Mumbai-based NOTE-D believes in the staying power of combined sensibilities, where local traditions and international design understanding can come together to create functionally solid and visually appealing spaces.
NOTE-D was founded in 2009 by Hemant Purohit and Smita Khanna. NOTE (Nature Of The Experiment-Design) has since then tried to stay true to its name by actively blending international/contemporary style templates with traditional Indian aesthetics. It is an approach that has led to the creation of brilliantly detailed, though overall seemingly simple-looking projects that seamlessly mix the familiar local with the distinctly global. The team dabbles in projects relating to “education, hospitality, housing, retail stores, and events” and everywhere its predilection towards realising inter-connected, sunlight-flushed, and functionally-solid but elegantly demarcated spaces is signature-stampingly evident.
Tomoe Weekend Homes, Alibaug
NOTE-D conjured up the best of Mediterranean inspiration for this project to create sprawling 5,500 sq ft leisure homes redolent with calming breeze and warm natural light. These sublime weekend homes can make weekdays particularly painful to get through with! The homes feature stark, solid white monolithic walls that join together to form a courtyard within, realising a brilliant amalgamation of the old Indian home and the European standard residence.
The walls themselves remain almost forebodingly plain, except where they are punctuated by generously tall doors and tilted rectangular windows, or when hugged by carefully-pruned vines and plants. This juxtaposition of polished wood with white, both ablaze with natural light, is a simple stroke of aesthetic genius which helps highlight the homes’ inter-connected fluidity.
The rooms – living spaces, kitchen, 6 bedrooms, gardens, outdoor lounge, terraces and swimming pool – stand along a spiral, establishing a range from being cosily private to being so open that the boundaries seem to vanish. “Programmable outdoor spaces, such as the loggia on the mezzanine are interjected at regular intervals as you move from public to private around the courtyard, maintaining a visual connection across levels,” states the team.
It is difficult to pick one aspect of the project that makes it so remarkable, but if it was to be picked, then it would be its multi-leveled, rise-and-dip demeanour that seems equally flushed with the goodness of the Alibaug air, sunshine, and greenery.
This project is an effort at apartment re-imagination, but really is a master stroke at space division. What used to be a 3-bedroom swathe has been turned into a creativity-friendly suite of contiguous spaces distinguished by wood-and-glass partition (at the foyer), thick black curtains, carefully placed furniture pieces, custom-designed tiling, statement-making lighting fixtures, and floor accenting.
This amalgamated space aims to relax the resident couple, so it is obviously full of warm tones (of Brazilian slate and sturdy wood) sunlight, spots of colour and unconventional shapes. Artefacts and gizmos pepper the space, along with some unusual props and décor items.
“Customised Rorschach pattern bathroom tiles, act as stimulating wall art in the master bathroom. A vintage surgical light is paired with a custom designed dining table to occupy the awkward shape of dining space,” states the team. This array is also populated by a series of bar stools that run along the windows in the living room zone, which is in effect an extension of the bedroom zone. This is a 2,000 sq. ft. worth of interior space contouring like no other!
New Material/Textile Aided Construction Installation, Delhi
This NOTE-D installation project stretched and fortified the inherent textural possibilities of chosen Indian textile and construction material. The firm was invited to explore the role of textile in contemporary design, and the team set about the task “using fabric as sacrificial shuttering in casting techniques”.
POP, cement slurry, mortar and paint were applied to the rough-hewn fabric, in a fashion reminiscent of the tie-and-dye method with balls and inflated balloons providing the shape and structure. The result was that the fabric took on membrane-like qualities as it acted in response to the wetness, density, and coagulating quality of the liquid content of the additions. This became a study in patterns and reactions, with the textile fabric surprisingly upending the material additions through the incredible whole of its stiff wrinkles.
“The resulted membrane had compressive strength due to the coffer like geometry. It could be folded to span volumes and create vaulted structures,” the team explains. Art would seem pointless if it didn’t lead to such delicate changes in perception!
Text by Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy Fram Petit
Photography And The Architect