Aditi Sharma transforms a Gurugram home into a museum of travel experiences and Indian craftsmanship
FEB 13, 2024 | By Virender Singh
Preserved in the resinous trickle of time, our inherited keepsakes retain tactile memories that can silently parley with contemporary design principles. Telepathically guiding Aditi Sharma to sculpt a multigenerational abode, her client’s forebears were present in spirit, manifested through a veritable smorgasbord of memorabilia. “The space had to be India-centric yet modern,” Sharma confides. “As a studio, we have never played with so much colour.”
Her eclectic sense of materiality finds fulfilling expression such as the colonial flourishes of rattan in salvaged furniture, heritage textiles sewn into her sophisticated fabrics and auspicious brass elements blossoming all over this 3,500 sq ft bungalow tucked in the quieter lanes of Gurugram. The gated community home was a fresh experiment for Aditi Sharma Design Studio where cultural identity became the fulcrum of its conceptual fretwork. A clash of diverse personalities among the home’s inhabitants threatened to afflict Sharma’s visual grammar with incoherence; however, a mutual admiration for indigenous craftsmanship served as the deus ex machina. Her sleek minimalism, syncopated with the homeowners’ folk art-infused thematics, purges all embellishments of their superfluous grandiosity.
Beyond geographical boundaries
Sauntering into the living room, we find an amalgamation of beloved keepsakes and artefacts from globetrotting expeditions, strewed around like jigsaw pieces fitting together in an intercultural mosaic. A great grandmother’s habitual chair reclines in unexpected juxtaposition with this hand-knotted Persian carpet from Jaipur Rugs, while walls on either side bear a melange of Pattachitra paintings on palm leaves, Tibetan mandalas and Madhubani fractals from Bihar. A duet of Chettinad Thoon columns, with their ornately carved capital and temple-inspired motifs, hold up a Mediterranean style arch like grave sentinels from another time. “The long living area beautifully transitions from formal to a more interpersonal reading nook,” Sharma guides us towards the low, asymmetrical table with Japanese style cushion seats. Skeins of dappled sunlight unspool upon a beige concrete floor, panoramic windows overlooking the lush front yard and here we must be permitted to bask for a solitary moment, in the serenity of benevolent Prabhavali plaques and antique Nilavilakku oil lamps.
A case study in tradition
Crossing diagonally towards the entryway, we encounter a mandir enclosed by this foldable lotus-embossed partition, anointing a linear corridor into the home’s innermost recesses. We pass by storage shutters that conceal their secrets eloquently with artworks inset behind glass panels, and one of the doors would land us in the matriarch’s master bedroom, well-appointed in regal splendour. Pichwai cotton cloth illustrations of Lord Krishna’s cows hanging on the walls, a magnanimous poster bed accompanied by an elaborate study unit, all harmoniously coexist in a single space together without any visual barrier.
The neighbouring dining room is rife with colour, a happy slapdash of siren red daubed all over Channapatna table legs, refrains of heavy-cast brass immanent in flower vases and kuthu vilakku diya stands.
Continuity of style
Flappable screen doors unveil a hideaway antechamber, with its back wall and sofa cum bed both dyed a soothing teal, ideal for a makeshift visitor’s salon but this hospitality finds a more generous twin upstairs. Ascending to the first storey, we find a guest bedroom with indulgent tikri murals, smoky grey night stands and an exquisitely embroidered headboard that exude Rajasthani precise detailing.
The en-suite bathroom shrewdly incorporates the carpet into tiles for a mirror frame, shades of cerulean invading the palette through a floating vanity unit. The adjacent master suite revels in a cheerful bohemianism — with a rattan headboard framing its bed, the seafoam green roll top desk and hand painted armoire — underscored by durable parquet flooring. Another vibrant bathroom with dusty pink and jet black accents, Moroccan tiles and a bold interplay of patterns cohesively ties into the narrative.
Influences from history
Our odyssey concludes in the family lounge, where a smoky British secretary cabinet with fluted pilasters — its many pigeonholes and cubbies doubling up as a clever bar unit — cheerfully reflects the sunbeams pouring in through the tall windows. An heirloom armchair swings to the lilt of a gentle breeze and we see salmon walls against a sage green wainscoting, patiently steering our attention towards a rosy brown, sculpted coffee table. Its geometrically intriguing silhouette, composed of a finely honed 3 sphere-base supporting a substantial wooden disc on top, ostensibly ties this tableau into one of unrivalled modern luxury. A deconstructed book shelf by Shyam Mandal Furniture, its intersectionality of parallel lines and graceful rattan work, celebrates the time honoured durability one finds in materials from a bygone era.
A collision of separate worlds
The commitment to sustainability is apparent in the family’s own ancestral furniture, an all-permeating ethos of responsible design and homegrown artisanal practices. The journey from concept to creation was marked by meticulous discussions, translating into some walls being strategically moved to eke out spaces tailored to the family’s needs. Aditi Sharma made it possible for us to see how kaleidoscopic styles enrich each other, merely by being different but complementary, locked in the power of mutual synergy.