A home in Jaipur by Shantanu Garg interweaves tales and glories of the past with a vision to redefine contemporary Indian design

DEC 23, 2022 | By Shriti Das
The hand painted wall covering in Meera Room is conceptualised by Shantanu Garg Design and executed by miniature artist Shammi Bannu Sharma who has implemented all the wall art in the house. The Luna chandelier and wall sconce are also by Shantanu Garg Design and the sofa is from Villa Interieur; Photography by Fabien Charuau
A console and dining table by Shantanu Garg Design are accompanied by Ulivi Salotti chairs. Drawing inspiration from Araish plaster from the forts and palaces of Rajasthan, the black and white stone panel is achieved in Makrana white marble inlaid with black Marquina. The Mehrab console by Shantanu Garg Design showcases a modern rendition of the pointed Indian arch; Photography by Fabien Charuau
The son’s bedroom on the ground floor has a minaret bed by Shantanu Garg Design flanked by a Poltrona Frau chair, Jaipur Rugs Carpet and Claymen accessories; Photography by Fabien Charuau

In a truly bespoke Jaipur-based home by Shantanu Garg lies a multitude of ideas and learnings that offer many readings of modern Indian design by challenging the notion of Indianness beyond ornamentation and ethnicity.

Embodying the idea of India Modern for the palatial abode spanning 25,000 sq ft and 10 bedrooms, the designer explains, “I’ve tried to create a modern interpretation of Indian architecture by presenting the country in a contemporary avatar.

Endowed with a striking backdrop of hand painted lacquer walls is the double height living room called Jodha. Combining colours of Rajasthan with Mughal motifs is the Pol coffee table designed by Shantanu Garg Design and manufactured by Orvi; Photography by Fabien Charuau

This home is not ethnic, in fact, I want to project our culture beyond ethnicity by redefining and raising the bar of all things Indian.” Given the country’s diversity, it is no surprise that he sought inspiration from Lord Krishna as well as Mughal concepts of Diwan-e-Khaas alongside myriad folklores, celebrations and ideas that are quintessentially Indian. Designed for the Mangals, two brothers and their families, it accommodates the young couples with children who are on the cusp of adulthood.

Called Neelam, the chandelier with a blown glass spine and brass structure has also been customised by Shantanu Garg Design while the rug belongs to Concoction, a series by Garg for Jaipur Rugs. A yellow chair by Gallotti&Radice is accompanied by seatings from Villa Interieur are offset by the hand painted lacquer walls partitioning the dining area on the ground floor; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The home strikes a perfect balance between modernity and tradition, spaces that are extroverted yet encompass cosy cocoons for solitude and oneness.

A wall art conceptualised by Garg and executed by Shammi Bannu Sharma overlooks accessories from AnanTaya, blue pottery from Neerja, candelabra from Manglam Arts and Kansa dinner set by Good Earth; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The abode spans across four levels and a basement. The ground and first floors are occupied by couples Rahul and Meenakshi while the second and third floors are occupied by Ashish and Shalu with separate kitchens and dining areas. The basement accommodates a party lounge called the Diwan-e-Khaas, a home theatre system, a squash court and a spa.

Wall mirrors from AnanTaya flank the tailormade daybed; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The entrance is flanked by a minimal carving of Nandi on stone, while the staircase connecting the floors follows the design language of bawris or stepwells. It commences with a sprawling expanse of steps on the lower level, staggered to create a dramatic sense of arrival.

The totem table with a trunk from Trunks Company and a German silver surai from Manglam Arts is paired with a red Art Deco chair from Attitude Furnishings; Photography by Fabien Charuau

While the staircase is an artistic abstraction of the bawri, his mettle is evident in the flamboyant use of colours and explorations of larger than life motifs in the furniture and art that has been mostly conceptualised by him.Case in point is the lacquer hand painted wall in the ground level living area that wears a motif inspired by the inlays at the Taj Mahal, Agra. “These inlays are usually done in semi-precious stones over marble. I enlarged their form and had them hand painted,” he explains.

An antique Kansa Lakshmi idol from Manglam Arts stands beautifully atop a pedestal from AnanTaya against a customised wooden screen with interlocking wooden peacocks. The screen is customised by a craftsperson from Kathmandu and has been facilitated by Frozen Music. The bronze Armani flooring is from A-Class Marble; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The magnified artwork is emphasised by a double height ceiling that has been achieved when the upper floor slab was demolished to encompass the enormous volume. He has dismantled many walls and ceilings to reorient the spatial configuration to generate planar volumes and levels, rendering a lavish backdrop for the colours and motifs to frolic.

