Giving shape to ideas

Designing Spaces

Architects translate  design ideas in the minds of a client into reality. Bindu Gopal Rao speaks to well-known architects to understand what motivates them and what defines their work.

 Designing homes is not an easy task. Converting what is in the mind of the client into a concrete shape involves loads of creativity, and balancing actual requirements with a whole bundle of design ideas. Naturally then, an architect’s job is challenging and exciting at the same time  
Here’s what they think of their work.

Jaisim, Ashwini Jaisim Bhat, Fountain­head
“Design muse: My muse is the land, the site, the materials, the client and my philosophy of allowing the structure to speak for itself.

Favourite part of the home: My office in the basement of my home is my most favourite part. It is my creative space, my free space, and my den all rolled in one.

Favourite residential project: It is hard to choose a favourite project, residential or otherwise, from the hundreds that have left my table. But if I must pick one, then let it be Suresh and Dipanjali Gupta’s residence in Whitefield.

This home is simple in its lines and starkness, and this, combined with the richness of the clay blocks, the landscaping, and the taste of the owners and their design attributes within and outside the structure, makes it almost regal in its bearing. It claims to be nothing other than what it is and is a splendid home for a discerning couple.

The exquisite aesthetics, the naturalness of the materials, the taste of the owners have all blended together to create utter perfection and that’s why I like this one.”
Pramod RM, Director, Environment design, Inch design & consulting

“Design muse: Design to us is a sensitive sensory solution to objects, environments, or experiences that are unique, personal and responsive to their user. Design solutions at inch DC follow the inputs received from the needs of the client and ideas based on a strong research base. The design process is not ‘style’ biased but is rather requirement biased and that makes us believe, ‘No two (results) solutions may be alike.’ We would say, design follows context.

Favourite part of the home: If I have to choose one place, then it would be my balcony where my father has developed a nice terrace garden. It’s bliss when I sit there and think of design in nature where everything is for a reason and is at its aesthetic best. Learning from nature, we design houses where we aim to bring the exteriors to the interior spaces.

Favourite residential project: Lakshmi Narayana’s residence is among my favourites as the interiors here are with a strong intent of being contemporary while there is a touch of Indianness to the whole space. Also in another client, Chetan’s residence, we’ve tried to get the exteriors to the interiors with the use of bold colours and textures, which is another of my favourites.”

Navdeep Sethia, Paradox D’art
“Design muse: My design muse is genetics. I get inspired by the formation and the shapes so that leads me to come with some nice design form. This style is called parametrical architecture, where you can take any form, whether it is the root of a tree or even amoeba. We take the concepts, derive form and then start designing it. It’s a new trend yet to catch on in India but it will surely be something that will become very popular.

Favourite part of the home: The area I like the most is the study area. I like to experiment with materials and shapes and their formations. I like nature to marry the decor so it creates its own ambience. The study doubles up as a library area or as a study area for kids and this space has a lot of scope for experimenting with designs and materials.

Also this is an area where I have tried to incorporate a lot of natural and artificial lights as well as integrate the landscape of the home into the study area. It’s a small pocket that is tricky to design and that’s the challenge that I like.

Favourite residential project: My best project till date is Australian doctor Austin and his Indian wife’s holiday home. Located in NCR, this is a two-bedroom home where the client wanted a lot of natural light as well as all elements of nature in their home. So there are water bodies as well as large glass elements that let nature inside, while allowing for a clean and neat looking house.

This was among one of my initial projects and is very close to my heart. Conceptually, in terms of materials, we played around with both natural ones like stone and marble and materialistic ones like steel and wood. Again the whole pattern of this home was derived from geometry. There are a lot of levels in this home and it looks wide open as if the landscape is coming into the house and serves the purpose of a holiday home – a place to unwind and relax.

