A show-flat in Ahmedabad by Sachin Agshikar employs a minimalist aesthetic, even as the spaces are organised to optimise flow. A restricted colour palette reinforces the function first design.
Designing a show flat is much like walking a tightrope between the exotic and vanilla. Created for an anonymous buyer, it must fulfil all undisclosed aspirations and make people want to pack their bags and move in right away. Consequently, designers attempt to inject drama even in the transition spaces such as corridors, tempting potential buyers into mentally transplanting themselves and their lifestyles into this space. It’s not surprising, then, that design details can either make or break a show flat.
“Everything has a purpose and function,” says Sachin Agshikar of his design for a lobby and a show-flat in Ahmedabad. “This is the strength of the design.” The colour palette is a subtle one, steering clear of bling. While the lobby uses more high-end materials than the flat, the colour palette remains the same, maintaining continuity. The flooring is in Italian marble, but other finishes don’t require much maintenance.
“The builders were cognisant of the fact that the society may not be willing to expend large amounts of money repeatedly,” says Sachin. “The garden outside was quite lush, so rather than have more trees in the lobby, I used ‘sculptures’ which were tree shaped cut-outs of metal plates.” Planted in a pebble bed, these stand in a row like sentinels.
A see-through wooden partition acts as a backdrop for the spherical pendant lights which drop from the ceiling and also conceals the doors of the lifts. On one wall, a 5 foot high “A” in MS with glossy powder coating denotes the wing of the building, while one side of the lobby is in glass, overlooking the garden. Sachin has turned his design attention to even the mail boxes for the flat owners. Black stone steps lead to the show flat on the floor above.
The entrance to the apartment sets the tone for what is to come. Favouring natural tones, it is populated by whites, black, cream and the beiges and browns of natural wood. A large five foot wide white duco-painted door swivels open on a pivot rather than hinges, its horizontal custom-made stainless steel handle announcing the contemporary minimalistic aesthetic.
“Since the location of the building was not in a premium area, the builders didn’t want to go over the top in terms of the budget. So I suggested that the design could target a younger buyer who may be purchasing a first home. The aesthetic is a simple one with international undertones, appealing to gen-next,” says Sachin. The layout was modified by moving a few walls, particularly those of the corridor leading to the living room.
“Staggering the walls has resulted in the corridor having a greater width towards the living room, an additional illusion being created by a black wall, which appears to recede from one’s line of vision.”
Also, the wall separating the kitchen and the dining was replaced by wooden blinds. These interventions gave priority to the modulation of the space itself, rather than what was going into it.
Since the builder wanted to use tiles for the flooring, Sachin has chosen ones which emulate the look of concrete. The furniture has clean lines, purchased from Scandinavian manufacturer BoConcept. Three larger-than-life prints of insects on the wall above the sofa arrest attention. “I found them quite fascinating. Enlarged as they are, they appear almost artificial,” says Sachin.
An abstract assemblage of rectangles in various sizes delineates the living and dining areas. “Visually light, it functions as a see-through partition that also anchors the overhead beam, which would otherwise appear unattended and attract undeserved attention,” says Sachin. Glass replaces the corner of a wall in the guest cum entertainment room, which sits adjacent to the dining area.
A pedestal lamp has been placed in front of this glass, to prevent people from walking into it. However, a line of vision is maintained from the entrance, assisting in the visual connectivity and flow of space. A laminated floor in a crate-like wood finish with lettering stamped on it lies underfoot in this room, providing a young vibe.
All the lights are LEDs, some of them concealed. Two black inverted cone-like pendant lamps above the dining table ably illuminate the space, their shape echoed by the table lamps which flank the sofa in the living room. A soft glow emanates from behind the backrest of the sofa, while a floating shelf in the guest room is in-lit; it gently grazes the wall above as well as below, highlighting the shimmering specks of mica in the wallpaper.
In this minimalistic space, even the knots in the teak veneer on the doors function as artwork. Clean, simple lines and an uncomplicated design defines this apartment, with white walls and sheer curtains imparting a light, airy ambience. “What we worked really hard on was the flow of spaces,” says Sachin. “Once you get that right, everything just falls into place. Whether it is a chair, table or sofa, it is there because it is meant to be.”
Text By Devyani Jayakar
Photographs Courtesy Sachin Agshikar