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Asim Merchant of Red Blue & Yellow envisions an ebony tower for Deanne Panday using materials that define modern luxury

NOV 18, 2020 | By Mrudul Pathak Kundu and Tasneem Merchant
(L-R) Asim Merchant envisioned this nook in the front yard to be a living area. Long-stemmed bamboos were planted around the concrete seating to provide a natural cover, while the mirror serves as a “live art form”; Sliding screens and wooden slats are the key features of the house. On the slate floor is Sukhi, the family pet; View of the timber deck in the backyard; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri
(L-R) The geometrical floor in the living room contrasts against the chair's floral upholstery, playing on Merchant's penchant for creating paradoxes; An exposed concrete ceiling with sliding lamps as well as a velvet bed with the same floral motifs are seen in the master bedroom; The powder room flaunts several forms of black—glossy on the door, matte on the wall and slate with grey swirls on the ground; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri

Since time immemorial, the old has always paved way for the new. This holds true even for fitness expert and author Deanne Panday’s 4,000 sq ft home in the posh Mumbai suburb of Bandra.

She enlisted the expertise of the team at Red Blue & Yellow, a renowned furniture and interiors studio in the city, to turn around an old, dilapidating family bungalow into a swish habitat for a family of four.

The result of the collaboration is a fabulous, three-storeyed abode awash in a magnificent obsidian. Completed in 18 months, the structure has a natural envelope of tall stemmed bamboo, which serves the dual purpose of providing privacy as well as cooling the environs.

The dining room in the family den features Burma teak furniture from Red Blue & Yellow and monochromatic Picasso prints; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri

Great care was taken to ensure that the requirements of each family member were met, resulting in open gathering spaces as well as personal alcoves satisfying individual needs. In a Q&A, Merchant and Panday reveal how they developed this “refined, well-styled” villa.

Filament bulbs, suspended from the skylight, are staggered to emphasise the levels embellished with Spanish handmade tiles; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri

What were the key changes made in the architectural elements of the old edifice?
Asim Merchant: The most important thing was to have windows—not the typical sliding ones because security was an issue. So, we built them like shelves, with glass panels that can be opened for cross-ventilation. The introduction of wooden slats for privacy was another vital aspect. We decided to not have box grills and incorporated timber partitions instead. I wanted the house to be dark, an unconventional choice that makes it a stand-out feature.

The daughter’s room takes after the master boudoir with the help of flooring from Squarefoot, organza curtains and a wall clock from Crate and Barrel; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri

ED: Even though there are bursts of colour, black dominates the space. Was this a conscious decision?
Deanne Panday: Earlier, we’d done parts in deep brown as an experiment, then switched to a darker shade and ultimately decided on the coal hue. Initially, the kids were hesitant but when they saw the master boudoir, they came around. My favourite section is my own bedroom, which is in this shade, including the sitting area. It’s meditative and I can switch off once I’m here. In fact, this is where I read and practice yoga as well.

Merchant and Panday pictured in the outdoor sitting space; Photographs by Jignesh Jhaveri