This residence in Whitefield, Bangalore, designed by Decode Architecture is a charming well-lit haven away from the city’s clutter and chaos. With its magical charm, openness and alluring accessories, this one surely has its heart in the right place.
The debate on what makes a design successful is never-ending. Is it about bringing alive a melange of colours and textures in the most natural way possible? Or employing the recent innovations in architecting a space? Or bringing international trends to the local audience?
For the Decode team of Meghna Gilani and Prashant Prabhu, the answer is unambiguous – it’s about a collaborative approach between the designer and the client, with an end result perfected to the client’s needs. “No overdesigning,” says Prashant Prabhu, co-founder and design principal of Decode Architecture. “It’s all about simplicity!”
There is no better example of this mantra than in this Bangalore residence designed by the duo. Designed for a young couple with a two-year-old daughter, the space is urban, contemporary, and encapsulates an inexplicable youthful vibe to it.
Talking about the brief for the residence, Prashant explains, “The client needed a child-friendly, open house ideal for inviting guests over. They wanted to use plenty of wood. As an avid reader, the lady of the house wanted her own reading corner with bookshelves. She also requested for ample storage space to accommodate everything.”
So, yes, it’s certainly all of these. But it’s also a reflection of the Decode team’s individual style, artistic expression and flawless execution.
One of the initial changes done was to convert the closed kitchen into an open one, creating continuity between the dining and the kitchen spaces. This arrangement works well to entertain friends unrestrained even while cooking. Also, it gives a sense of fluidity starting from the foyer to the living and dining, extending all the way to the kitchen, deftly removing any introverted barriers between the spaces.
Extensive use of wood introduces an earthy, unpretentious characteristic to the apartment. For instance, in the living space, the veneer TV unit snugly wraps around the wall showcasing an artisanal herringbone pattern. Light beige flooring offsets this lavish use of wood, and so does the colour scheme reflected in the meticulous selection of the wall shades and the various accessories.
The art works splashed across the residence have been picked based on their colours and concepts. Brighter shades such as red and blue work wonders against the wooden layer. “We were looking for colours to complement the space. And so from around 50 choices we had in art works, paintings, graphic prints, etc. we finally narrowed down 7 to 8,” explains Prashant.
The master piece of the pigeons resting on the Banaras garden serves as an arresting backdrop against the blue and grey couch in the living space. Another superlative piece in the foyer – a resplendent moon on a red canvas – provides a wonderful juxtaposition against the distressed look of the cabinet below.
While the master bedroom stands apart for its showcasing of dark veneer wood and a delightful reading corner, the guest room’s white arrangement amplifies the advantage of the natural light of a higher floor. One room that truly translates the collaborative approach between the client and the design team is the child bedroom.
“The client didn’t want this room to be gimmicky. No pink or teddy bears, and a space that would be meaningful even as the child grows up. But, we wanted to employ colours to impart a child-like cheeriness to the room. So the wardrobe and the study unit were built to balance wood with a combination of lime green, red and grey shades,” says Prashant.
The grey wall neatly contrasts this burst of colours. So does the stool with patterned fabric, and the “magical wonderland” created through adorable prints in the blinds and bed linen. One gets to connect with the inner child in the company of a bird-print couch and an eccentric poster of a cat attempting yoga poses.
Both the tree decal and the black-and-white bird drawings were something the client had bought from IKEA and the design team did a great job of integrating them into this space. Same with the grandfather clock that “happened” to fit into the decal on the grey wall – an example of how things fall in place when they’re meant to be!
Logistics was a big challenge as the client was in Hyderabad at the time, designers in Mumbai and the residence in Bangalore. “We overcame this by making detailed 3D drawings and using online channels to expedite the decision process,” explains Prashant. It’s hard to believe that such a challenge even existed, as the place is filled with surreal charm and poetic rhythm.
Text By Ramya Srinivasan
Photographs Courtesy Sameer Tawde