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A-82 A Path



eSpaces Architects blend traditional and contemporary aesthetics with élan in fashion designer Mrs. Prabha Maaloo’s  Jaipur residence.

Poems, like architecture, are mosaic-patterned images ... they give you the entire picture in a glance; but on a closer scrutiny, reveal to you, every single nuance," said Jill Stoner, associate professor of architecture (UC Berkeley), in her Poems for Architects: An Anthology. So, if Homer had his Iliad and Odyssey, Delhi-based architect Nikhil Kant Agarwal have his projects across the country under the banner of eSpaces Architects. And this heaven in Jaipur away from the bustling city life is a proof of just that. Their task was a tough one. Fashion designer Mrs. maaloo had asked them to create a home that would marry form and function, tradition and modernity, eclecticism and élan. The result: a captivating mix of styles and materials.

To begin, the front elevation of the house has been constructed in such a way that you only see the ground and first floor, hiding the second floor from view. The facade is decidedly modern with straight-lined teak panelling, stainless-steel beams, cream travertine cladding and sloping roofs fitted with lighting. As a contrast, the side of the house has been painted in a traditional earthy colour (reminiscent of ancient havelis in Jaipur). The hue is not the only old-world touch. A modern take on a traditional jaali-work is a laser-cut wooden panel that highlights the terrace garden on the second floor. During the day, light filters in through the wooden panel and, at night; it trickles out creating myriad patterns and forms. In fact, the play of light and shade can be seen all across the home through many such wooden jaali-work panels. In some places, they work as a divider; in others, they are wall-mounted and back-lit for a stunning effect.

Equally alluring is the entrance to the house. Most driveways are neglected areas. Here, however, a sleek wooden horizontal panel provides shelter for the cars. This section has been lined with grey Italian tiles with lights fixed on the surface to create subtle drama. What's interesting is that there's not one, but three separate accesses to the house. The first, an elevated area, leads directly to the living room. The second, to its side, is the route to the basement that leads to an entertainment zone (complete with a top-of-the-line home theatre system) and a home office. The third goes straight from the driveway into the home via the lobby. Leaving no inch unused, next to this entrance, Architect have also created a small courtyard-like space that invokes a Zen-like calm. A single tree surrounded by pebbles big and small forms the focus. "This is one of my favourite spots in the house," explains Nikhil, while pointing at the glass roof overhead through which sunlight pours in.

What's great about the home is its reinterpretation of modernity. When architects began work on this project in 2009, they were determined to make it different. One look at any space in the home, even the lobby on the ground floor for instance, and you know they have succeeded. It's stylish, sophisticated and, above all, individualistic. Tradition takes on a new, modish meaning in this section.

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