Nestling With Art

Ar. Kavan Shah creates a minimalist, exposed extension for a house in Mumbai fondly referred to as the Grey Box.

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A home can be well defined as a place where all the comforts and functionality come together to make life easier and comfortable. And it is a fact that no luxury hotel can match the comfort that a home can ensure. Considering the dynamic in the various roles of a home, Ar. Kavan Shah created a cocoon for a family which beautifully merges the indoor and outdoor space to give an identity to the residence.

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The design discussion also had owners participating in, as the idea was to create maximum and comfortable space to host family and friends. With a small display of art collection and textile, the living space, resembles a small art studio and also functions as a system to travel back and forth between the ordinary and extraordinary.

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“We dispersed the house and made it inward looking to create its own context. The arrangement of the extension transforms the outdoor space into an integral part of the home, both as a thoroughfare between rooms and as a central gathering space for the family. It creates an interior-exterior relationship, where the space has a direct connection with their surroundings. It is an extension for a couple whose interests include contemporary art and textile,” says Shah.
The house has a monochromatic palette of concrete, and Burma teak wood on both the interior and exterior. Massive concrete walls define carefully assembled geometric composition and angles in endlessly fresh and unpredictable patterns. The colourful art gets its due importance in a simple grey colour scheme of the walls. Apart from a few art pieces, the only ornamentation that the wall bear are the ever- changing washes of sunlight and shadows.

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The extension is connected to the existing building with a cantilevered teak staircase in the light well to establish a relationship between inside and outside. The studio space is designed with intent of displaying art collections like—painting by Thotta Tharani, batik textile, paintings by little less know artist, rare photograph of Fatehpur Sikhri by Nasreen and Dabbas and bajhots from Kutch. A Mughal arch from Saurashtra dating back to 17th century is used a partition and the other side of the room has library and inbuilt bar to entertain guest. The bathroom has a large pivoted window which has access to the landscape in the light well.

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The lighting has been well designed keeping different moods in mind. Right from a dim light setting for a perfect cocktail evening to an art studio setting where each art work is well lite up maintaining the luxe level. In addition to interior lighting we have a dramatic light set up in the landscape which is offset by our cantilevered teak steps, creating various patterns on the wall.

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When asked about his favourite area in the house, Shah says, “The symbolic tree view from the picture window creates a scenic view. These walled havens give the space an internal orientation which effectively closes out urban-chaos. This open aired isolation enables the inhabitants to reflect and observe their relationship to natural rhythms.”

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