For the design of this bungalow in Ahmedabad, Flamingo Interiors adopted an aesthetic replete with elements of British Colonial decor intermingled with their signature minimalistic touches. The result was a straight lined look deeply influenced by the time of the British Raj.
The peak of British colonisation happened during the 19th and early 20th centuries, a time when their empire covered more than quarter of the world. The British subjects that were sent to govern Indian colonies brought with them the traditional decor of their home country. Here, they blended it with indigenous materials and construction techniques to adapt to the local tropical climate and landscape. A unique British Colonial design style was born as a result of this dynamic period in history.
One of the hallmark traits of the British Colonial style is the use of dark wood furniture and floors. Ebony, teak and mahogany are widely available in India among other native woods. These have been employed to build customised furniture for this Ahmedabadi residence. Though the essence of the furniture design is British, the embellishments and accents are Indian.
The design studio has retained the idea of dark flooring, but experimented with material finishes other than wood. Thus, various combinations of black and white tiles and marbles, as well as vast meticulously knit rugs highlight the flooring of the house. In one of the bathrooms, a vanity unit with minimalist wood and granite detailing sits atop black and white tiled flooring with an Escher-like pattern.
Much akin to the traditional style, walls have been painted in light colours to provide a contrast for the furniture and flooring. Not only does the reflective paint help to counteract the oppressive heat, it also makes the rooms feel light and airy. Large floor-to-ceiling windows with dark wood frames further bring in light and ventilation. High ceilings clad with wooden rafters in some areas, and adorned with ornate cornices in others keep the spaces cool. In one of the bedrooms, pale blue coloured wallpaper with a floral pattern covers the four walls.
The furniture layout in the family and entertainment areas has been designed with an intention to offer free movement and ample circulation space. Key interventions in transition spaces highlight their functional purposes. For instance, a cozy seating niche has been provided with a large wood and wicker armchair and ottoman. The two pieces have been finished with traditionally embroidered upholstery. A sleek standing lamp finished in brass along with a fan (known as punkah) painted in black and propped on a stark red tripod add to the quaintness of the space.
Situated at the front of the bungalow, the formal living room overlooks spacious green lawns. Characteristic of the British Colonial style, a deep verandah forms a buffer space between the indoor and outdoor, and acts as a comfortable shaded area to retire out in the sun. The verandah has been built around a tree that acts as the focus of this space. A large balcony overhead is supported by wooden pillars that have been intricately carved to mimic the form of the tree.
“We have chosen accessories very carefully and as per their availability in the region,” say the principal designers. Locally woven wicker mats and pressed botanical art add to the ethnic flavour of the house.
Items such as fine China crockery and silverware take the form of wall hangings and lend a delicate contrast to the more rustic wood and wicker finishes. Decorative showpieces carved by local artisans add to the vernacular aesthetic. Potted plants, ferns and palms scattered about the indoor areas and the verandahs bring life to the design. Wrought iron seating and side tables find their way into some of the outdoor spaces.
Aashni Pandya and Esha Pandya Choksi began their careers in the field of finance and business. A series of unexpected twists and turns led both to pursue higher degrees in design, and establish Flamingo Interiors in the year 2011. The flamingo is a bird that is unique to the fauna of Bombay. After travelling the world over, it returns to the urban coastline late in November every year.
Though it is impacted by a variety of global experiences and cultures, it never loses sight of its origins and roots. Further, as it stands on one leg, it emanates functionality, beauty and balance. The team at Flamingo Interiors takes its cue from this remarkable bird and constantly strives to create spaces that blend beauty with balance, aesthetics with functionality, and tradition with innovative technology.
Text By Ar. Priti Kalra
Photographs Abner Fernandes