Young, buoyant, with happy splashes of colour, this apartment in Bengaluru by Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar of Fadd Studio is a holistic representation of the brief of the youthful clients; the architects have deftly combined the different requirements to create a hardy work space which is also easy on the eye.
An arresting ‘crawling’ chair in the foyer of this home is a harbinger of the quirky design sensibility within the space. With two legs propped at 90° to the adjacent wall, it appears to valiantly ‘climb’ the vertical surface. The SS stencilling on the cement floor picks up a motif from the three different wallpapers, which are from the same family.
“We were lucky to get these clients,” says Farah. “In their late twenties, they were open to an experimental, ‘out-of-the-box’ design which ventured out of ‘safe’ zones. They also had great taste, a reasonable budget and didn’t insist on carpets, which many clients do. In them, we just got the whole package,” she laughs.
While the husband, Pallav Nadhani, was on Forbes Magazine’s ‘Under 30’ list for a tech company called Fusion Charts which he set up when he was just a teenager, the wife, Puja, is a fashion designer. Pallav was insistent that this should be a smart home, with wi-fi connectivity at all times.
If he was out of the country and had a guest who needed to stay in his home, he wanted to be able to open the door for his guest, turn on the lights and play the guest’s favourite music – all remotely, using just his iPhone.
“We joked that that there is more wire than wood in this apartment, because of the number of things that had to be connected and automated. This turned out to be the biggest challenge and the most time consuming one,” says Dhaval. Puja, on the other hand, brought her sense of aesthetics to the design brief.
While modifying the layout, Farah and Dhaval removed all existing curvatures, such as the arch of the foyer to the living entry and the curved wall between the master and the adjoining bedroom. Instead, they constructed straight-lined doorways. In the master bedroom, they demolished the curved wall for more functionality. The marble floor was replaced with twelve foot long tiles simulating wooden planks. These were interspersed with grey and brown tiles of the same size.
At the entrance, a vibrant blue door has wrought iron hardware which would be perfectly at home in a castle. The walls are a cool azure with white panelling and the room doors are a powder blue, imparting a soothing, fresh feel to the whole space. There is a profusion of floral patterns, sobered by neutral solids.
In the dining area, blue bookshelves provide a colour-saturated backdrop for the oak dining table with bright blue upholstered chairs. The pendant lamps above the dining table, once temple bells, offer evidence of upcycling.
Within, a neutral shell of whites and greys has blue as an accent-an English and French theme play out, appearing contemporary in spite of their vintage lineage.
In the living space, a stark white Natuzzi sofa sits in front of a grey bookshelf with shutters sandwiching a vintage floral fabric. A brighter but similar fabric is used in the two single seaters that are in a Scandinavian style. A deep pink carpet adds a pop of colour under the Lignet Roset coffee table which offers versatile usage with its rotating surfaces.
A side table created from a tree trunk and another from a cycle add to the quirk quotient. In the balcony outside, an outdoor bench has been made from old surfboards – it sits on a rubbery circular mosaic floor which looks like candy!
A narrow passage, a gallery of sorts, leads to three bedrooms that echo the softness of the living area, but in three different colours – lilac, olive and beige.
The walls of the bedrooms are solids and curtains are in florals and a vintage distressed print. The master bedroom is in olive, with a headboard which goes all the way up to the ceiling. Louvered white closets have mirrors on alternate shutters, while a bright yellow printed blind offsets the olive wall. The bathroom has distressed tiles in similar colours with sanitary ware in the luxurious stone series from Villeroy and Boch.
A guest room in lavender has a floral curtain, a simple beige upholstered bed and a lacquered study. The flooring is a light brown laminate. The bath echoes the lavender tones, in addition to a gold mosaic with a grey floor. A second smaller guest bedroom has the bed and closets in one continuous unit to maximise space. The floor is a laminate with a vintage aesthetic.
Farah and Dhaval, from whose names the acronym Fadd has been derived, have also created an intended pun on the word ‘fad.’ “It’s so easy to stagnate into a style that becomes a firm’s identity. We believe that having a singular style defies the purpose of design, which is to push beyond the expected, to achieve something novel and unique in every project, and be constantly propelled out of our comfort zone into a world where we not only embrace new concepts and techniques but also create fads of our own,” says Farah.
So maybe we should be prepared to see a mushrooming of “crawling” chairs as the latest ‘fad,’ courtesy Fadd Studio.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs By Shamanth Patil