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Homes

Envelope designed by Studio IAAD converges art and architecture in this home for a cinematic dignitary

JUL 9, 2021 | By Kashish Kaushal
The entertainment lounge is a treasure trove of art pieces and furniture; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
The artwork in this entertainment lounge is positioned to pay homage to the homeowners' elegant aesthetic while cementing its identity in the home; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
This contemporary bar serves as a nod to the owner's association with the cinematic arts—he wanted a place within his home to reflect his enthusiasm for world cinema; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
The design intentionally departs from ostentation and flamboyance favouring lived-in rooms awash in warmth, rendering an environment of restful elegance; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
The conscious positioning of art dotting the formal living space on the ground floor is not merely incidental as the homeowner is an avid collector with a distinctly global, refined taste for art pieces and sculpture; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
One finds iconic art pieces that render each space with a distinctive ambience and yet appear as a part of the overarching design scheme; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
The design brief stems from selected artworks often forming the focal point around which each space has been conceptualized, with the dining area being no exception; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
Meaningful detailing also finds place throughout the dining area, besides efficient use of available space; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
In the bedrooms, large mirrors have been strategically placed facing the window openings to enhance the perception of space and reflect the outdoors; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
This approachable and liveable bedroom effortlessly achieves the delicate, elusive balance between a house and a home; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
Monolithic wooden flooring spans extensively across most rooms for visual and material congruity, tying together various spatial characters; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

A home is a reflection of your personality—turning this adage into a breathtaking reality is Rachna Agarwal, Founder and Design Ideator, Studio IAAD. Conferring Envelope, a 12,000 sq ft contemporary residence located in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, with a unique identity, Agarwal says, “The studio’s design approach towards the project stemmed from selected artworks often forming the focal point, around which each space is conceptualized.”

Belonging to a respected luminary in the cinematic industry,  the client is also a connoisseur of art pieces and sculptures. However, space devised by Agarwal also manifests his enthusiasm for world cinema. Evident through understated, subtly layered luxuriance and bespoke art experiences, Agarwal manages to craft a flawless and close-knit family abode. 

While Studio IAAD has augmented its existing structural and architectural framework, the initial architectural design for this residence had been first completed 11 years ago by New Delhi-based practice Morphogenesis. “Even after a volumetric addition to the home, the massing and character of the prototypical built form remain unchanged. The intervention seamlessly builds upon the spatial program, with the existing character of the house unmarred”, further divulges Agarwal. 

Evident through understated, subtly layered luxuriance and bespoke art experiences, Agarwal manages to craft a flawless and close-knit family abode; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

The decision to use premium quality materials in muted, pastel tones is based on their timeless qualities. The neutral palette is sublimely offset by subtle experimentation with accent colours and textures.

The discreet exterior envelope submits to engaging interiors, with living spaces suffused with natural light filtering through various articulations; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
Located in a posh, yet dense part of the city, this house stands out for its clean lines and unobstructed tall exteriors. Wood cladding by Prodema on the facade creates a warm and inviting exterior; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

Envelope is distinctly private in its appearance, with a sheer monolithic wall screening the approach, strategically punctuated by minimal cavities within. These rectangular punctures are reminiscent of picture frames designed to capture the outdoors as idyllic vistas pictured from within. 

The entrance warmly invites one in while also maintaining the enveloped character of the home; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

A cantilevered timber-clad canopy greets the visitors. It spans across the porch, resting at the main door. Almost injecting itself into the ground floor living spaces, the iconic canopy dramatically draws the eye inwards all the way from the outside.

All floor furnishings, including carpets, have been customized specifically for the house. The lighting scheme, too, is bespoke and customizable, featuring floating ceilings fitted with automated mood lights for controllable environments as seen in the living area; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

With a perfectly balanced mix of customised and upcycled furniture and luxurious interiors, the basement and ground floor fuses art, architecture and recreation spaces. The ground floor encompasses a formal living and dining area, the kitchen, an open court and a bedroom tucked away in the rear quarter of the house. 

The neutral-toned material palette throughout the dining area is sublimely offset by subtle experimentation with accent colours and textures, highlighting a sophisticated design sensibility; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

Playing a vital role in defining the character of the interiors, art has directed the design process at many instances in the house.  Colour palettes, surface treatments, and interior finishes have been reversely conceptualised to meld with sculptural or crafted masterpieces. 

One such instance is reflected in the spacious den and entertainment area with a quirky and contemporary bar..  A playful, eccentric collage surrounds the bar counter featuring a montage of framed shots from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Envelope exemplifies a place of refuge and urges us to revel in art-influenced interiors layered with an understated modern stylisation; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

Moving further, a dramatic linear staircase serves as a focal point of the lower floors, transitioning to the quieter living spaces of the upper floors. The first floor comprises a primary bedroom, a kids bedroom, and a family lounge, replete with tailor made furniture, soft furnishings, and art pieces. 

Lighting fixtures positioned to be accent-oriented rather than ambient create intentional pockets of bright spots in the common spaces of the second floor; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
It was a conscious decision by Studio IAAD to treat the experience of art appreciation in an ambient setting where the pieces fit as part of a larger tapestry of interiors; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

Ascending the level above, the second floor consists of a bedroom with an attached bath, a well equipped gymnasium, and a puja room flanking a terrace that opens up towards the sky. What we love about this home is that at its heart, it is built to forge a connection with nature.

Creating dramatic plays of light and shadow through the day, laminated wood panels with rhythmic perforations form a trellis; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome
Mindful of climatically responsive designing, the terrace remains largely shaded through the day; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

Fabricated using laminated wooden panels with rhythmic perforations, the trellis emerges as a unifying element for the residence. It takes the form of a horizontal skylight along the path of the staircase and spreads to encompass the terrace, transforming vertically as a screen to afford a degree of privacy to the second-floor bedroom. 

Talking about the challenges faced while designing the abode, Agarwal reveals, “The most challenging as well as rewarding part of our design process was creating cohesion between the refurbished first floor spaces and the newer volumetric addition of the second floor. The result is resplendent—a crisp external visage designed to protect the sanctity of a warm, inviting interior ambience, as if the house was always supposed to be this way.”

A balance is retained between existing finishes and introducing newer additions to the powder room; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

While Envelope exemplifies a place of refuge and urges us to revel in art influenced interiors. its zenith lies in its ecological interventions. The south-facing front facade with a high barrier wall at the entrance and deeply recessed massing is designed to reduce solar radiation for ambient living spaces in the summer months, The terrace remains shaded through the day. Glare-free daylight is encouraged into the spaces, while a perforated trellis screens the bedroom, preventing direct light ingress from the west.

A solitary, verdant champa tree blooms at one end of the terrace, framed under a horizontal perforated trellis, forming patterns in the light; Photographs by Andre J. Fanthome

“Homes are like authored biographies, and to truly animate a client’s vision, one must begin by understanding them. Translating their requirements into reality while ensuring the solution entails tastefully stylized spaces that elevate their aesthetic sensibilities—that is the true objective of the architect”, concludes Agarwal. 

If this contemporary urban refuge captured your heart, we bet you will love this weekend home by Studio Onedot6!