Mumbai-based designer Rustom Kapadia has remodelled a nearly 100 year old flat to create a modern living space that celebrates its heritage components.
Mumbai-based architect and interior designer Rustom Kapadia, who has a degree in design from the Pratt Institute New York, has set up shop in the city with an objective to go beyond the tried-and-tested design concepts and breathe an air of freshness into his creations. His most recent project that involved remodelling an old flat reflects his signature approach of fusing functionality with aesthetics to create an impressive living space.
The challenge ahead of Kapadia was quite real. The flat was dark and dingy, and gave a sense of clutter with too many rooms, passages, and other architectural features running across its length and breadth. Kapadia was assigned the task of transforming it into an airy, spacious space with a lot of ventilation. The challenge was further compounded by the fact that the flat had heritage floor tiles and a wooden roof, both of which needed to be restored for the sake of their sheer exquisiteness.
With that objective in mind, Kapadia took on the task of transforming a traditional family home into a modern dwelling without meddling with the integrity of its antique components. Explaining his approach and understanding of the project, Kapadia says, “This particular apartment was built at the turn of the century for families consisting of two to three generations – grandparents, parents and children, with no air conditioning and common bathrooms. There were also internal passages leading to private living quarters and a common living space. At this point in time modern design concepts like Art Deco and Art Nuevo had begun challenging older classical concepts and these flats, though they were traditional in nature were designed for a more contemporary way of life.”
“Today with the advent of new technology, it is imperative to keep in mind modern standards of living while redesigning such a space. The study of interior architecture is the study of historic spaces and the implementation of modern contemporary design and how these two can be amalgamated. The unity of these two aspects allows one to experience the design as a whole, rather than seeing it as a collection of elements.”
With this design philosophy to fall back on, Kapadia and his team took on the task of re-structuring the flat, and started by first removing redundant doorways, passages, and partitions in order to give the space a complete make-over. The space thus generated was conveniently broken down into a master bedroom, a large den or study, one guest room, two bathrooms, including one with a walk-in closet, an open kitchen, a living room with enclosed balcony and a utility area. All this was done keeping in mind the factors of natural light and ventilation in mind. Next came the task of furnishing this re-modelled home.
“All parts of the design must relate so well as to create a unit in which ideally nothing can be added, taken away, or altered without changing the totality. Matching or coordinated patterns, closely related colours, and stylistic consistency all lead to harmony and unity, but they also carry the threat of monotony, as in the room in which everything matches everything else in an obsessive way, variety and contrast can relieve monotony, giving the eye a number of different shapes, textures, colours or details to look at,” Kapadia explains.
One important consideration for the interiors was to tastefully showcase the owner’s grand art collection. The owner’s eclectic art collection was distributed across the flat in a way that it added an artistic flavour to the interiors and at the same time reflected the owner’s taste and sensibilities. The look of the space was further enhanced by maintaining its heritage integrity through the use of antique wooden window frames throughout the house.
In order to make these spaces stand out and make the area look spacious, it was essential to furnish it with modern furniture and accessories, keeping the decor minimalistic. To achieve this, Kapadia relied heavily on the concept of creating a contrast through abundant use of whites and using hardwood in combination with leather finishes.
“Contrast heightens values through comparison. The selection of white and wood highlights the beautiful patterns of the existing heritage tiles,” he says, adding that the highlight of his design concept was that there were several equally important focal points to emphasise upon.
“We have created not one but several focal points in this flat – the heritage patterns, the roofing systems, clean white walls with focus on art, several openings to enhance light and airiness and contemporary furniture. All these elements not only stand out individually but also work well in tandem with one another to unify the entire design concept.”
Text By Arushi Chaudhary
Photographs By Anil Wankhede