Vibrant, new-age design

Vibrant, new-age design

SEAMLESS The  facade of VivantaVivanta, by Taj - Whitefield, Bangalore, has won multiple awards - the “Interior Design Award’, ‘Architecture Award’ in the ‘Commercial’ category and the ‘2010 Building of The Year’ award at the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Awards 2010. The design of Vivanta was selected from 180 global entries.

The property is described as a ‘landscaper, not a skyscraper? Why?
The idea of the ‘landscaper’ came about due to the constraints prescribed by the low height restrictions and high site coverage in the urban planning guidelines. By folding, twisting, bending and stretching the “ground” plane to accommodate the various functions of the hotel within the plot, a very strong site-specific landscape strategy was formulated which gave rise to this landscaper form.

What were the restrictions you worked under? And how did you work around each of them to achieve your result?
From inception, both the team and the client were wary of the ability of the local construction industry being able to execute the design with precision. This was especially so since the budget was restrictive, yet the aspirations large. Thus, the team set out with the intent of working within the skill level of the local construction industry. Designing and detailing the building with finishes that intentionally celebrated the raw and rustic look. Imperfection was to be expected, and treated as a virtue. Workmanship defects were embraced as a positive part of the aesthetic. Unexpected results required an adaptive strategy. This included a strong bush-hammer finish, used in parts to enhance or hide the texture of the exposed concrete. In areas where concrete was not appropriate, rough bagged render, stone or simple timber paneling was used.

The lobby of VivantaWhat are the Indian elements in the architecture and interior design?
‘Flux Lines’ are etched into the concrete exterior and selected interior surfaces drawing references to India’s boundless energy, karma and henna heritage. Also, the cinematic interior spaces created as a direct result of the form of the building draws references to traditional Indian dance forms of twisting and circling. Its form and function has metamorphosed into becoming part of Bangalore’s ethos.

How green is the property? What are the eco-friendly features?
At all times, the material palette for both exterior and interior including the selection of fabrics were deliberately kept sensitive to the local conditions of supply and procurement issues. These maneouvres help to address the sustainability considerations of extensive carbon expenditure brought about from importing materials from outside South India. Sustainability also takes on a poetic ideal emanating from its sculptured form. The landscaped ground ‘plane’ becomes the green roof thus reducing heat (by adding mass and thermal resistance value) and cooling loads to the podium spaces underneath. Rainwater is also harvested from its ‘planes’ and channelled for reuse in landscape irrigation.

What did you conceive of as the salient or distinguishing features of this property?
The most distinguishing feature of this property is how the architecture, interior and landscape came together to create a coherently rich experiential spatial experience. Boundaries seemed to dematerialise, blurring distinctions between building and ground, architecture and landscape, inside and outside. Public and private spaces flow and connect to each other in an endless ‘promenade’ spatial experiences with cinematic qualities that are quite unique to its context in India.

 

* The property is built not so much like a hotel but rather to look and feel like a home-away-from home. Vivanta by Taj at Whitefield in Bangalore manages to recreate this feel and look just as it also fulfils its other objective––to be international and state-of-the-art in both design and function. Vibrant and new-age are the operative words.

*Hence, the very contemporary look, standing in the lobby and looking around at the various public areas as well as the facade of the room-block, you feel you could be anywhere in the world.

* The entire Vivanta Whitefield property form, says Wong Chiu Man of Singapore-based Warner Wong Design WOW Architects, “reflects the figure of 8, a mobius strip, a three-dimensional twisted loop that has a two-dimensional continuous flowing surface. Thus, the effect is that of a landscaper, a space that blends and unifies the building with the earth.

* This results in a strong sense of flow…and a coherently rich spatial experience.” So, there are many seamless spaces and borderless places which flow easily into one another––a feeling taken forward by the spaciousness of the public areas, the very high ceilings, and the enormous inflow of natural light from the extensive use of glass all round. Completely open or semi-open public areas reinforce this feel and look by bringing in lots of fresh air and breezes.

* Also, this means that journeying through the property with its maze-like layout and functional geometry is about an easy and unimpeded movement. This free flow is best exemplified in the skywalk, a winding, wonderfully wind-blown pathway which takes you past or above most of the hotel’s areas. The rich-green rooftop lawns reiterate this “sense of flow”. These features also aim to increase guest interaction.
The façade of the hotel and room-block sport an unusual, innovative look.

* As architect Chiu Man explains: “The distinct elevation of the hotel block was created by digitising a landscape image of the site.” So the facades are a medley of blue and green which reflect the blue sky and greenery, which the architects saw on their site-visit.

*“It’s a pixilated allusion to the memory of the site creatively composed using reflective light and dark tinted coloured glass,” Chiu Man adds.

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