Mumbai-based studio, SAGA Design Architects, eschews rigid templates and formats while creating projects that celebrate a charming mix of natural and modern forms.
SAGA Design Architects came into being in 2010 and has dipped its fingers and toes in architecture, town-planning, and product and interior design. Principal architects Mayur Gujare and Deval Shah lead a team that is driven by fervour for innovation and an appetite for creating stylish simplicity.
As the following three projects establish, the firm’s design board has no interest in propping up a signature style, and instead revels in involving clients in the process and realising their vision comprehensively.
Eco Café, Pune
Eating healthy has gone beyond a trend. It has sprinted out of the exclusive domain of the moneyed class, and landed straight into the centre of the mainstream. Architectural practice, and entire communities, clubs, and retreats now espouse and promote this lifestyle, making the act of becoming a follower a well-supported delight. Eco Café is a product of this new consciousness, where the act of eating out no longer demands abandoning all sense of self-control and calm.
The design by SAGA Design Architects walks the line between eatery and spa. Its shell is simple and its interiors are dedicated to mixing the subtleness of natural elements with the relatively more mundane aspects of cafeteria design. “The design engages water, plants, wood, glass and upholstery; all these are woven one into the other and also connected by carving spaces and moods,” states the team led by Gujare and Shah.
The box-shaped shell consists of 4 solid planes that find structure around a white metal frame. The idea of the mix was to juxtapose natural elements like green walls and a lovely water channel with synthetic and sturdy elements like wooden furniture. The sounds of flowing water and the presence of greenery hold the promise of elevating the dining experience beyond the mechanical.
Organic cuisine; a seating scheme that combines low-rise cushioned sections as well as regular chairs and tables; the careful placement of art and hanging plants; a wall-spanning cabinet swathe that hovers over the entire area; and a subtle lighting scheme composed of overhanging clusters and wall fixtures, combine to create an ambience of calm that is sure to embrace every guest. Indeed, the idea here was to create something that is, over and above the obvious, an experience to remember.
“Eco Café is an inspiration to lead a healthy life and follow healthy eating habits.It is about aspiring to a style statement,” the team attests.
Bachelor Pad, Mumbai
Singleton pads are fun to design. They demand eclecticism and imagination, in exchange for an often less-than-generous offer of space. Luckily for SAGA, upcoming fashion designer Kriti Ahuja presented herself as a willing collaborator during the immersive planning stage. The space was small and had to accommodate the stylish living demands of two travel-loving sisters. What came out of the extensive give-and-take of ideas is a careful spread of bohemian chic accents and items.
One look will confirm that this is a pad worthy of a culture junkie, a product of the ‘pinterest generation’. “The room was zoned into 4 parts – the bedroom, the walk-in wardrobe/dressing area, the study/entertainment zone, and the alcove, a personal hide-out,” shares the team. Bachelor spaces need to work hard with respect to space-division and this one does so with the brilliance of a thespian.
The master bedroom is a beautiful space; a huge world map covers one wall turning it into an inspirational vision board. Indeed, the intent here is to enable the sisters to catalogue their many sojourns. What looks like the bed is actually a raised wooden platform in a wenge wood pattern holding a plush mattress. Dreamy sunlight streams in from a nearby, linen curtain-adorned window on whose sill sits a small line of little potted plants.
A stack of old-style travel trunks is a clear reference to the wanderlust that afflicts the residents of the room. A scuffed magazine crate reinforces that carefree vibe and a beautiful rope swing that hangs from the rafters becomes the dedicated coffee table, establishing the multifaceted bohemian character of the home.
“Kriti’s interests in various fields helped define the space’s true character from her perspective. This reflects in her collection of posters, art on metal plates, music, and artists’ pictures framed and hung on the brick wall in the room,” states the team. This wall is part of the study/entertainment section – the adjoining table and the cabinet along with the chic triangular wall shelves hold Kriti and Bani’s books and sewing materials.
A raw wooden ladder with branches is an on-site creation designed to hold bags and other hanging accessories, while the walk-in wardrobe is home to a vanity mirror, an accessories nook, and clothes shelves. The Alcove is a balcony-like escape redolent with natural light streaming through a beautiful crochet curtain. This is a special home and inspiration pad, designed by and for artists.
SAGA’s product line includes lighting fixtures and furniture pieces, and the collection effortlessly blends simplicity of form and function, as well as a sustainable ethos through the use of on-site scrap as raw material.
The items are inspired by a need to combine natural forms with sturdy modern construction. A ripe example of this is the ‘Tree Table’, which was directly inspired by the branching beauty of a barren Champa tree. The complex structure of the form achieves the design team’s fondest wish – of splitting light as it makes its way through shapes. The Hexa and Node Light lamps establish this more obviously, creating geometric wonder-balls of metal grids around a single central light source.
The overall effect is eye-catching and delightfully geeky. ‘Sculpted Void’ references a cultural building that is venue to multiple activities. This centre-table houses ribs and niches, its multi-levelled structure, again, cutting light while providing magazines and other everyday items a place to cosy into.
Text by Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect/ Ravi Kanade