This bungalow in Kochi is designed by Mumbai-based design practice Studio Tab. Split into two levels, the modest facade doesn’t give much away at the first glance; a closer look though is enough to peel the layers of the complex, responsive design that carefully considers the landscape that surrounds the house. It is perhaps the material palette that reveals the finer details. Laterite bricks—recut and reshaped after being sourced from local dilapidated buildings—are used to make load-bearing walls; elsewhere, ancestral furniture is reimagined with ‘comfort-specific interventions’, and floors are covered in handmade clay tiles. “We visited run down houses in and around Kochi and sourced old woodwork to salvage and restore them within this project,” says Rahul Menon, co-founder of Studio Tab, and one of the four architects who worked on the project. The materials, whether salvaged or handcrafted, became a response to the context of the project. “The use of locally sourced Cherai teak wood, jungle pine, reclaimed laterite blocks, Athangudi tiles, and cane mats in the entire house helped realise our creative vision and kept the essence of Kerala all through,” he says.
A Kochi Home That Evokes a Feeling of Absolute Zen, By Studio Nirvana
The highlight of this four-bedroom Kochi residence is its understated, charming aesthetics. Every inch of the 2,900-square-feet plot that is home to a family of five (a couple, their children and a grandmother) is equal parts earthy and contemporary. “We wanted to convey the idea that natural finishes and colours can be used in different ways, without giving it either a modernist or a typical traditional look,” says Avinash Joshy who along with Steffy Thomas heads Studio Nirvana—a Kochi-based architecture and interior design firm. Knowing the lay of the land was especially a blessing, in this particular case, seeing how the villa sits in the middle of an industrial and residential area of the city and could use a virtual sense of remoteness away from its humdrum. Not only did the designers build the house its own bubble (to keep said disruptions at bay) but they also gave it an open, minimal flow that prompts greater connectedness for those who nest within. “We have gathered the most used and interactive spaces and made it into the heart of the house,” says Joshy who looked at this project through the lens of inward-focused design.