When concrete met craft—Ashiesh Shah and Verendra Wakhloo join forces to devise a truly bespoke and craft revivalist home in New Delhi

DEC 21, 2022 | By Shriti Das
The residence's architecture was helmed by Matra Architects while Kunal Maniar & Associates led its landscape. Exterior view of the gazebo that houses the family room with a bar. Opposite the family room in the dining lounge, Maharaja sofa and armchairs from Giorgetti are paired with a centre table from Iqrup+Ritz as Channapatna stools from Atelier Ashiesh Shah and Clay chairs from Maarten Baas make space for conversations atop the Obeetee carpet; Photography by Ashish Sahi
Artwork by Shuva Prasanna and a terracotta bull sculpture from Raw Mango above the piano are flanked by a pair of Horse Hair wall sconce from Apparatus Studio. Sujith S N’s artwork above the sofa finds its backdrop in the wallpaper from Epure Collection by Elitis; ; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Poetry and prose meet a Bauhaus-inspired modernist home for a family of five in the quaint bylanes of Shanti Niketan, an upscale locale in New Delhi. Call it an idiosyncratic irony or a pleasant paradox, but this sprawling abode is a vision in concrete whose interiors exhibit a flair for expression in curvilinear silhouettes, soft edges and a melange of arts and crafts.

Engineered by Verendra Wakhloo, Principal and Founder, Matra Architects, the 56,000 sq ft home is reminiscent of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s ethos, given his education in Germany. Ashiesh Shah, the brains and master designer behind the interiors is an architect by academic pursuit with a repertoire that encompasses art, design, decor, crafts and more.

Curve sofa, Naga chair, Guccha ceiling suspended light and Dokra maquette, from Atelier Ashiesh Shah stand poised against wall and ceiling finishes from FCML with centre and side tables from Yashanche and a carpet from Hatsu. The artwork is by Atul Dodiya from Vadehra Art Gallery; Photography by Ashish Sahi


Antique Naga totems sourced from Kerala by Ashiesh Shah celebrate heritage on a grand scale in the double height passage, complemented perfectly with a carpet from Jaipur Rugs. The sculpture is by Ravinder Reddy and Alabaster Wall sconce is from Shailesh Rajput Studio; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Bestowed with a lofty architectural canvas, mammoth spatiality and a galore of opportunities to soar wild with ideas, it is a beautiful surprise that Ashiesh chose to continue the narrative of its architecture into the space within.

Artwork by Prabhakar Parchpute from Experimenter Gallery in the gazebo overlooks the pristine bar in Dokra and Moon Shadow Vase from Atelier Ashiesh Shah. Cast glass table from Arjun Rathi Design atop Tuareg Carpet from Afolki along with the ZigZag Sofa from Yashance bind the space together; Photography by Ashish Sahi


The red Channapatna light from Atelier Ashiesh Shah adds a sharp and defined visual dimension to the family room in the gazebo with Liminal Sofa by Atelier Ashiesh Shah. On the door is an artwork by N S Harsha and adding a soft tactility to the space is the carpet from Afolki; Photography by Ashish Sahi

“Architecture and interiors should blend in freely. There should not be a stark difference between the outside and inside,’’ points out Ashiesh.

Kathakali head gears from Kochi in the living room are illuminated by ceiling and table lamps from Shailesh Rajput Studio and MYO floor lamps from Giorgetti. FCML cladding on the walls and ceiling alongside soft furnishing from Jasmine Jhaveri Design Studio craft a backdrop for the Hatsu carpet; Photography by Ashish Sahi

What Verendra has envisioned and achieved in this home is its love affair with natural light and conversations with concrete. Three different expressions of scale define the structure.

Walls in terracotta texture by Asian Paints make the family room the home’s pièce de résistance with the carpet from Jaipur Rugs. Artwork of 500 Elephants from Lakshmana Rao Kotturu adds wonder; Photography by Ashish Sahi

The double height space at the entrance, is followed by a sprawling living and family room on the ground floor with low ceilings but massive footprints and finally, the first and second floor where the scale shifts to a vertical orientation, allowing the homeowners to enjoy the expanse of sloping roofs and cutouts open to the sky.

Dining console, table and chairs from DeMuro Das sit pretty on a Jaipur Rugs carpet, illuminated by an overlap suspension light from Flos with the Kansa Many Moon from Atelier Ashiesh Shah and an artwork from Delhi Craft Council; Photography by Ashish Sahi

The space features a three storied residence designed for a family of five alongside a long gazebo area to entertain guests, which is also Ashiesh’s personal favourite space.

