1102 penthouse was designed as a reflection of the clients lavish yet austere lifestyle. The aspirations of high living are challenged by domestic realities of maintaining a functional household. Therein lay the challenge of adapting the spaces of a standardized apartment to serve the family's specific needs.
Located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Judges Bungalow Road in Ahmedabad, India, the duplex penthouse comprises of the internally connected, two west wing apartment units on the 11th and 12th floor of Paarijat Residences.
The home is designed as a serene escape from the riot of sounds and sights of the city. The spaces enveloped in neutral tones are intended to have a calm the senses and prepare them to better enjoy the finer nuances of the design, brought about with meticulous craftsmanship. Grey and white surfaces with discrete, novel forms unify the house, and provide the ideal canvas for a splash of colour. The carefully selected decor with intriguing lighting design and customized artworks add character to the spaces. Be it climbing the dramatic staircase or dining at the breakfast table, the attempted blending of artistry into every space elevates its humble function to an event.
Material exploration has allowed the play of forms, texture and pattern to be experienced at varied scales. Metal and wood serve as structure for the forms that are discreet and follow a linear language. Sheets of ultra thin ceramic and metal form patterned screens that reveal subtle imagery when they are back-lit but blend and disappear into the textured stone and plastered surfaces around it with deceptive ease at the flick of a switch.
The importance of light in design is made evident with the detail and exploration in the way the source is both revealed and concealed. Light seems to be 'served' in inverted bowls and ooze out of narrow slits through the walls and ceiling. Multiple configurations of LED and low-energy fluorescent lamps create suitable ambiances for any occasion.
The staircase is an event in itself, a performance that transforms the foyer into a rhythmic play of planes. A potentially mundane element becomes a visual and sculptural delight. It lends itself to the setting of an ideal family portrait but could just as easily steal the show. The influence of its form extends to the spaces adjoining it, and when seen from a certain vantage point, the drama ceases and the hard liners melt into the monochrome.
The staircase leads to the terrace - a small measure of the sky secluded for the residents - where the family enjoys their evening meals with the ever-rising city skyline as background, complimented with a Zen - like approach to landscape. The soft lighting helps create an almost meditative atmosphere. A change in the music may easily set up a transformation of the space into a vibrant celebration to share with friends and loved ones.
Project Highlights :
Entrance : The entrance foyer unites motion controlled ambient lighting with an intriguing linear design language, where the entrance to the apartment merges with the surrounding discreetly. The character of the space is such to entice the visitor while she/he waits for the door to open. A patterned screen, along the side wall, highlights the client's details for visitors. The entire space is cladded in 3mm thick Durlax tiles, inlaid with aluminium profiles along the grooves.
Living-Drawing Ceiling + Stairwell Ceiling + Breakfast Table : As one enters the living space, through the waiting vestibule, the ceiling tends to capture the onlookers attention as a crucial design feature which complements and provides a frame for the balance space. Mood Lighting is integrated into the 'Ceiling Bowls.'
The Stairwell ceiling and the Breakfast table both share the same design language, albeit slightly modified. The 'bowls' in the Breakfast table exhibit a decrease in depth along the length. The table has been fabricated using Medium Density Fibre and Corian and integrates a washbasin, and light modulator within.
The Stairwell Ceiling can be seen as comprised of the residual negatives from the Living space ceiling. The 'bowls' are suspended from the ceiling at varying depths and have integrated lighting
Fin Portrait (Swaminarayan) : The client is a devout follower of Svāmīnārāyaṇa, an eighteenth century preacher in western India who popularised the idea of leading of a pious life. The abstraction of the preacher's image was carried out as an exploration into the nuances of light and shade. The artwork is made entirely in mild steel. From the right vantage point, the varying depths of the metal fins, protruding out from the metal base, articulate into the intended image as an outcome of the interplay of light and shade.
Prayer Niche Door + Toilet Screens Ceilings + Screens at other locations inside the apartment : A prominent feature recurring throughout is the perforated screen in places such as the entrance foyer, toilet ceilings, the vestibule between the kitchen and the stairwell, and most notably the prayer niche door. Treatment of the mild steel and MDF with gridularly placed, yet seemingly erratic degrees of punctures, culminates into a host of patterns. A lighter background assists in better comprehension of the image against the darker mild steel (or MDF). This is brought about by either lighting in the background or the placement of a mirror. The patterns are created by parametrizing images as tessellations of geometries.
Staircase : A dominant element in the penthouse is the dramatic staircase. The final form took shape after considerable deliberations made in the aspects of both structure and aesthetics. Fabricated in mild steel, the entire structure is braced between the adjacent walls. Independent of its function, the staircase itself is designed as an artwork, striving to defy gravity as it connects two spaces. The result is the space in transition as an event.
Pixel artworks : These artworks were conceived as a transition of images to their elementary cells - ' The Pixels'. Each room with a warm grey canvas celebrates the splash of subtle colours in form of pixel artworks. In the master bedroom, further metamorphosis of the image occurs. The flat pixel of the image is first transformed to a cuboidal 3D form and eventually becomes a 2D pixel giving the illusion of being a cuboidal 3D pixel.
Efflux : This artwork comes to prominence as one moves out into the terrace and into the open area passing under the louvred pergola. The brightly coloured aluminium strips have been curved to fit onto a routed MDF base. A straight line gradually curves and eventually becomes straight again with maximum amplitude in the middle. The entirety of the artwork from end to end is reminiscent of mechanical wave motion.
POV: The other vivid artwork in the terrace area is the composition of mirrors, which essentially incorporates three different sizes (a bigger square, a rectangle and a smaller square) with flat bases and tops tilted at three different angles. Permutations of these shapes reflects the partially visible sky for the onlooker in the shaded part of the space, becoming an intriguing experience. The composition creates a dynamic collage of various activities, lights, and elements that constitute the terrace
Kitchen : The kitchen conveys the design language established throughout. Using the light weight tiling for cabinet shutters and as cladding on the walls, the white and grey palette finds continuance here. Functionally the tiles and the Corian surface offer an easy-to-clean, non-reactive, surface.