One-of-a-kind spaces created by The Busride for the ‘Folly House’ are on the identity cusp between gallery and home. Clean geometric patterns and highly multi-faceted furniture pieces dominate this residence’s design scheme which is totally uncaring of convention.
In so many ways, the Folly House is a metaphor for the kind of reality we all have come to inhabit. We seem to thrive in a melting pot of contradictions – of spaces, ideas and what-have-you, held together by an old, comforting need for the stable and the staid. Too much of either is disorienting.
So at home, at the office, we have come to expect a free flow, an easily-changeable scenery that is composed of all the necessary functional parts. It builds the perfect environment for growing children who still look at the world with unsullied eyes, as well as for adults too weary of being forced into boxes of perception.
This 4,500 sq. ft. home’s high philosophy translates to brilliantly-designed multi-functional furniture pieces that are entities within themselves, when alone. When considered in the company of other pieces, they recreate a more recognisable relationship found in every regular home.
The living room is composed of two large components, and that’s it! “We used to jokingly say to the clients that this is what you get when you hire designers from Bombay to design a house in Pune. Everything will be unnecessarily compacted and we won’t know what to do with the extra space,” the team recalls. The obvious visual inspiration came from a gallery space where the floor swathe is generous and uncluttered, and the attention is solely to be directed towards the displayed artefacts.
The artefacts here are the ‘living folly’ and the ‘study folly’. The former is a herringbone-patterned, metal-framed shiny behemoth of seeming abstraction that actually smartly brings together six different functionalities. Clearly for the children of the house are the horse-mount and the play slide segments, while the open terrace-facing horse-shoe seating and diwan seating parts offer ergonomic options for a more conventional drawing room experience.
“The folly surface is constructed as a mesh of bent mild steel flats resting on stainless steel branch-like supports. The metal framework is then clad with flexi ply on the top and bottom and finally topped with 1/2”-3/4” thick teak wood planks set in a herringbone pattern,” explains the team.
A peep below this folly will reveal a secret universe of personal messages – a beautiful sprawling illustrated map depicting the family’s past, prospective, and aspirational travel destinations.
The lower space thus becomes a dreamy grotto where all the members can lay about and stare up at a map like no other, reminiscing and dreaming in turns.
But the function that connects the living folly with the study folly is that one ubiquitous totem of modern home-making – the television. The long sofa segment of the living folly stands perfectly poised to face the TV unit of the study folly, when its facing door is pulled open.
When standing undisturbed, the study folly is a vision of dense quietude. It looks simple, elegant, and full of the kind of exciting little treasures that makes every attic irresistible.
“The study folly consists of a slender steel armature around which the mobile elements of the slide and fold-out library, the slide-out study tables and the pivoting television unit are anchored. The entire volume of the cube is filled with cabinetry in its closed position and it can only be occupied once opened,” the team states. These spot-lit cabinets – further illuminated by a circular rig fitted into the geometry-loving false ceiling – hold curios, stationery items, and more, altogether looking like a magical little nook located off a dour market lane, waiting for a visitor to accidentally stumble in.
Even though two main ‘follies’ of the home commandeer most of the attention, the other rooms and spaces too are quite remarkable. The kitchen-cum-dining zone is dominated by a long island fitted with mirror-faced cabinetry. The storage stays discreet in character, with a beautiful segment whose pull-out walls betray no clutter. The dining table here can swing about a pivot to cater to any kind of family or social occasion. A separate breakfast nook – sunken, well-lit and dotted with plants – is a stunning addition here. The Folly House is a product of an environment of self-aware ambiguity, a home capable of unravelling, adapting, retreating and regrouping.
The master bedroom features a concrete low-rise bed at the centre, with a copper backdrop coded with triangular-shaped storage pivots. The bathroom here is spacious and focused around a large sculptural square bathtub, ideal for lengthy, fun splash-abouts with the children. The bright red bars of a Jungle Jim stand about the children’s room, imbuing the space with playground-level animation possibilities.
The clients asked for a familiar 4-poster bed for the parents’ room, which the team again went on to subvert by creating a ‘floating’ bed – the structure is held up by a transparent cube on the floor – whose wooden posters stand with arms that open wide but stylishly refuse to touch. Then there is the guest room, again a lovely multi-purpose zone that can be pulled out and then put back up as part of the wall and display structure.
When commissioned, Mumbai-based firm, The Busride,was explicitly asked to “make mistakes”. The design team, understandably, gleefully ran with this renegade idea to successfully create an outwardly austere marvel of a home with ace multi-tasking credentials. The home is distinguished by its efficient reliance on right angles and basic geometric shapes and patterns, even while it plays with whimsy at every turn.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Kunal Bhatia