The residence’s architecture was helmed by Matra Architects while Kunal Maniar & Associates led its landscape. Artwork by Dr. B. V. Doshi from Vadehra Art Gallery at the entrance is set against a grey wall in cast concrete with the black bench from Atelier Ashiesh Shah, the ceiling light 6-Globe chandelier is by Entler from Studio Twentyseven; Photography by Ashish Sahi

“Keeping the interiors minimal, we’ve ensured that every piece has its space, and every space has conversations and stories to tell,” says Ashiesh. Perceived from the exteriors, the concrete flows from the architecture, inwards, into grey marble. There’s a change in texture but the continuity is maintained with the colour grey.

Seamless Granitalo marble flooring by Flora Marble, offset by a striking red console from Yasanche add a pop of colour in the foyer; Photography by Ashish Sahi

He continues, “I wanted to make a uniform box where the colour would move from the walls, to the ceiling to the floor, as one environment. And then everything would stand as pieces of design or art, almost like a museum, almost like a gallery.” 

A vision in white is the daughter’s bedroom with bed by DeMuro Das and armchair from Marina; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Beyond the exemplar design interventions, there are little stories and details that make for keepsakes.

The guest bedroom walls are clad in wooden panels in concrete texture finish by Asian Paints with artwork by Rathin Barman; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Like the Naga totems at the double height passage near the entrance are actually sourced from Kerala, one that Ashiesh found on one of his travels.

The passage is made interesting by the bench from Glas Italia and art by Adip Dutta from Experimenter Gallery; Photography by Ashish Sahi

The entrance bears an artwork by Dr. B. V. Doshi. Ashiesh stumbled upon them after prolonged deliberations to find the right piece for the space. The home features contemporary art pieces by Atul Dodiya, Prabhakar Pachpute, Ravinder Reddy amongst others, imbibing a true gallery-like appeal.

Walls are clad in White Lasa marble with White Panda flooring from A Class Marble in the guest bathroom and the basin counter is by Frozen Music with the suspended mirror from Shailesh Rajput Studio; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Though art has been crucial and a defining aspect of Ashiesh’s work and ethos in design, this labour of love has established new benchmarks for Indian crafts, especially those from tribal and indegenuos regions. “We have been trying to revive the crafts with our atelier for the past seven years with our aesthetics and geometries of the lingam.

The powder bathroom is drenched in hues of red owing to unpolished Jasper from Classic Marble Company. Handmade ceramic tiles from Ruby Jhunjhunwala adorn the floor and the custom cast bronze bubble basin is from Atelier Ashiesh Shah; Photography by Ashish Sahi

And the COVID-19 lockdown escalated this since we could not travel and source from various parts of the world. Hence, we decided to use our resources within the environment of where we are and with the knowledge of crafts that we have. It is great to be a part of a project like this with brilliant clients who pushed us to explore our boundaries with crafts like Dokra, Longpi, Kansa and others,” explains Ashiesh.

The residence’s architecture was helmed by Matra Architects while Kunal Maniar & Associates led its landscape. Bare walls of the gazebo block in cast concrete is decorated with a metal leaf sculpture from Shailesh Rajput Studio; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Diving further into entities that gave direction to design he says,“Asian Paints helped us with the palette, the colours. We became the artists and they became the material. They helped explore new materials, break boundaries and brought about these different textures within this home.”

The residence’s architecture was helmed by Matra Architects while Kunal Maniar & Associates led its landscape. Seated on the outdoor pouffe from DEFURN, one soaks in beautiful views from the massage room deck with a Nandi by Arunkumar H G; Photography by Ashish Sahi

Verendra is also in agreement with Ashiesh when it comes to crediting the homeowners for their patronage to explore new forms and ideas that are far from conventional. “It is interesting that people are ready to experiment with new geometries and materials,” he says.

With a profound understanding of materials, clean lines and respect for each other’s craft, both fit like a glove when it came to the project. On that note, one wonders, what is it about collaborations that make projects click? Two titans don’t always come together to clash, in some cases like this home, they huddle to build something immortal. Multiply this thought into two and voila! You have a space that stands in perfect harmony, because in the end there’s only one winner, which is this home. 

You may also like: Inside a home in Shanti Niketan, New Delhi by Rajiv Saini