Using a vocabulary which is neither starkly contemporary nor harking back to the past, a+t associates have designed a bungalow in Vadodara spread across four levels, wrapping public and private spaces in a comfortable ambience.
A preference for wood, brick and an earthy feel was part of the brief given by the client. “Moreover, he already had a large stock of wood to be used on the site, so that more or less defined our design,” says Tanvi Rajpurohit of a+t associates.
“The name of the bungalow, ‘Nitya’, displayed at the entrance, has been laser cut from a font which we sketched,” discloses Archis Patel, also of a+t associates. A sliding door leads further within. The site was a bare, concrete-lined shell with thick internal walls, all of which were demolished, so as to reallocate spaces according to the specific needs of the family. Some changes were made to the external architecture as well. The ground floor consists of parking, a utility space for the kitchen, accommodation for the household help and a lift which goes all the way up to the third floor.
The first floor consists of the living and dining room together with the terrace garden and kitchen as one contiguous space. The parent’s bedroom, powder room, puja room and staircase are also located here. The earthy colour palette has shades of rust and brown, original natural wood, exposed bricks and similar tones in metals such as brass and copper.
The large handle at the main door has been custom cast from a sheet of brass. From the entrance, a 30 ft high exposed brick wall extending to the top floor is visible, with a back-lit copper art installation of lotuses, the pipes from the AC ducting being used for the stems of the flowers.
The staircase has been designed with solid wood and MS. “The detailing in the treads where a lip of wood curves upwards to meet the riser, has been designed by us,” says Tanvi.
A waterbody alongside the staircase holds floating flowers and has been created from the left over wood on the site. The large central light fixture (measuring 7 ft x 2 ft x 18 inches ht) suspended in the stairwell has been fabricated from a copper sheet with cut-outs in the shape of lotuses, their petals folded inwards to let the light glimmer through the apertures.
Closer to the main door, a partition of wooden ‘bricks’ screens off the living area. Individually put together, they form a jali through which the light casts an interesting pattern after sunset. All the furniture has been customised in solid wood in Jodhpur, while the polished Australian white flooring in all areas ensures a seamless continuity.
The terrace garden is an extension of the living space and is visually connected with the interior. The dining area is located between the kitchen and living area, with Italian marble clad on one wall. Custom designed cabinetry adds character to the space.
The second floor consists of a family area with a swing, the master bedroom, the daughter’s bedroom and a guest bedroom, all with attached baths. In the master bedroom, the headboard of the bed is in metal, with a laser cut pixel pattern.
“Covered with a clear layer of PU, it is protected from corrosion,” says Archis. The wall behind is panelled with veneer, while the shutters of the wardrobes are louvered, imparting a warm woody feel to the room. The seating in purple provides the colour quotient.
In the daughter’s room, the wall behind the headboard is the focus of attention, with its display of old-fashioned shutters replicated in a smaller scale. Made of different woods such as sesame, teak and oak, they give the feel of old doors. Across the bed, a picture collage of the daughter traces her growth from childhood to high school; evoking memories it depicts the journey of her life.
The third floor has an informal sitting space which includes a small study. Connected with the two terrace gardens flanking the space, the room maximises the view from the large windows and invites swathes of natural light into the interior. The round plates on the wall are Kashmiri papier mache, hand painted with colour and gold powder.
The lotus theme wafts through the spaces like a leitmotif, starting from the handle of the front door, to the lotus installation on the wall near the staircase and upwards, to the punctures in the large rectangular light suspended in the stairwell.
The staircase unites the floors in more ways than one, with the design of its railing making a strong visual statement. Laser cut patterns have also found favour on various surfaces.The design fosters togetherness by bringing people together and giving them places to interact on each floor of the bungalow, without compromising privacy. Not ‘over designed’, or intimidating, this home has provided a relaxed ambience for the family.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Tejas Shah