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Jan - Feb
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Dec 15, 2021
Mozez Singh - Oct 07, 2019
Today, on World Architecture Day, we decided to delve into some of the most well-designed, gorgeous homes planned by top architects and designers in India. Take a moment, pause and browse through these mesmerising residences featured in AD. These spaces are truly, works of art.
This exquisite sea-facing home, designed by Ambika Hinduja Macker for her brother, Shom, in suburban Mumbai is a stand-out work of architecture and a perfect example of the theory of cymatics. The original octagonal structure, which used to be the family guest cottage was transformed into a place where one could relax, reflect and rejoice. In this slick modern home themes and ideas range from flora and fauna to the wabi-sabi philosophy of discovering beauty in imperfection, to the minimalistic chic of Scandinavian and Japanese design. And other than retaining only parts of the original octagonal structure and the sloping roofs, the rest of the structure was completely reinforced, restructured and redesigned.
Mozez Singh - Jan 14, 2019
Cymatics is Greek for the phenomenon of waves, because sound travels in waves. Throughout history, there have been people who have observed and investigated the unique ability of the vibrations of sound to effect and shape different substances. While none of the structures created by sound are living creatures, they are all individualistic and utterly original, and it is believed that because of their singularity and uniqueness they are directly connected to the divine. The house that Ambika Hinduja Macker built, with its novel, over-30-year-old octagonal design fused together with its current and contemporary rectilinear shape, is not just a hybrid of the old and the new; it is also the creation of a maverick design form that may have been borne by the sound of the waves that wallop its periphery. This exquisite sea-facing home in suburban Mumbai is a stand-out work of architecture and a perfect example of the theory of cymatics—if one is to let one’s imagination run wild.
Noted architect Phiroze Pantaki designed the original octagonal structure for what used to be the family guest cottage and the late Parmeshwar Godrej did the interiors. When Ambika’s brother Shom inherited the property, he wanted to transform it into his sanctuary: “a place where he could relax, reflect and rejoice”, says Ambika, who was the first and only person who Shom approached to realize his maison de rêve. Shom went to the right person. Ambika, a former film producer, has always been drawn to the arts, and she prides herself on not limiting her interests, her hobbies and her profession to only one thing. A polymath, she has worked in film and interior and product design, has curated experiential spaces and represented artists, and is a gypsy at heart, exploring new landscapes emotionally, physically and spiritually.
The opportunity to create the perfect home for her brother, inspired by the variety of her life, was both a professional opportunity and a personal triumph. The fact that Shom and Ambika have a very similar design aesthetic led to a synchronicity of themes and ideas that came together resplendently in this slick modern home. Their influences range from flora and fauna (their mother tends to the most spectacular private bonsai garden in India), to the wabi-sabi philosophy of discovering beauty in imperfection, to the minimalistic chic of Scandinavian and Japanese design. And so, other than retaining only parts of the original octagonal structure and the sloping roofs, (which were transformed into green roofs as Shom is an ardent supporter of sustainability and Ambika pointedly works as a conscious designer), the rest of the structure was completely “reinforced, restructured and redesigned”.
While ensuring that the original structure was respected, Ambika began to redesign the space. Exposed beams and columns were removed so that, spatially, the home would become more open and free- owing, the rooms larger and the lines cleaner. Ambika also worked very closely with landscape designer Kunal Maniar to heighten the beauty of the already lush and Edenic gardens around the home. Once the interiors and exteriors had been transformed, she blazed through the insides of the home by giving each room a distinct personality that is, first of all, deeply calming and then, sensual and evocative. It also helps that the home has uninterrupted views of the garden and the Arabian Sea beyond, and just before dusk, when the earth has darkened but the water is still lit saffron by the melting sun, sitting in the all-glazed living room feels like you are sailing on the world’s most luxurious yacht, embarking on a voyage to the cocoon of cool.
Since the entrance and the dining room are part of the original design, Ambika retained the sloping structure of the ceilings but covered them in naturally oiled Burma teak, as it brought about a redolent contradiction in the design language that is engaging and alluring. Other eye-catching pieces in the dining area are the vintage 1952 tan leather dining chairs designed by William Katavolos, Ross Littell and Douglas Kelley and a 1960s ceramic screen designed by the Cloutier Brothers. Then, there is the glorious artwork.
The Whizz Pop fibre-optic light installation by Bruce Munro adds a fantastical touch to the room, while Alex Turco’s aluminium composite triptych of beautifully painted branches is used as a ceiling installation to conceal trapdoors. And finally, Janaina Mello’s Ciclotrama is a site-specific installation that occupies the space in an immersive and unexpected way. The unwoven strands seem to be reminiscent of the roots of plants, the circulatory systems of bodies and the nerve endings of neurons. Sounds like cymatics all over again.
The dining room is of great relevance to Shom as he loves to cook and host lavish but intimate dinners. In fact, this home has two kitchens—upstairs and downstairs. The guest powder room is draped with customized wallpaper from De Gournay in metallic colours. In the den, Fred Eerdekens’s copper-wire sculpture casts a calming and restorative shadow.
But the ne plus ultra art piece of this home is the stupendously crafted Magnus by Joseph Walsh. The fluid three-dimensional structure hangs like a breathtaking comet’s circular tail on the living-room ceiling. Ambika and Joseph have known each other for years; she also represents him as an artist and has a great understanding of his inimitable and lyrical language. So when Shom and she approached him to design a bespoke piece for the home, he came up with Magnus. Ambika says, “Magnus is an entire universe of emotions hidden between layers of shaped elements just waiting to be explored and experienced. I ended up designing the entire space around it.” And what a space it is.
The room, the home, the gardens are medals that Ambika should proudly wear. And, as it turns out, she is already in the process of earning a few more. “Among the projects I’m currently working on, the one I’m most excited about is the launch of The Dabba Luminaire, a light art installation I designed that juxtaposes the utilitarian and the esoteric as a means to convey unity and connection. The design explores the interplay between a common, everyday object and the ethereal attributes of light. Another upcoming project I’m excited about bringing to life is ‘Blue Beet’, a multisensory design and gastronomy space that will offer an immersive experience that raises vibrations and heightens awareness.” Touched by the divine.
Aug - Sep 2014