A VAST CANVAS

This house’s design philosophy of contemporary minimalism simultaneously reflects a sense of detachment

Sumie is an ancient Asian art form of pen and ink drawing. It is minimalistic, comprising the fewest brush strokes in monochrome to capture the essence of a subject. Sumie paintings are characterised by the contrast of dark and light and the vast empty spaces left in their composition. The pictorial emptiness represents the Buddhist philosophy of detachment while the brush strokes capture feelings visually.

Ashish Patel, Nikhil Patel and Vasudev Shcta of Ace Associates wittingly turned this Anand house into a giant canvas that creatively expresses the philosophy of a Sumie painting.

This double-storey house, which is a part of a gated community, is situated on an 8000 sq ft plot and has a built up area of about 4000 sq ft. The ground floor has the public spaces along with a guest bedroom while the first floor, which is a private space, has the remaining three bedrooms.

The design follows an aesthetic of emptiness. Clean, straight lines mark every aspect of it with its uncluttered and open nature. Every area of the house has a single key feature, which stands out while the rest is muted and reflects a corresponding uniform theme.

Since the house is a part of a gated community, the changes for the exteriors were kept to a minimum. Structural changes were carried out only in the interiors. The best example of this is the foyer, which was small and insignificant in the original layout and is now a voluminous space.

«We broke some of the walls to make the foyer area spacious. There was a lot of debate about incorporating a statue of Lord Ganesha in the foyer. However, since tine rest of the house is in a contemporary tone, we were not very sure of using a statue to define that area. We finally reached a compromise by having a Ganesha mural painted on black mirror and a sleeping Buddha sculpture was placed over the storage space,» says Ashish Patel.

The contemporary theme of the design is reflected in the contrasting colour palette of grey, black and white with the use of a single bright colour to bring the space to life in keeping with the philosophy of expression and emptiness.

The foyer, family and living spaces and tine dining area have dark grey Italian marble flooring, which is contrasted with the white walls.

Bright orange is used to highlight key areas of these public spaces.

The living room, which seamlessly binds with the dining, is a formal space that follows a theme of black and white. An orange wall with the white mural instantly lifts this ambience thereby making it look vibrant.

«The dining area is the central part of die house. However, in the original design, the living and dining spaces were separated by walls. We broke the walls but as the owners didn’t want a single continuous space we provided glass partitions so the spaces are connected yet independent. The dining also has a double-heighted ceiling and the Buddha mural and crystal drop chandelier,» says Patel.

The owners required the dining area to be formal so the designers used solid teak wood with a rough finish to create the dining table. Instead of the usual four legs this table is designed such that die tabletop flows onto die floor. The dark tone allows the owner of the flexibility to experiment with the centrepieces in future.

The living and family spaces follow the same philosophy of emptiness with a single feature standing out. The staircase leading up from the dining area was also reworked. From the staircase one can see two Buddha paintings, the one that overlooks the dining table and a second located on the mid-landing. The paintings depict silhouettes in limited colours and face the extravagant crystal drop chandelier.

«We used a toughened glass railing for more transparency so one can see the total width of the staircase. At the mid-landing we changed the vitrified tile flooring to black wood to complement it with the Buddha mural on the wall,» says Patel.

The designers chose tine approach of micro planning and understood each person’s tastes and needs as they were formerly occupying to determine what needed to be changed. Thus, while the public spaces speak a common theme, the bedrooms are unique to their occupants.

The parent’s bedroom has an aqua tone colour scheme while the sons’ rooms are in black and dark brown. All the storage has been moved to the dressing areas so that the rooms are more spacious. A combination of direct and indirect lighting has been provided to create different moods in the spaces.

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