Of newer materials & evolved styles...

Of newer materials & evolved styles...

Of newer materials & evolved styles...

Shruti Choudhari of Chrysalis Design Studio believes that every space has a raw, transitional quality that can be complimented by design. A Varsha Rao finds out more about her philosophy, trends and challenges in a conversation.

Chrysalis Design Studio (CDS) believes in transforming spaces in tandem with the environment, clients’ aspirations and inherent potential of the existing site. Something which beautifully reflects in their creations — be it a three-storied contemporary-modern private residence in Sadashivnagar or a spacious mall in Mahadevapura. Set up in 2010 in Bengaluru by Shruti Choudhari, CDS has earned quite a name for itself in the City’s architecture and interior design space.

Ask Shruti what sets her apart from the rest and she lays out the organisation’s diverse portfolio. She says, “At CDS, we do work that can be broadly divided into two segments — one is catering to the developers; we have designed most of Soul Space Projects buildings, the last project being a residential apartment comprising 135 apartments. The other segment involves smaller projects like high-end residences (architecture, interiors and turnkey), office interiors and retail spaces for private clients.” Prod her a little more and she reveals that she loves designing residences for people as it gives her an insight into them as people. Not to forget the fact that such a journey is always a unique and challenging one for an architect.

CDS is an entirely women-run enterprise and believes that there is inspiration all around us and observing nature is like unlocking a storehouse of ideas. Take a look through their designs and you will know that they have a deep regard for space, which in itself, is a feat considering the dearth of spaces we face today. So, while their residential spaces look comforting, their retail enterprises make customers feel at home.

Born into a construction family with an artist for a mother, Shruti grew up with a strong passion for buildings, art, design and culture. “Finding a balance between the building and art sides of my personality led me towards architecture. Visits to construction sites from the age of 13 added that extra interest and a visit to Sri Lanka when I was 16 years old, where I experienced the brilliance of Architect Geoffrey Bawa further cemented the path,” explains Shruti. In an exclusive chat with Deccan Herald, Shruti Choudhari, the principal architect of CDS, sheds light on architecture trends, design challenges and more.


Describe your design philosophy. Who is your inspiration?
Every space has a raw, transitional quality about it, which can be played up to create a complimentary relationship with the design envisioned in a designer’s mind. That is the essence of Chrysalis Design Studio.

I get inspired by a number of people for different things. For instance, I get
inspired by Geoffrey Bawa for the way he used nature and the building form together, making it one unit is unparalleled. His architecture is highly organic and reflects the soul of the land it’s been created on.

Zaha Hadid who is the only female master architect the world has seen. The forms she created, the techniques she used were new and progressive. But my favourite Indian master will be B V Doshi. For him, architecture is a transformation of all adverse conditions into favourable ones. His use of volume and light is very well highlighted in IIM Bangalore.

What kind of homework should a person do before reaching out to an architect?
A client needs to understand what it is that they are looking for, in terms of type and style of project. Post that, have your budget firmly locked down. Ideally, see a couple of projects handled by the architect. You must the check the architects delivery and drawing/execution timelines through references. Many times, people hire architects and then reduce them to draftsmen. That is a waste of time and money on both ends. Trust your architect.

On the evolution of architecture…
Architecture has definitely evolved. People are willing to use newer materials and experiment with styles that were not popular earlier. Lighting has become an integral part of design. A modern-contemporary elevation with minimalist approach and use of exposed formwork on the facade is definitely more popular today. And of course, sustainable architecture has also taken centre stage.

Which project gave you the most satisfaction and why?
We did a family home in New Delhi. We modified the existing structure and elevation that had two skylights, which was a challenge. Several generations with very strong opinions resided in there and we experimented with three different styles of interiors in the same project. Another unique feature was the use of solar energy in this project. It has been one of the most challenging projects as modifying an existing structure is always more difficult than creating a new one.

Some trends in the space of architecture this year…
Getting the outside in: the inside and outside have become one, open concept design, indoor green areas and courtyard spaces, flexible rooms, larger windows, smart homes and automation, environment-conscious or sustainable design, wooden floors, pattern on pattern in one space, grey with gold or rose gold accents will be huge.

What are the typical challenges you face while designing homes?
The challenge areas are always the main circulation staircase, making sure enough natural light is available within the space and of course, location of services. Vastu is another challenge that actually becomes an integral part of design in India. Another challenge is making your vision and the client’s aspiration of what they want become one.

What are the most common kinds of mistakes people commit while designing their homes?
Your home should be a reflection of your family and you, your desires and your identity. That is the foundation of a well-designed home. A lot of times, clients deviate from what they want into zones of what they want others to perceive their home as or get influenced by trends that totally clash with the basic concept of the design. This is dangerous as it can meddle with the sanctity of the design and we may end up with a very confused space. Remember before you start to have your vision of what you want your home to look like entrenched in your mind and do not deviate from the same.

How do you propose we make homes ‘green’?
Some of the following measures could be adopted:

l Use of energy efficient lighting.

l Indoor green spaces.

l Green walls (green potted plants could replace this as green walls can be an expensive proposition).

l Proper use of rainwater harvesting and waste management.

l Solar cell panels on the roof to heat water instead of electrical source.

l Kitchen garden and compost pit.

Could you suggest some design ideas that could work for small spaces?
Flexible rooms work wonders for small spaces. A single area can be divided into multiple spaces by using sliding doors and sliding glass partitions. Open concept plan with open kitchens further adds to this. Openings should be large and colours used should be whites and pastels to give an illusion of space.

Is there anything we could learn from the architecture of other nations?
There are too many styles in too many nations we can learn from. For instance, we can learn from the Norwegians to adopt more sustainable practices in architecture, from the Italians and their use of browns and monochromes and sense of proportions, from the Spanish, how to incorporate colour in our designs and from the Japanese, how to use light as well as how to keep the design simple yet effective.

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