“I love when people walk in and ask if this is my home,” says a pleased Mangesh as he walks me through his recently completed studio. “This space is a reflection of me and the ethos of what I do.”
His recently completely 800 square-foot office and studio could easily be mistaken for a contemporary home. The architect and interior designer who loves historical elements struck gold with the location, a stone’s throw from August Kranti Maidan and Mani Bhavan, both historically significant locations in south Mumbai. We chatted with him to find out more about his studio and design style:
Beautiful Homes: What drew you to this location for your studio?
Mangesh Lungare: After searching for quite a while I came across this space that used to be a residential apartment. It’s located on a quiet street infused with a quaint village vibe and surrounded by heritage buildings. When I look out of my windows, I am greeted by green tree cover and Mangalore tiled roofs.
BH: What did you have in mind while designing the studio?
ML: I designed the studio with the same approach as I have towards my clients – understanding the personalities and character of the residents. I wanted to create an environment of cosiness and comfort. It’s very challenging to get the maximum output from our work life - I was faced with the task of deciphering what kind of setting would help us the most. Homely environments bring out the best because you feel physically, mentally and visually comfortable. Natural light, plants, plush seating, personal curios are all part of creating this essence. Just like in a home, things here have been designed to be moved around. The colour palette, with the beautiful green, also came together quite naturally. It’s inevitable that it will change over time but when I was doing up the space, these colours spoke to me. Finally, the needs of the studio and functionality also drove the design.
BH: How did you go about making this vision come to life?
ML: Instead of tearing down the interiors and starting over, my approach was to revamp the old into new. With only a little structural work, I mostly recycled and reused a lot that was already onsite. Take the sofa in the welcome area, for instance. It used to be a double bed from the old house. I attached a bannister I bought a long time ago from a roadside vendor to the back of the bed and turned it into a comfy couch.
I also used the built-in wardrobes as storage but finished them with colours of my choice and sleek brass handles. We needed a stationery and printer nook, so I removed the middle shutter from one wardrobe and turned it into an alcove. The space is also peppered with our design experiments like the cane and brass floor lamp in the discussion room (the meeting room). We also custom-made furniture like the teak wood Chandigarh chairs and coffee table on wheels.
A feature I am quite pleased with is our entrance screen. Tholu bommalata is a shadow puppet theatre art form from Andhra Pradesh. We attached a Hanuman goat leather puppet to a honeycomb-patterned door blind that one can partially see-through. It affords us privacy while still creating curiosity. I love having a little surprise element and this welcoming screen at the entrance helps to define that sensibility.
BH: What is your favourite corner?
ML: The couch and window seating in the welcome area.
BH: What does your personal workspace look like?
ML: The office is fairly flexible. However, I do like to fill my area with a few curios that bring back memories like a bird sculpture by a local artist from Poland. Natural light is also an important element and inevitably there will be a potted plant nearby. I love filling spaces with greenery; even beautifully styled homes can look dead without plants.
BH: Lastly, how do you approach interior design for your clients?
ML: I like to design homes for people with their own character and add my input to the mix. I believe the homeowners should have a deep physical and psychological connection with the space. People should feel absolutely confident and comfortable in their homes. I try to get to know as much as I can about them – who they are, their personalities, what makes them tick, what their perceptions are, how they live, where they want to be in the next 5 or 10 years, what they aspire to. Once I study all these factors in their entirety, I get a clearer idea of who I am designing for and then you start putting together your own recipe. For me, modern design definitely has its place but it is the way we used to live, those historical elements, and human history as a whole that constantly catches my eye and lifts my mood. Those tiny details inspire me a lot.