Blue takes the dominant role in the colour palette in this two- level home in Ankleshwar designed by Bharuch-based architecture and design firm P&D Associates.
The first artificial blue pigment was made from a semi-precious stone called lapis lazuli. It was so rare and expensive that only the wealthy could afford to use it. For the Egyptians it was the colour of divinity and in the Elizabethan era it came to represent wealth. Pablo Picasso, one of the greatest artists of all times, went through a Blue Period from 1901 to 1905 when he used only multiple hues of blue to paint. In the West, it stands for trust and security. In parts of the East, it is believed to be the colour to ward off evil. In India, its association with Lord Krishna lends it a sense of divinity. Universally, blue projects an ambience of tranquility and calmness.
The Bungalow in Blue stands in a quiet residential colony in Ankleshwar, a small hamlet close to the city of Bharuch in Gujarat. “The client gave us a free hand with this project,” says Devang Patel, one of the chief designers at P&D Associates. While the clients were non-interfering, they had come with a clear picture of the home in their mind and it was up to P&D to recreate that mental image into a tangible, physical form.
“They wanted a minimalist appearance and were keen on a pastel colour scheme.” The P&D design team gave them a few options for the colour scheme of the interiors. “Blue was the colour they most identified with,” says Devang. “And that was great from the design point of view as blue expresses a formal calm in gathering spaces and in private areas it infuses a relaxed charm.”
The bungalow’s slate gray, pinstriped exteriors stand out in this residential colony where the external appearances of the houses are mostly matter-of-fact and functional. The glass balconies of the rooms on the upper level help blur the divide between the inside and the outside making it possible for the expansive view to be enjoyed from the comforts of the home.
For the interiors, the team came up with a concept that would celebrate the versatility of the colour blue but in a subtle manner. Different tints and hues of blue can be seen in play across the various spaces of the house which are cleverly set off with the use of wood and neutral shades like beige, grey and white.
The common areas take up the lower level of the house. It is an open layout with a streaked grey marble floor running through the expanse. A dark wooden panel across the length of the ceiling provides a welcome break and adds a textural element. The dining area is subtle. Its monochromatic colour scheme brings the dramatic grooved wall under the spotlight. The living room gives off a more fun, playful vibe.
While the larger elements continue in the neutral shades; one corner in a light shade of cornflower blue adds warmth to the formal space. Two slim bands of gold running across the horizontal lengths of these walls at seating level establish a touch of relief in the wall. A fabric in a deeper shade of blue has been chosen for the sofas and cushions to make them pop against the subtle backdrop.
Concrete steps with wooden treads lead to the upper level. “The balustrade is my favourite element in the house,” says Devang. “It is a simple brass railing, yet it manages to be the focal point of the living room and draws the attention of any visitor.” The upper level has two bedrooms, both infused with blue but subtly so, in order to allow the wooden overtones to dictate the composition. The master bedroom is more subtle in its colour scheme and largely accessories and soft furnishings have been used to tie it to the blue thread running through the house. The use of blue in the son’s bedroom is more dramatic.
“Initially, the clients were not convinced about the extensive use of blue in the son’s beroom,” Devang recollects. “They could not visualise it in its entirety. But, we convinced them to believe in our vision with a promise to change it if they did not like it after it was complete. After, the room was finished it actually became their favourite space in the house.”
The standout feature of the house is the water body in the balcony on the upper level. By incorporating water in their layout, the designer team has managed to bring into the bungalow, the colour blue in its most natural shade. Add to that the slabs of granite that make up the parapet; these are so arranged that they allow glimpses of the blue skies for the folks living in the Bungalow in Blue.
Text By Himali Kothari
Photographs Courtesy Sebastian Zachariah & Ira Gosalia (PHX India)