Paying ode to the slow life, The First House Goa by The Busride Lab is a testament to the other side of Goa that is a stark contrast to its beaches and parties
NOV 11, 2021 | By Ayaz Basrai
We all enter Goa holding a million ideas. The heady mix of excitement and anticipation slowly mingles with a dropping of inhibitions. We then begin letting loose and end up having a hazy memory of the entire trip.
The entire experience is not unlike attending a Masquerade Ball, (strangely mirrored in Goa’s carnival, that traces its roots back to the introduction of Roman Catholicism, occurring before the abstinence of Lent). The carnival is presided over by King Momo, who on the opening day orders his subjects to party.
The Masquerade plays out everyday at the beaches, the high-energy bars and clubs, the glitzy casinos and the streets of otherwise quiet village by-lanes. The Masquerade mask introduces us to our own split personality, offering us a vacation from ourselves.
The idea of Goa itself offers this mask and costume. You “let your hair down” behind an oversized straw hat and a thin block-printed muslin shirt. It is impossible to deny that this side of Goa exists. Design briefs that cater to these expectations proliferate the beach belt and the hotel strips, the quest for the ultimate selfie drives major design decisions and project budgets.
There is a side of Goa that makes a big impression, and yet another that reveals itself to you slowly. There are places to speed up, where a week feels like a blur. And then there are places to slow down, where a weekend feels like a month.
The First House responds to the second.
My first impulse walking into the First House was this deep urge to do as little as possible. It was already a stunning property, and almost perfectly situated with this incredible play of nature all around.
It was cutaway, yet central, packed into a lovely human-scaled Goan house that already had decades of incredible memories from it’s previous owners layered in. We’ve worked with mirrors to open up vistas, plaster rhythms to unify disparate elements, and tried to be as sedate as possible. We used the lightest possible touch to ease in new objects and navigation, and simple plaster panels and elevational rhythms to just underline alignments with old parts of the bungalow.
There’s a part of Goa that is experienced when everything else calms down. The First house is designed to be a quiet backdrop, to not impinge on the consciousness of the guest, to conceal functionality rather than display cool stuff.
The property itself (we hope) encourages you to stay longer, to engage with the seasons, to watch the passage of time.
We had some fun with the art program though, and we are curating an ongoing irreverent look at the History of Art, by subtly messing with the artworks of past masters from some of the most amazing museum collections sourced from the commons. It’s a program called “F*ck Art, Lets Dance”, and is an art and music pairing that makes looking at art more bearable.
Probably the most challenging part of the project was to keep our freakishness out of the property and act our age.
No local Craft was harmed in the making of the property.
Read more about this villa in our October-Novermber 2021 issue…