above, meaning that the glass front allows for sweeping, uninterrupted views of the insides from the bustling city outside. When night falls, warm lighting flows down from the fixtures between the ceiling beams, further cementing the eatery’s unchanging calm demeanour.
Lantern House, Karnataka
This proposed plan for a farmhouse was a competition winner for a government-financed project for H.D. Kumaraswamy, ex-CM of Karnataka. Even though the project, pegged at a cost of about Rs. 20 crores, wasn’t ever realised, it is still testimony to Techno Architecture’s capacity to dream big.
This sprawling farmhouse was designed to be an almost seamless mixture of the contemporary and the traditional Indian, the former being fed by solid inspiration from the ‘Barcelona Pavilion’ designed by the German-American architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and the latter being fulfilled with the help of natural stone and handmade tiles, and consummate aesthetic direction provided by Vastu Shastra.
Proposed to have been built in the wind-swept but tropical environs of Bidadi, some 50 kms off the city of Bengaluru, the plan proposed a collection of spaces that came into view gradually and sequentially, starting from the most welcoming and public sections and finishing into the most private segment comprising of the bedrooms.
This sprawl is flushed full with delightful design elements – polished timber, white plaster walls, balconies and decks, pergolas, in-lit jali accenting (for the lantern effect), private gardens, a Tulsi tree, a swimming pool, a puja room, courtyard stretches and a gym and home theatre.
Contributing to the combined subtle beauty of the house are the free-flowing nature of the spaces, allowed by the careful positioning of stand-alone walls; the framing of the views of the house as parts instead of a whole; and a diversity of heights from the deck up to the roof, mixing together contiguous spaces and traditional roof overhangs of glass, wood and steel; this surely would have made for an inspired, calmly luxurious abode.
Text By Shruti Nambiar