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
This minimalistically designed reception area brings forth a deeper urge to explore the rest of the spaces; Photographs by Fabien Charau
Replete with classy furniture, this living room emanates timelessness; Photographs by Fabien Charau
Ornate entrance with a traditional twist welcomes you at The First House villa; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

Every nook and corner of this dining area is distinct and chic; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

To complement the checkered flooring, wooden table and chairs are perched on them with grace; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

Enhancing the beauty of the porch, are these chairs and table that are placed in such a poised manner; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

On a bright and sunny day, this swimming pool area seems to be the perfect space to relax and unwind; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

Stay in close contact with the nature while you enjoy every moment at The First House villa; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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.

Hues like white and brown revel with equal fluency in this bedroom; Photographs by Fabien Charau

The property itself (we hope) encourages you to stay longer, to engage with the seasons, to watch the passage of time.

The most challenging part of the project was to keep the freakishness out of the property; Photographs by Fabien Charau

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…