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Infusing Old-World Charm in Contemporary Lifestyle

Posted by
on May 29, 2015 at 05:39 PM

Retrofitting interiors in an existing shell is an interesting aspect of interior design. It gives opportunities to explore and experiment on creativity, while posing numerous challenges due to obvious structural and functional restrictions. To create a new programmatic syntax, a study of the existing one and a closer understanding of the client’s brief and deep-rooted desires, empower a designer to achieve a lucid design solution that satisfies most of the aspirations built around it. Ar. Sanjay Punjabi of Surat shares with us, one such interior project – a home he retrofitted for a friend – with amazing results!

© Courtesy of Ar. Sanjay Punjabi, Surat

Design, as I see it, is the art of composing spaces in response to existing environmental and urban conditions to answer a client's needs. In this way the creation becomes the resolution between its inner being and the outer conditions imposed upon it. It is never solitary but is part of its setting and thus must blend in a timeless way with its surroundings yet show its own fresh presence.

One day I met an old friend who expressed a wish to revamp the interior of his home. Dhiren had a bungalow; and he came up with an idea about carrying out new interior work in his bungalow. "I have a script, you must be the director," he said – and thus the story began.

However, unlike most people who are attracted by the latest trends and international styles, Dhiren had a dream to create an entirely traditional ambience in his bungalow. He mentioned that it should resemble to an old style ghar (house) in some mohalla / pol (street) of Ahmedabad. To bring in a complete transformation of the space and create an aesthetic as well as functional solution, out-of-the-box thinking and bold decisions were mandatory. 

Aesthetics are the artistry. As an architect, the primary idea is to create functionally efficient spaces. Of course, visual appeal is important; but I always try to find a reason for adding aesthetics to any design - when we have to make our elements and the entire design go beyond the utilitarian and functional. The details add the visually appeal. In some ways it is the eye candy whose function is solely to generate a wow factor or other emotional response. It is an added layer of beauty on top of the usable and functional.

In this project, it was important to pay extreme attention to aesthetics and detailing – because the design certainly had to go beyond its functionality. The styling of each element was therefore a challenge; it had to look good on its own – and complement the theme too!

The existing compound wall was bulky; it had to be broken to create a wider area and mohalla like effect. A beautiful, huge old tree was retained and the wicket gate was replaced by a delo (old style door). A traditional Tulsi kyara (planter) was installed in compound wall. Terra cotta tile selection added to the charm, as did an old-style hand-crafted grill. Light lemon yellow tone was used to create visual effects. The otla (platform) was beautified by some wall and khidki (window) in addition to the compound wall. Electrical distribution board was concealed with louvered cabinets. A jhoola (swing) on the otla with pots, pans and copper light fixtures blends well with the theme. Kutchi wall treatment in the living room, with jharokha looks extremely attractive; as does the multipurpose console. Degda, textile puppets and chairs with peacock fabric were just right to set the mood. Teak wood polishing of the antique-style furniture completes the old-world charm! The partially double-heighted living room gives a scale just right for the furniture, lamps and accessories.

At the culmination of the project, we all felt a deep sense of achievement and satisfaction. The project finally took a right shape with the correct script. An artistic and exquisite design solution had emerged from the retrofit exercise!

Designer : Ar. Sanjay Punjabi
Photography :Courtesy the architect

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