Ma+rs fuses Chettiar nostalgia with mid-century modernism in this Hyderabad high-rise apartment
FEB 1, 2024 | By Virender Singh
With broad strokes of ornate Chettinad workmanship, ma+rs transfigured a Hyderabad apartment into an ethereal, neo-traditional haven. The focus for designers Sabyasachi Routray and Indulekha Paul, principal architects at ma+rs, was to make this 2000 sq ft abode feel deeply rooted, without relinquishing contemporary sensibilities, planned in a way that nature becomes an intimate alibi. A fledgling nuclear family of three, the homeowners were looking for a shared space where they could slow down, and grow together in this swiftly changing world.
Levitating above the gentrified neighbourhood of Kokapet, this bespoke residence unfurls on the 27th floor of a high rise building as a palimpsest of earthen shades, varied textures and minimalistic temple décor. “The biggest challenge with a space like this is to not get carried away with the ornateness,” shares Routray, “while constantly keeping a check on the functional aspects of spaces.” Keeping the original floorplan intact, the team cued in reclaimed teak wood and rattan, punctuated intermittently by gleaming accents of brass.
Medley of influences
Bengaluru-based multidisciplinary studio ma+rs customised most of the furniture, drawing from the wellspring of early 1900s functionalism — a foyer cabinet in the entryway, fulfils not only its intended purpose of storage but also showcases panels of woven cane, establishing a subtle yet effective visual barrier. The terrazzo round table by Parman Designs incorporates a sustainable materiality in the living room, precast with an eclectic mosaic of marble, granite and recycled glass. An exposed brick feature wall, referencing mid-century modernism, is a mesmerising departure from the ubiquitous lime-plastered neutrality. A charka-spun dhurrie by Budhraj Rugs, refers to the age-defying artistry of Katwaria weavers from Bikaner, underscoring this tableau with a contagious warmth.
An ode to heritage
The palette of the dining area leverages a priceless sense of nostalgia — here janti ceiling beams and Karaikudi thoon columns with hand-carved jackwood capitals trace their vernacular lineage all the way back to 19th century thinnai verandahs. “The idea was to create a showcase of the owners’ cultural heritage,” elucidates Paul. Nautical themed, brass lamp fixtures overhanging a six-seater table with rattan backrest chairs, disperse a convivial warmth.
A living masterpiece
Cloaked almost entirely in durable hardwood, the family lounge is stylistically contiguous with the rest of the apartment in its commitment to crisp, smooth lines and subdued colours. An ergonomic bookshelf with built-in bench seating commands attention, imploring you to languish in this alcove, replete with jubilant sunlight and a smattering of indoor plants. The coffee table is embellished with intricate detailing etched on its legs and sides, while a framed pattachitra canvas and traditional urlis full of floating marigold blossoms transport you to a spiritual plane. Diaphanous, flour-white curtains framing the spacious balcony, a sectional sofa by Tusker Katha and embroidered cushions from Fabindia perpetuate the muted palette but usher in a touch of softness to the space. Heritage switches from SSK, in finely lacquered brass, embody the lineaments of old-world sophistication.
Breaking the monotony
The kitchen unveils a distinctly vibrant gamut, episodes of olive-green cabinetry blending with an eggshell-hued backsplash, efficiently attuned to the practical needs of the family. While the master bedroom is more sombre, an invigorating playfulness seeps into the daughter’s bedroom with fluted panels, a wallpaper fronted wardrobe and sublime tints of millennial pink. Jute window blinds and an exquisitely grained writing table — characterised by its sturdy construction — emanate flourishes of delicately balanced rusticity in the guest bedroom.
An ornamental symmetry
From fairytale four-poster beds to modular cabinets and heirloom chairs with rattan contours, this South Indian contemporary home epitomises the commitment of ma+rs studio to crafting timeless spaces that resonate with the inhabitants, providing a sanctuary for generations to come. Designers Sabyasachi Routray and Indulekha Paul have composed vignettes that successfully merge the past and present, bolstered by a strong fretwork of indigenous typology.