A Paradisiacal pavilion

Mumbai’s urban fabric is woven with skyscrapers defining the city skyline. Tall, towering and toneless, the high-rises are often seen to lack the lustre of life.

To revive the mundane monotonous mystique of the concrete jungle that they call home, the layman habitually turns to architects or interior designers as their messiah.

Though interior design is undoubtedly crucial in accentuating the structure’s inherent spatial quality, it is most ideal if the two go hand-in hand right from the beginning. This scenario is however extremely rare in the case of apartments albeit a few interesting projects like the one here.

A couple and their son, in anticipation of future growth in the family wanted to move to a larger, more accommodative space.

Having been truly in love with their existing house, a work of brilliance by the innovative design team at S+PS architects, the client had no second thoughts on whom to approach with the design of their new abode.

But, there was a catch; the ‘site’ is on multiple levels, namely the 9th and 10th floor of a typical apartment building in Khar, Mumbai. Duplex apartments are more often seen to occupy the upper levels of premium high rises to capture the breathtakingly mesmerizing views from multiple vantage points, roof planes opening up to imbibe the beauty of the serene skies above.

However, nestled in between typical floors, this project offered a different play ground for the architects. Plain white walls soaring up with its periodic puncture of windows and tinted blue curtain wall glazing, all which essayed a prosaic backdrop rather than an intriguing creative canvas.

Fortunately, the floor slabs weren’t cast for these apartments as and when the project was proposed, thereby opening up a plethora of options for the design team.

To say that the project was formidably daunting would be a gross understatement. The owner being a civil engineer, proud of his prowess over concrete was up for a challenge anyhow.

An open-out philosophy with minimal vertical obstructions was devised to offer panoramic birds-eye views. The east and west peripheral walls were taken off to carve out double-heighted voids within.

The north had existing deep verandahs that overlooked a low height temple complex. Thus emerged a three-sided green buffer envelope that cordially coalesces into the interiors as the sliding doors move away, much like an open pavilion – giving the project its title.

The interior surfaces are covered with four distinctly different sets of concave and convex profiles of wooden strips that articulate a tactile wrapper for the entire living volume.

The earthy wooden tone transcends on to gracious greenery of trees and hanging vertical green columns that negotiate visual privacy while providing a soothing shade from the sun.

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The shimmering water pool beside the dining has a custom made specially commissioned sculpture by artist Dimpy Menon, which adds a dynamic ethos to the overall ambience.

The living room roof slab presents a joyful composition of an undulating surface made of repetitive 4”x4” concrete cuboids. The ingenuity of this design is further evident as one walks into the master bedroom above, that has a memory grid of the same composition finished in open grain grey travertine.

The way up through the doubly cantilevered steel staircase fabricated in a constantly diminishing triangular beam section, against a backdrop of a specially commissioned Shreenathji Picchwai artwork by artist Shubhangi Samant, is an efficacious experience in itself.

Contrary to the earthy material palette below, the upper level has an expanse of white marble flooring with diagonal brass inlays that emulate light streaming in through the windows.

Two large containers in crafted brass accommodate all the toilets, wardrobes and other spaces that require a physical enclosure, leaving the rest of the floor plan relatively open.

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Large full-height sliding doors function as room partitions enabling the relationship between rooms to be manipulated at will thereby ensuring that this small three-person family sees enough of each other.

This design approach further facilitates the feature of furniture floating as animate sculptures within, an idea quite figuratively incorporated in the son’s bedroom.

A parametric sculpture finished in wood, that combines a cocooned mattress and a study table, all of which revolve around a central axis to reorient itself to the changing room configurations.

The overall design embodies principles of minimalism, right from the décor and furniture, to even the minute details of cabinet handles that are neatly concealed by subtle budges of the crafted brass surface.

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The ‘Pavilion House’ thus stand testament to the extents of how architecture and interiors can mutually complement in crafting vibrant living spaces, even in considerably bleak conditions of a condominium.

Fact File

  • LOCATION: Khar, Mumbai
  • ARCHITECT: S+PS Architects
  • DESIGN TEAM: Pinkish Shah, Shilpa Gore-Shah, Charu Shah, Gaurav, Agarwal, Priyal, Rushabh Gada, Pratyusha Suryakant.
  • SITE AREA: 3690 sq.ft. (INDOOR) & 1315 sq.ft. (OUTDOOR)
  • STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Rajeev Shah & Associates
  • ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT: Deepak Shah & Rajkumar Yadav
  • SITE MANAGER: Jesal Saraiya/Pradeep
  • CARPENTRY: Ramjag Vishwakarma
  • POP / GYPSUM WORKS: Sanjay Labdhe
  • PAINTING / POLISHING: Sanjay Mane, Ramesh Singh
  • FABRICATION: Shayona Drilling Engineers, Mr. Bharat Dawda/ Uday-Pawan Steel
  • WOODEN WINDOWS: Ritikaa Windows
  • SOURCING: DeFurn Furniture Studio, AKFD, Klove, Viya Home, Natuzzi.
  • LANDSCAPING: Marigold Horticulture
  • GOLD LEAFING: The Gold Leafing Studio
  • MARBLE WORK: Dilip Maroo, Paresh Maroo
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