Abode: A beautiful ode to maximum city
OCT 28, 2015 | By Sian Pascale
Exuding equal portions of Mumbai’s colourful history and easy-on-the-soul charm, this luxury boutique hotel promises to be every global traveller’s home away from home. Designer and architect Sian Pascale takes us through its design journey…
Abode, founded by Abedin Sham and Lizzie Chapman, is on the first floor of a heritage building in Colaba built by David Sassoon in 1910. Over the years many of its existing features had been unfortunately lost…so I began the conceptual design process by uncovering both the building’s and city’s history.
I divided the latter into four parts: The coconut grove and fisherman’s village, British Raj, Art Deco Bombay and the city of today. Collecting images I built a ‘project bible’ for constant reference. The false ceilings had concealed original iron girders and Burma teak beams, and by ripping it back to its bare bones we were able to restore the facade and interiors.
Using handmade timber windows, we opened up the rooms to natural light and double height spaces. In the lobby, we created a communal table to encourage guests to engage with each other, and a library with old books, some framed into artwork for walls. Manufactured bespoke from a source who provided tiles for many of Mumbai’s buildings, the flooring in public spaces is black and white, whereas the 12 bedrooms downstairs have a different combination of colours.
That which we didn’t source I designed and had made locally, like bedside tables based on bhel puri stands, tile topped luggage racks with drawers and powder coated aluminium bedside lamps. Almost everything in the project was procured from within the city, which made things difficult…but we were 100 percent committed to the concept, resulting in environmental brownie points.