Raghunandan, Parallax
“Design muse: The most important thing that inspires me or rather guides me is to start from simplicity. My strong belief is that the building doesn’t get completed once our task is finished but rather it takes a life and starts to grow. We as human beings are trained knowingly or unknowingly not to be monotonous. The spaces what we as architects create need to have the possibility of growth and this can be created by keeping it simple and allowing the project to take shape depending on the functionality of the built form.

Favourite part of the home: We live in a three bedroom house which was built around 20 years back. Later, a one-bedroom unit was attached to the main house which happens to be even much older. I converted a small kitchen in the single bedroom house that we attached later measuring 10’X12’ into a study and a library. This space is cosy and the one I like the most.

Favourite residential project: Dr Sunitha’s residence in Bangalore is one of my favourites. The clients who were at that point residing in a very huge quarters with a big garden, the brief given to us was that the house should not be more than a three bedroom one.

The design process started off by bifurcating the plot into four zones leaving almost 25 per cent as an open area which turned out to be a car porch and a garden towards the North West and North East (NE) sides. The slicing of spaces eventually evolved into a design concept and later turned out to become an element in three dimensions, which is seen prominently as the grey wall.

Further, because the footprint internally was less, transparency between spaces was created by not providing walls in the common areas which helped in visual connectivity, as well as in enhancing the vastness of the space.

The areas which required privacy such as the library and study were located in the first floor and in turn linked to the ground floor by a double-height roof. The garden in the NE quadrant was lined along the dining as well as to the family in the first level, which was possible because of the double height.”

Basavaraj Sriraj, Chief Designer, Realm Architects, Bangalore.
“Design muse: ‘Design’ is a very subjective to every person, it’s intuitive, reflective and most of the times associated with a person’s likes and dislikes. For me, it’s imagination fused with observation and fantasy; with design threads derived from desire, appreciation, past and future. When this intuitive ‘design’ or ‘creative’ instinct of an architect is coupled with different dynamics like dimension of the plot, client needs/tastes and the basic requirement; the final outcome is most often reflective of client tastes and addressing attributes like complexity, positioning and location of the plot.

Favourite part of the home: The area I love to work for in a house is the transition and circulation areas. These spaces, if handled sensitively, become a driving force of the design. It can blur the definition of spaces. The transition from inside to outside, ground to first, water and earth becomes more important than say bedroom, living spaces etc. We love to explore these aspects of a house. This notion helps us concretise the spatial quality of a house both inside and outside.

Favourite residential project: Svasti, a duplex unit, makes a simple statement in a crowded residential area with its modern charm sensitively blending itself with the surroundings. However, what stands out is the manner in which it diverges with its cladding materials. Proportions are deliberately skewed to create a sense of dis-belonging to the streetscape to create its own mood without being overwhelming.

The house is a simple modernistic exploration, and has been divided into three structural-cum-functional zones to explore a small 1050-sq-ft site to suit the clients’ needs. The open-planning of a house, keeping the walls to a minimum gives it a larger-than-it-is feel, also aided by the lightness of the staircase which is a combination of steel and wood with space below the stairs used as a water feature.”
Anil Bhaskaran, MD & Chief Architect, IDEA Centre Architects Pvt. Ltd.

“Design muse: Nature has been the sole and most important source of inspiration to me. I ran out of teachers very soon when studying and I looked at other sources of knowledge to find creation and creativity. The fundamentals of creation help me to learn and inspire me to find rules within what nature has provided for you. As a designer, I look for a formula that nature has that I want to convert into designs.

Favourite part of the home: In my home, I have created a verandah next to the living area like a patio where you can sit. There is a small water cascade and a garden which is my favourite place. This is where I feel closest to nature in my home and I feel very good when I sit here and it relaxes me.

Favourite residential project: I have done many villas that I consider well-designed. Some of notable ones are Farookh villa, Thomas villa, Raju villa, Srinivas villa and Chrysanthemum, all located in Bangalore. Each one has a message that it conveys as it is built over a particular theme and I would find it hard to choose one.”

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