A fashion designer who straddles two very different cities and wanted to transplant the feel of her London home in the Mumbai one, situated at Cuffe Parade, approached Flamingo Interiors to come to her help. The architectural firm went on to fulfil the job with both ease and élan.
When a client isn’t even used to the city in which she needs to furbish the interiors of an apartment, the task would seem quite enervating for the designer. But the Flamingo Interiors team was equal to the task. “This client simply never felt that she could make Mumbai her home. Having grown up in London, this transition came late in life and she found even the traffic conditions in Mumbai shocking. So after a hard day’s work, she was really homesick for London,” says Esha Pandya Choksi of Flamingo Interiors.
When Esha and her partner (and sister) Aashni Pandya interviewed the client, they made it a point to observe her dress sense, to get a handle on her aesthetics. “How clients live is also very important. Do they have a lot of parties, or do they have a more reclusive lifestyle? These are questions we ask ourselves. In residential design, the person whom we’re designing for is very important. Commercial design is different, where the brand takes precedence,” says Aashni.
So it was that the twosome agreed upon a theme that would be European in its aesthetic – but not very ornate, or with carvings. While incorporating clean lines, there also had to be a sense of nostalgia – an imagery associated with the past.
Consequently, the architectural detailing in the mouldings, cornices, panelling and headboards recalls a bygone era. The pendant light is a replica of an antique, while the buttoned look of the Chesterfield for the upholstery carries this imagery forward. A single design sensibility dominates the aesthetic.
A coffered ceiling in the dining area is a tribute as well as an expression of an important era in design. “Since our client enjoys cooking and hosting elaborate dinners, we wanted to serenade the dining area with a special tribute. Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, the coffered ceiling helped us bring focus into the dining area. Staying true to our concept, we were able to give the dining area an identity without slicing the space away from the main living room,” says Esha.
Previously, the client had lived in much larger homes, so the transition to a 1,000 sq ft apartment was not appealing at all. “One of our greater challenges was to create an illusion of a larger space – one that our client was used to in her primary home overseas. At the onset of this design journey, we discovered that to meet with this brief, the apartment should centre on the concept of a hotel suite,” says Aashni.
The illusion of a larger space has been created by using the same features repeatedly, rather than creating different looks in different rooms. The result is fluid spaces, assisted by the use of mirrors. “Strategically placed decorative mirror installations on walls in every room allowed us to invite a great deal of sunlight into the home and also reflect the coveted sea-view into the interior,” says Esha.
In furtherance of maintaining fluidity in spaces, different tones of the same colour are echoed everywhere; the only other colour is a powder blue that is used for the dining chairs and a headboard. Even the same marble has been used in the living room, kitchen and bathrooms, to maintain continuity. This ensured that each area of the apartment flowed into the next, with little distraction.
Wardrobes in both bedrooms, doors, false ceilings and the veneer continue with the uniformity of materials and finishes. Not only did this seemingly increase the span of the space, but it also infused a sense of calm in the home, creating an oasis for the client in the midst of the gridlocked city of Mumbai. “Don’t mistake this for a boring visual effect, though,” says Aashni.
“Cushions have been used as accents; some of them are with Kashmiri thread embroidery to discreetly infuse an Indian element into the design. The industrial-looking base of the coffee table also adds interest, as do a few eclectic pieces of furniture, conversation provoking decorative lights and attention seeking upholstery.”
More intimate design solutions pervade the bedrooms. In one, the bed has been set against a romantic floral headboard, which in turn is backed by an antique mirrored wall backdrop. “The bed in the other bedroom found itself against a Chesterfield headboard, which engulfed an entire wall. The bedrooms, one in a feminine and one in a masculine expression of our design theme, ensure that the interaction with these spaces is loaded with nostalgia from a precious past,” says Esha.
Esha and Aashni are clear that they want their practice to be a boutique design firm through which they connect with the client and service the project to the end. A factory which churns out cookie-cutter design is simply not in their scheme of things. “We find ourselves fighting battles for the smallest of things, in order to achieve quality control,” says Aashni.
This project which helped alleviate the pain of a geographical translocation is one more success story of their firm Flamingo Interiors.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photo Credits Abner Fernandes
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