Surprises in 550 sq ft

Surprises in 550 sq ft
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Sun, Jan 25 2009. 08 07 PM IST

Updated: Sun, Jan 25 2009. 08 07 PM IST
Set in the quiet seaview end of a Mumbai suburb, this small studio apartment does justice to its owner: a water-loving globetrotter and an artist.
Designer Shabnam Gupta seems to have taken inspiration from these lines by William Blake, which are painted over the breakfast bar in the kitchen:
To see a world in grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour
In this modest space, she has combined art, cooking and cinema—the owner’s three great loves—seamlessly, with nature at the heart of it all.
The vertical garden in the sitting area was the first element Gupta and the apartment’s owner agreed on: Inspired by Patrick Blanc’s Parisian installations, particularly the Musee du Quai Branly, it is the focal point of the flat.
Together with landscapist Neelam Sagar, Gupta chose composite soil as the base, in which she planted anthuriums, orchids and ferns with their roots balled up. They are watered by a special sprinkler system, all of which is boxed into the wall so that the moisture can’t ooze out. To frame the greenery, a natural local stone, in shades from yellow to black—deliberately roughened for a “raw” texture—clads the wall.
It is complemented by a jigsaw-like coffee table which sports an embossed blue crocodile. Each piece of the table can be moved for versatility.
In the bathroom is another simulation of nature: a cascading waterfall of a shower hewn from kota stone—a hundred times cheaper than the expensive products Gupta saw in the market.
The doorway too is guarded by art: An ocean-themed Savia Mahajan painting adorns the door, on the rear of which the artist owner has sketched her own sequel, replete with sea creatures.
They pop up in unlikely places all through the apartment. On the overhead beams above the passage between the kitchen and bathroom swims a shoal of steel fish. It started with a single piece crafted in Europe, and was replicated by a local blacksmith. More critters in glass hang in the window grilles.
The apartment is a studio in name and in function too, full of shelves and nooks for painting, printmaking and photography materials. Heavy blinds convert a neutral-toned working area readily from sunny studio to darkroom.
Factfile:
Area: 550 sq. ft
Designer: Shabnam Gupta
Duration: Three-and-a-half months
Materials: Natural stone cladding and plaster on walls; river-washed kota in bath; granite, cobblestone and Burma teak flooring; agglomerated stone on kitchen counter
Also See More photos
1) Dark cantilevered shelves and cabinets, a stone tiled floor and white plastered walls in the artist’s work area provide a low-maintenance, neutral background for work in progress, with storage that keeps art materials ready at hand
2) Stained glass sunflowers and raindrops from the artist’s own range of products add an element of whimsy to the sunny sitting area.
3) The mild steel grill over the door is a feature of many Indian apartments, letting residents interact with outsiders from safety. This one, though, is distinctive in form, to suit the owner
4) An assortment of textures adds interest to this small, multifunctional space. Neutral colours unite the various work areas, from studio to kitchen; However, distinctive and arresting textures come from a shoal of metal fish overhead, faux jaali shutters, William Blake’s verse etched on the wall, an array of mirrored raindrops lining the side of the under-counter cabinet, wood and stone flooring, jute upholstery, and a plastic-and-steel bar stool.
5) The wall-mounted “vertical garden”, inspired by Patrick Blanc’s Parisian ones, forms a focal point.
Photographs by Rohan and Maithili
Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
CONNECT
Admire
Moritz Craffonara, a local from the Alpine Dolomites of Italy, wanted a bed under the stars. He approached industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, who in turn designed the futuristic Alpine capsule, an 8m-wide structure with a double glass skin that’s covered with a special reflective coating. Powered by solar panels and a vertical axis wind turbine, the off-grid alpine retreat’s shimmering glass skin allows individuals to admire the beautiful landscape. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 at Piz la Ila (Alta Badia, Italy), and the structure will be located at an altitude of 2,100m. Better Interiors
SEE
Zaha Hadid, Corian and Ernestomeda created the DuPont Corian Z. Island, which wowed audiences at Milan Design Week last year. The set is split into two units: one representing fire, the other water. There’s also a modular wall cabinet with futuristic doors. The wall covering diffuses sound and light, sporting LEDs you can set to suit your mood. The main island has a touch-control picture, and shifts from vertical to horizontal position (so it can be used for cooking and eating, or as an LCD TV screen and iPod station). Gretchen Ferrao
Use
FieldTurf Tarkett India celebrated the completion of 1,000 installations in India and its neighbouring countries last year. Marking the occasion, the brand launched an array of new products. Among these is a next-generation artificial grass, which is maintenance free (needs no watering, fertilizing, weeding, etc.) and has a life of 20-25 years. It is an ideal solution for spaces such as rooftops and balconies, where it is difficult to maintain grass. FieldTurf’s clients in India include Reliance Industries, Infosys, Hero Honda, the National Stock Exchange, MIcrosoft, Vodafone and Coca-Cola.Better Interiors
Float
Alexander Asadov’s Aerohotel, conceived as an elevated aquatic structure replete with hanging gardens, sits atop an elegant system of supports. This floating island preserves the ecosystem beneath it, unlike more traditional man-made islands. It consists of a 200m-wide circular hub which will contain cafes, restaurants and winter gardens, in addition to a hotel. The Aerohotel can be installed in any water body. Plans include docking for boats as well as a landing strip for a zeppelin. Gretchen Ferrao
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Sun, Jan 25 2009. 08 07 PM IST