Excerpt: The polyphonic Apartment is a residence designed by the architectural firm OPENIDEAS Architects. While the fundamental objective was to present a curated mix of international brands, we wanted something more out of the space. We were treating it like a mere display with aesthetics as if soulfulness and juxtapositions were not the questions. We aimed to create a narrative that would be character and memorable.
[Text as submitted by Architect] The project was a home to be created for a purveyor of furniture sourced from the international market. Italy was a favorite stomping ground, and the European aesthetics, he found, resonated powerfully with him. The client asked us to create an environment that could serve as a showcase for the different brands he was associated with in a setting with distinct western sensibilities.
While the fundamental objective was to present a curated mix of international brands, we wanted something more out of the space. We were treating it like a mere display with aesthetics as if soulfulness and juxtapositions were not the questions. We aimed to create a narrative that would be character and memorable.
The desire to deliver something beyond the brief for this young family of four was instrumental in shaping the project. But before that, we had to decide what we’d take from the brands. Given the multitude of options for procuring the interior elements, this task was a thorough one requiring much research. We had to decide what to take and what not to take. Both became crucial to the success of this project. Then, this selection — which largely fell within the modern ambit — was meshed with vintage finds so that the space looked more ‘home’ and less ‘showplace’.
The civil intervention
The footprint of the 7BHK Surat apartment was appreciable. But we had to leverage this trait to establish a sense of space that the family desired. The bedroom units were whittled down to four, and the remaining three went into creating expansive areas and a family room. Naturally, walls were taken down, and rooms merged in this process. This fulfilled the family’s desire for openness and expanse. For instance, the interrupted length of the public zone to the balcony is an appreciable 75 ft. An open kitchen serves as the heart of the home, allowing the lady of the house to be more connected to the proceedings and oversee the children’s activities. And the foyer and the Pooja area are sheathed in glass to keep the sense of space intact.
The visual vocabulary
The idea of what this home would look like simmered with the client and us over a while. We made time for this project on business trips taken together — inspirations were noted, and thoughts and imagery were pinned down for future reference. Arches were immediately sanctioned for the project. Elsewhere, we noticed expanses of slim exposed bricks that went wonderfully with the vintage flavour we wanted. Vaults were another form that was checked off in the list of desirables.
The shell is rendered in pale, gentle shades, with the drama being enacted by the furniture and furnishings through bold forms and tactile textures. Art contributes to the theatrical effect — large canvases propped against the wall act as striking backdrops to tasteful arrangements. The drama is mellowed in the private spaces, which are articulations tailored to individual preferences — a young girl’s space with an Amazonian rainforest print on the bed-head and an edgy feminine photo; an empty canvas of a boy’s room waiting to be filled with his personality; a sophisticated natural stone fluting on the bedroom that hosts the client’s parents.
The material palette
We carefully monitored this selection, given that the lion’s share of the budget was allocated to procuring the best furniture and accessories (such as light fixtures) from the international markets. So, while statuario marble makes a milky, luminescent and veined presence in the public zone, the private areas are pragmatically clad in tiles that mimic marble. The walls essentially are lined with painted MDF panels. The public area sees a series of brick-lined ceiling vaults. Most of the area rugs and carpets have been sourced from Jaipur Rugs.
Architects are often called upon to balance what is suitable for the client and what is good for the project. In this case, we’re glad the two have a happy confluence.