Arjun Bhasin’s Goa villa shows off his love for colour and restraint as well as Shonan Purie Trehan’s deft abilities

NOV 19, 2020 | By Mrudul Pathak Kundu and Shonan Purie Trehan
Shonan Purie Trehan created a kitchen to accommodate Arjun Bhasin's love for cooking. She planned a sleek cast-in-place terrazzo counter, a dining nook with locally handcrafted coco wood benches and table, cane lights and a colourful wall mural; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
(L-R) Arjun’s pet Josephine lazes on the locally sourced khatiya and mattress by the pool. Seen behind her is an Acapulco chair and table from Bengaluru; Views of the dining area and tall metal Crittall windows that look out to the peaceful green valley; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
(L-R) This bedroom uses Good Earth accessories, heirloom furnishings and a vanity bought from a local antiques vendor; A cosy reading corner is created with the help of an old diwan gifted by filmmaker Ashish Sawhney that's reupholstered in African wax cotton, an art deco side table from Mapusa and a Thangka triptych from Ladakh; An Acapulco chair and side tables are placed in this balcony; Photographs by Fabien Charuau
Arjun Bhasin; Photograph courtesy Philippe Calia

The vibe of a brewing afternoon siesta and the slowing down of time during the ascend to Lourdes Wado compelled Arjun Bhasin to choose the top of the hill of Ucassaim village in Goa as the location for his expansive bungalow.

The land is narrow, long and steep; so the site called for a house to be designed and constructed such that it reveals itself gradually.

A stunning overview The villa appears to be intriguing and compact sheltered by a dynamic roof, and eventually opens to the expansive gathering spaces and pool. It consists of two structures connected by a bridge across a courtyard centred by a frangipani tree.

The lounge—with its coco wood centre table, Arjun’s grandmother’s vintage diwan, antique Chinese scroll painting table (a gift from his sister-in-law) and an old Turkish kilim—abuts the sunny veranda. Also seen are the pendant lamps designed by Purie Trehan; Photographs by Fabien Charuau

The massing works with the natural topography invites visitors to a lower ground level. Meanwhile, the main meeting ground and pool are on the floor above. Large, cantilevered roofs protect the enormous metal Crittall windows that open out completely to the sweeping vistas of the valley and a mature Gulmohar.

A suspended light from Good Earth illuminates the matti wood door that opens to Bhasin’s bedroom. On the base that uses Bharat Floorings and Tiles are a wardrobe and a bed. Both are inbuilt using brick and stone, and finished in IPS; Photographs by Fabien Charuau

Socialising and solitude For Arjun, home is both a place where he can cook his heart out for close friends and family who congregate from all over the world, as well as somewhere he can retire to…a solitary corner with a good book. So, the open plan of the main public area allows for an inclusive, breezy atmosphere. The spacious central gathering zone is dotted with intimate spaces for conversation and contemplation and also extends out to a verandah and Kadappa pool.

The master bath features a bamboo wall, a countertop with inbuilt sink that are cast-in-place terrazzo, a locally crafted teak framed mirror and a framed photograph bought from an antiques dealer in Jodhpur; Photographs by Fabien Charuau

Creative dialogue Because we’re close friends, it was easy for Arjun and I to discuss how the spatial dynamic would anthropologically play out. The decor comes from a personal, organic place; it reflects his travels, friendships and love of fabrics and curiosities, making it far from being “curated”.

Shonan Purie Trehan; Photograph courtesy Prasad Naik

For the architecture and interiors, the vision was to be elemental and cohesive; from the inbuilt beds and bathroom counters to the laid-back pool deck. Charpoys with African textiles, coco wood tables and crafted lights seamlessly detail his abode.