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A-82 Atrey 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 has 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. Everything draws inspiration from jaali-work: the coffee table and the backrest of the sofa (both from Casa Paradox) and even the custom-made ceiling. The double-height glass windows, free of iron grilles, ensure that the interior is bathed in natural sunlight through the day. A chair, from Casa Paradox again, upholstered in polka-dotted pink fabric completes the look. "Each space flows into the other," explains Nikhil.

The all-white living room is as striking as it is simple. The furniture, picked up from Casa Paradox, is fuss-free and straight-lined. A dash of red from the cushions and the artwork from Ishatvam unifies the entire space. Touches of maroon can be seen on the wallpaper from Arte, used in a special niche that doubles up as a shelf for artefacts and showpieces. If that wasn't enough drama the architects have also created a back-lit onyx wall. Contrasting this area is the open-plan modular kitchen from Veneta Cucine in stunning black and white. A little further is the dining area where high-back chairs from Haikeda India

Complement the overhead chandelier from Mr Light. Cove lighting on the ceiling provides ample illumination.

As you move up to the first floor, another lobby presents itself. Paintings of Rajasthani women, furniture (from Haikeda India) in gold and navy blue and an old London clock give the room an ethnic appeal. This theme carries into the master bedroom, where the item of focus is the ubiquitous jaali-work panel. This particular element comprises of a 3M film, laser-cut and pasted on a mirror. The wallpaper that was used in the living room has been used on the wall behind the bed to create an illusion of an extended headboard.

Deviations to the home's theme are plenty and when you head to the second level; all traces of ethnicity are left behind. Instead, a contemporary den revelling in black and white magic welcomes you. There's a rule in decorating that says that 'every room can use a touch of black: However, the architects realised that to achieve true drama, they would need to pair black with white. "The second storey has been designed for their 20-something son whose tastes are quite modern," discloses architect. So Versace furniture in black and white has been accentuated with grey wallpaper and accents. The same colour scheme continues into the bedroom, with furniture from Casa Paradox taking centre stage; a 3M film, laser-cut and pasted on mirrored panels brings the area to life. A dash of red from the bedspread and the abstract forms on the ceiling are other interesting features.

Like the bedrooms, the attached bathrooms, too, are charming and well designed. Evoking a spa-like sanctuary, these private spaces feature many-textured wall panelling’s, stylish sinks, comfortable tubs, magnificent mirrors and vanities.

Ili decor, as it is in fashion design, beauty lies in the details; in those extra elements that transform the mundane into something magical. Which is why this home is so special — it reflects a detailed design, an eye for the unusual, and panache for teaming disparate elements together.


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