The paisley wall panel and console in the entrance foyer is achieved in pietra dura technique of using intricate inlay of semi precious stones, crafted by Frozen Music. The candelabra and bidri ware are from Manglam Arts and the antique from Kuber; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The colour and India-inspired translations are not merely a manifestation of an artist’s imagination and prerogative to his project. They find way into everyday utility and functions that were outlined as a part of the homeowner’s brief. “Their requirements were fundamental — ample storage, organised spaces and a functional home. But they were keen on colours and traditional details too. I borrowed their affinities and interweaved it into their lifestyle,” he explains.

Partitioning the dining and seating area is Harem, the leather boiserie with a graphic by Shantanu Garg Design that celebrates the monumental scale of Indian architectural heritage. The accessories are from AnanTaya with the armchair from Villa Interieur; Photography by Fabien Charuau

He designed their vanities, crockery units, wardrobe and even pantries with brands like Trunks Company and Anantaya to organise their everyday life efficiently. And these pieces flaunt bespoke handles, legs, knobs, and more that are abstracted from Indian motifs and symbols.

“I designed a pantry for the family that looks like a beautiful piece resplendent with arched doors. Within it, it houses an inbuilt refrigerator, induction, oven and so on, although it does not resemble any modular furniture or a conventional pantry,” says Garg. 

Against lacquered walls with a glass and bronze door, Ulivi Salotti chairs abut the dining table with tableware from AnanTaya; Photography by Fabien Charuau

Celebrating the nuances of India, the maverick hardly shies away from going big and bold. He offers an interesting spin on balancing this feisty demeanour to design, “I like going overboard and I love experimentation.

The space highlights a pedestal from AnanTaya, a surai from Manglam Arts, and a custom wall panelling in lacquer with gold leaf graphics depicting ceremonial elephants, horses and peacocks; Photography by Fabien Charuau

Balance for me is not in muted tones and everything being in sync but in contrast which could be in the form of colours, accessories, geometry, etc.” Illustrating the idea is the Meera Room on the first floor that is designed for Meenakshi to host her guests. “Meera is a spin on the names of the owners’ — Meenakshi and Rahul. It’s also a metaphor since the owners are Krishna devotees and who better represents devotion to the Lord than Saint Meerabai?” ponders the architect.

Named Kundan, the console is a modern interpretation of Meenakari work narrated in leather, cotton velvet and suede, with a counter top of Malachite stone while the purple chair is custom made, both designed by Shantanu Garg Design; Photography by Fabien Charuau

Painted in blue, one may assume that the colour is derived from the Lord’s dusky skin as popularly represented in his portraits. But Garg mentions yet another narrative that shaped the space. He explains, “I wished to follow a blue theme to celebrate the nuances of blue pottery. It is crucial to Jaipur as it has been a part of our culture and trade.The walls are adorned in customised wall art by Shami Banoo Sharma, a miniature painter.

The Meenakshi suite on the first floor for one of the couples is adorned by a leather boiserie designed by Shantanu Garg Design to graphically narrate architectural fables of India. It is derived by abstracting arcades that is a quintessential Indian architectural design element. The carpet, titled Royal Treasure, is part of Shantanu’s collection Concoction from Jaipur Rugs. The sofa is from GIOPAGANI and the dainty tea table is from a gallery in Paris joined by the SMEG refrigerator; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The space inspired by Krishna Bhakti is graced in scaled up versions of miniature paintings depicting Mughal women frolicking around water bodies. And to this beautiful disparity, there existed another layer of contrast, of the women who used the space. “At one of the kitty parties, I saw these strong modern women having a gala time. They resembled the ladies in the paintings but in a different avatar — a new world with a traditional backdrop. This is what I want to celebrate and bring to the fore; the old and the new; the contrast and the rootedness,” elaborates Garg.

Named Ruby, the bed is from Shantanu Garg Design. Its linen is inspired from Araish and manufactured by Golden Drape in Jaipur; Photography by Fabien Charuau

Post the COVID-19 pandemic, even as lockdown restrictions eased in their city, the family preferred using the house over stepping outdoors.

A delight in black and white is the custom designed wash basin and vanity by Shantanu Garg Design with its marble countertop and a brass console, made by Frozen Music. The ceiling mounted tap is from Ritmonio and the curtain by Golden Drape; Photography by Fabien Charuau

The homeowners are quick to quip, “Shantanu spoiled us completely with this home. Every nook and corner of the rooms have been privy to us making beautiful memories with our children. We have had our parties and our times in peaceful solitude. To which Garg concludes, “I follow them on social media to see what they are up to in this home and there is no bigger joy than watching them use every corner with as much gusto and fulfilment!” 

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