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.
A Cosy Kochi Home That Blends Modern and Traditional Decor, Designed by 1LeapingFrog Studio
Located in Cochin, this 15,000-square-feet home is set amidst a dense urban context where the neighbouring buildings stand at a considerable height. “Both these factors took us into an introverted process of space making with a keen sense of achieving privacy and disconnecting from the context,” inform Aatira L. Zacharias & Bhyrav B. R, founders of the Bangalore based design firm, 1leapingfrog studio. The clients—doctors—desired a light-filled, spacious home that would cater to the needs of an extended family. “Having lived in a traditional Kerala timber home earlier they were keen on a warm, rustic house made using natural materials,” add the duo. The home is designed using materials like timber, marble, locally-sourced laterite and terracotta blocks and pavers. “The entire home is 100 % solar powered with surplus units going back to the grid. The roof was specifically designed for this. The roof scale also allows us to collect and replenish most of the rainwater. Marble floors and porous laterite walls keep the spaces within cool,” says Aatira. The interiors are anything but monotonous, owing to variations in volumes and a change in sense of scale across the inter-connected spaces. A fusion of traditional and modern elements define the home.
A Kochi Home Where The Balcony is As Big as The Home, Designed by Studio Nirvana
Framed by lush landscapes and sunlit vistas, this 2-BHK Kochi apartment is a glorious gateway to the outdoors. “The design was influenced by the lifestyle of its occupants—a young musician couple—and the sweeping panoramas on the eastern side. The clients wanted the space to sport a dark, subdued palette, with a dominance of grey and monochrome hues. In order to diffuse the darkness, we opened the home up to the east. Thus, we were able to bring in plenty of sunshine and synthesise a chemistry between light and shadow. The balcony is the same size as the interior, a testament to the equal inward- and outward-looking nature of the home,” says Avinash Joshy of Studio Nirvana. The clients sought permission from the society to absorb part of the passage into the home. “We knocked down the original entrance and carved out an extended foyer to expand the home’s footprint,” says Joshy. “The material scheme—dominated by wood and egg shell white—serves as an overture to the rest of the home,” adds Joshy. The balcony, accentuated by statement planter boxes, hanging pots and subtle lighting, is the hero of the home. “The fact that the balcony is as big as the rest of the apartment reflects the clients’ love for the outdoors. It provides the perfect setting to enjoy the surrounding scenery—especially during the monsoons—with a steaming cup of tea in hand,” says Joshy.