Project Name: Valecha’s residence
Location: The Address, Ghatkopar, Mumbai
Architects: IOSIS Architects
Principal Architects: Nihara Sonavane & Swapnil Sonavane
Design Team: Maitry Mehta, Kevin Chhadva
Project Duration: 6 months
Client Name: Bharat & Rima Valecha
Photo Credits: Kaustubh Gokhale
Started in 2009, Iosis is a design firm of young, committed professionals based in Mumbai, set up by Ar. Nihara Sonavane and Ar. Swapnil Sonavane. With a portfolio entailing diverse interior and architectural projects, Iosis believes in crafting simple, yet inventive design solutions which keep functionality and the client’s convenience at the core of their formulation. The firm treats all its projects with utmost care and responsibility, the architects involving themselves completely in the design process and its fruitful execution.
Having splendid views of scenic landscaped terraced gardens and the Thane creek on one side and the striking south Mumbai skyline on the other, the interiors for the residence were planned in an extroverted manner. The design was conceptualized in a way to make the maximum use of natural daylight and cross ventilation, thus purposing the location of the property in a constructive manner.
On seeing the site for the first time, the architects knew that there were no major alterations or additions that were required, the rooms were voluminous with an impeccably linear geometry. There was ample daylight and genial wind flowing throughout the apartment, owing to its height. After going through the needs of the clients and drawing up a design brief, the architects designed various layout options and took the most functional one to the 3-D stage.
The aim of the studio was to design the apartment on the strong lines of practicality and functionality, fused with aesthetic beauty and style. Instead of following each and every aspect of Vastu, a very difficult feat in case of apartment buildings, its basic principles were adhered to while designing.
The home was idealised to be as open as possible, so as the spaces are affable to a playful toddler. The living room was to have only the minimum required furniture, while the mandir needed ample space for idols, books and seating, the kitchen a simple yet functional space. The clients were receptive to the various inputs and contributions from the architects and valued the same. They were an integral part of the design process and the resourcing of materials.
Instead of clinging to a singular concept throughout the house, the design pays heed to the various requirements of the clients and their vision. The Living room follows a neutral colour palette, highlighted by a chequered gold textured wall. This highlighter wall flows into the terraces on its either sides, one with a bar near the dining area and the other with a lounger seating.
The Valechas loved the earth element that the architects had incorporated in a previous project, for their Living space and Iosis then teamed up with Aakar Pot Art to craft the stamped terracotta mural as the backdrop for the Dining area. The raw, stark beauty of the earth strikes poise with the shimmer and glitter of the rest of the space.
Although flanked by the main entrance, the Mandir is designed to be a distinct entity in itself by separating it using an ornamental partition screen. The central idol space in the Mandir is enveloped by small niches to place other idols. A pristine white colour palette has been observed for this devout space; Makrana marble has been used to achieve the spatial tranquillity.
The parents’ bedroom follows a simplistic design exuding warmth using contrasting elements like dark veneer and light upholstery. On the other hand the Master bedroom is an ageless, imperial space complete with deep coloured full height cushion headboard, adjacent mirrors and chandeliers.
The clients were mesmerized by Saif Ali Khan’s character’s youthful blue bedroom from the movie Dil Chahta Hai and wanted to emulate the same for their children’s bedroom. The bedroom then was idealised as a space that is timeless, one that grows and matures with the child.
A great amount of time was invested in finalising the materials, textures and in achieving the precise finishes. The finish for the pearl bubble finished duco sprayed shutters was very difficult to accomplish; it took ten samples to finally achieve it. Getting the perfect blue colour for the children’s bedroom also followed a similar story, taking multiple trials before finalizing one that matched the clients’ choice. It was a curious, nerve racking process to get the living room panelling with textured paint as it was the last job done on the site, with all the other work complete. However, on its completion, the panelling enchantingly blended the entire space together.
The clients visualised to have a wine barrel to be a part of the bar area. This was achieved by cutting an actual barrel in two portions and mounting it on a jack to adjust the height; to be used as a bottle and ice storage.
A linear geometry was followed throughout the design as the form follows functionality first and then visual splendour.
The conceptualization and finalization of the design took a month’s period while the completion of the project took five months. The architects believe in not conforming to any standard design strategies, ideologies or project types, while working on different sites. For them, each site boasts of a distinct charisma and they aim to enhance and complement the same, with minimal additions. The principal architects’ mentor, Ar. Uday Dighe believes that ‘while designing, it is very important to know where to stop’ and Iosis respects the same principle and follows it.
Both the principal architects, Ar. Nihara and Ar. Swapnil Sonavane, were inclined towards the creative fields of design, drawing and painting since their childhood. Today, they are most content being architects and having chosen architecture as their field of study, which has now become their way of living. Ar. Nihara believes that architecture is not just a study course, it’s a lifestyle; it is much more than just sketching and drawing. The course of architecture was a unique experience for both of them, making them very observant, sensitive and responsible individuals.
Ar. Swapnil Sonavane and Ar. Nihara Sonavane
-Tanvi Naik, Volume Zero.