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As residential developers look upwards, new apartment buildings in metros across the country grow taller with even longer list of swish amenities. While these new homes offer respite from the busy city streets with enviable luxuries–there is no escaping the wave of sameness that’s washed over the blocky apartment layouts. And it’s not just the floor plans that are identical in new high-rises–when a builder hands over a home these days, it comes with value-added flooring, tiles and walls that are common to all the apartments in the building too.

While many surrender to these cookie-cutter homes, Chetan Lahoti, the principal architect at Mind Manifestation Design in Pune, decided to fight this urban cliché, one apartment at a time. For a three-bedroom apartment on the 16th floor of a new residential building, his team erases the straight lines and boxy layouts to create the “House of Curves”. Columns and beams are cleverly restructured as arches and vaulted ceilings, reeded materials with grooves are employed in unexpected ways and circles make a statement at every corner. Chetan takes us through his design philosophy with a quick tour of this unconventional apartment in Pune. Edited excerpts from an interview:
 

New homes and apartments on metros grow taller with even longer list of swish amenities. While these new homes offer respite from the busy city streets with enviable luxuries–there is no escaping the wave of sameness that’s washed over the blocky apartment layouts. While many surrender to these cookie-cutter homes, Chetan Lahoti, the principal architect at Mind Manifestation Design in Pune, decided to fight this urban cliché, one apartment at a time. For a three-bedroom apartment on the 16th floor of a new residential building, his team erases the straight lines and boxy layouts to create the “House of Curves”! With columns and beams restructured as arches, materials employed in unexpected ways, and circles make a statement at every corner we bring to you a quick tour of this unconventional apartment in Pune.

Beautiful Homes: How would you describe your design philosophy?

Chetan Lahoti: Our design philosophy is rooted in creating functional spaces in an economical manner with natural materials. As far as possible, we like to work with naturally available materials and highlight their inherent qualities over artificial flourishes. There is a timeless quality to this approach. We also try to work with local craftspeople in all our projects.

BH: Tell us about the project and the brief you received from the homeowners.

CL: The three-bedroom apartment is on the 16th floor of a new high-rise with beautiful views of the city and the hills in the distance. We knew from the start that we need to enhance its best qualities–the natural light and the cross-ventilation that’s abundant in every room of the house. The family of four have a humble lifestyle and they were clear that they didn’t want anything too flashy. Since they also didn’t want to fill up the house with a lot of things like art or personal items, we could adopt a minimalist house design. A neutral colour palette, pastel tones of lime plaster on the walls and ample play of natural light make the overall Scandinavian-style approach warm, cosy and inviting.
 

Sofa set to add comfort to your living room  - Beautiful Homes

An otherwise cookie-cutter apartment in a Pune high-rise is transformed by interior design firm Mind Manifestation Design as “The Curves” house. Rigid columns and beams are softened with vaulted ceilings as well as arched entrances and alcoves.

Chairs to make your living room more elegant  - Beautiful Homes

A neutral colour palette, pastel walls in lime plaster, minimally designed furniture and ample natural light are key features of every room of “The Curves” house.

Jewel toned headboard for your lavish bedroom - Beautiful Homes

Circular geometry is hidden in plain sight such as the soft, curved corners of this jewel-toned headboard in the primary bedroom.

BH: How did this apartment transform into “The Curves” house?

CL: When the apartment was handed over by the builders, the existing structure was made up of rigid columns and beams. With minimal treatment done on site, we could smoothen these columns and beams into arches and curves, changing the whole architectural envelope of the house. As you enter, an arched corridor runs across the length of the house to make the most of the natural light and ventilation. Elsewhere, the nooks between two columns have been smoothened with plaster of paris to create niches with curved corners. The vaulted ceiling in the living and dining area are a curved abstraction of the wooden rafters we’ve used in the terrace outside. We’ve incorporated curves in smaller ways too. For instance, the conical light over the dining table or the curved corners of the headboards in the bedrooms. Of course, the arches and curves in the house have different proportions so our main challenge during the renovation process was to balance these in a way that they complement each other. 

BH: Can you take us through some of materials used to renovate this apartment?

CL: One of the more distinguishing features of the house is that we haven’t used any paint on the walls. Instead, we opted for lime plaster with a few different colour pigments for different rooms of the house. It is an old-school approach, mostly used in Gujarat and Rajasthan but it’s well worth the effort because of its unique texture. Lime plaster is also more durable, it doesn’t stain, and it can be easily cleaned with a dry or wet cloth. It also lowers the room temperature by 2-to-3 degrees. We opted for a minimal and simple material palette for this apartment. There’s also solid wood and veneer that’s been polished and coloured in different tones across the house which we have paired with brass detailing. The builders had already made use of marble flooring throughout the house and wooden flooring in the master bedroom, both of which we decided to retain.
 

Photographs

Kuber Shah

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