A contemporary house in the city of joy

Putting his experience of working on tropical architecture to good use, architect Kaushik Mukherjee transforms a nondescript apartment into a chic and elegant home for four

We are big fans of architect Geoffery Bawa. If we could, we would make the Lunuganga in Bentota, Sri Lanka, our home. And as we dwelled on the possibilities and lust after the tropical, modernist spaces he so masterfully created, we came across a similarly beautiful apartment not far away from home. Designed by Bengaluru based architect Kaushik Mukherjee, not only did the space have seemingly good bones but also seemed to radiate a sense of rootedness. Deeper exploration led to the discovery that Kaushik worked at MICD Associates (former Geoffrey Bawa Associates) before he branched out on his own. We are only thrilled our design radar is functioning rather well.

They say inspiration can come in any form, and it literally came knocking on the door at this fifth floor home of a family of four in the Ballygunge area in Kolkata. Kaushik laughs as he recalls how a chance conversation while they were exchanging holiday notes, led to the start of a fulfilling design journey. Inspired by their shared love for the grille gate and timber shutter at the Notre Dame cathedral, Kaushik decided to incorporate this into the design of the main door of the home. The result? A striking entrance door made from an old cast iron balcony railing with carved timber foldable panels that all recycling crusaders will be thrilled with. Including us.

Originally just a large hall with no clear demarcations, Kaushik had to start from scratch working on the layout plans that help compartmentalise the spaces. While we are big fans of seamless spaces, we strongly recommend that you chart out spaces depending on your needs and usage. For example, here, Kaushik created a central lobby area around which the private and semi-private areas radiated out of. The kitchen, dining, family room and the three bedrooms were placed on one side while the formal living room and guest bedroom were put on the other side with the common landscaped terrace binding them together. Utility areas like the laundry was designed to keep out of sight and hence located on the terrace.

Another crucial part was vastu compliance. We strongly recommend that you factor in all your requirements at the very beginning so one can address it at the design stage. Kaushik knew that it was a make or break part of the deal and hence worked around the principles that govern vastu without compromising on the look and feel of the spaces.

Working with a natural material palette that included timber, Italian marble salvaged from heritage buildings and polished cement walls, Kaushik wanted to give the home a classic contemporary vibe. It helped that his clients wanted this space to be a curated yet evolving collection of furniture, art, accessories, and more importantly moments of their lives. After all, no home is ever finished. It’s always a work in progress.

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