“That wall is slanting just for the look it creates,” is an expected reaction to anything that veers off plumb. But Dipen Gada had a very sound reason for this design decision. Combining form and function, the distinctive façade with one block leaning outwards draws much attention in this home in Bharuch, Gujarat.
When one block slants out of a perfectly conventional structure which appears to respect right angles, a gimmicky, attention-getting motive may be ascribed to the gesture. Viewed from the outside, it strikes a pleasing visual balance. But Dipen Gada explains the functional basis of the design. “It simply provided a larger floor plate on the first floor. Who doesn’t want more space?” he asks. Vitrified tiles clad part of the exterior, resembling the rust-orange tones of corten steel.
Faced with an oddly shaped triangular plot, Dipen designed the house in two blocks, connected with a courtyard which provides a central interactive area. “Although it is an indoor space, it has the feel of an outdoor one because of its skylight,” says Dipen. Housing the dining room and topped by a sloping roof with large cut-outs in an abstract geometrical pattern, the space is graced with the slow dance of light and shadow, dictated by the journey of the sun in the sky above.
Of course it can get hot in the blistering temperatures of Bharuch, when the sun floods in for much of the day. “Motorised curtains enable the sunlight to be cut off when required. This double height space is filled with a generous sight of the sky, plenty of light and a gently floating wooden staircase.” says Dipen. The staircase hugs the wall but is as transparent as possible, with the space between the treads – where the riser would be – left empty. Designed at a low angle, it offers an easy climb but makes a visually bold statement in the space.
This dramatic space is flanked on one side by a block which houses the living and puja room, five bedrooms, a library, home theatre and kitchen. “The kitchen cabinets were fabricated on the site to save costs, since a modular kitchen to fit the requirements would have been exorbitant,” says Dipen. The stark white palette is relieved by a shot of yellow in the shelving below one counter. The ceilings in most of the rooms are RCC. “We’ve avoided false ceilings as much as possible. In general, we are going back to basics and avoiding superficial treatments in our practice,” he adds.
In the living room, functional furniture lends the space a casual air, without looking studied. “I like to leave some scope to add more pieces at a later date, or even to change the look of the space,” says Dipen. Sensibly, colour comes through the upholstery, which is easily changeable without having to spend too much money. The lighting here is divided into distinct linear segments.
A row of cone shaped pendant lights are strictly for ambience, with their 1 watt bulbs. Parallel to this, two tracks provide functional lighting which alternate between warm or cool white, as desired. The doors of the puja room at the far end are adorned with the thikri mirror work of Udaipur. The intricacy of workmanship endows the doors with the status of an artwork, drawing the eye towards the sparkle of the small pieces of glass.
A two poster bed holds centre stage in the room of the daughter, a young adult. In place of the ubiquitous canvas artwork, a photograph is mounted on the wall behind the headboard. Its soft blues are echoed by the carpet and the upholstery, providing a soothing colour palette. In the attached bath, a complex geometry comes together at the floor level in the tub enclosure, on the steps leading up to the tub, on the counter of the washbasin and on the ledges.
The master bedroom has wooden panelling in a warm honey tone for the headboard, its top aligns with the windows on both sides of the bed. Floating bedside tables are visually light and in tried and tested manner, conspire to create an illusion of a larger area, by freeing up floor space.
The energising presence of nature is omnipresent in this home as it embraces the spaces with its warmth. The windows offer abundant views of the distant outdoors. “In a dense, busy neighbourhood, the client wanted a personal space within the very urban fabric; something like a refuge from the outside world.
The sunlight, of course, is everywhere. We’ve celebrated light in this design, with all its variations and the patterns which it casts through the dining area,” says Dipen. What started as a solution to the unconventional shape of the plot has become the veritable star attraction of this home.
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Tejas Shah