Studio PKA’s Puran Kumar adds an artsy jewel to Mumbai’s iconic Queen’s Necklace with The Canvas
JUN 2, 2021 | By Vedika Nair
If there’s one thing any Mumbaikar can dream of, it is a home that offers a sweeping view of the sea. And when the homeowner’s of The Canvas embraced its empty shell overlooking a breathtaking view of Mumbai’s Marine Drive, they envisioned a space that personified their love for art fused with seamless and functional design.
Bringing the homeowners vision to life, architect and designer Puran Kumar of Studio PKA says, “We built this home with three key factors in mind. Context, the Art Deco style and their Art Collection.”
Marine Drive’s stunning setting, with the changing hues of the sky, become the backdrop for the inhabitants’ ever-growing art collection. The home has been designed to cater to functional spaces while respecting its Art Deco history with minimal interventions. Kumar effortlessly heroes the art collection by unifying it with the home’s structure and design.
“The idea was to give the apartment an artful soul and spirit. We created The Canvas to ensure that we have a backdrop where the art and artist can actually come and express itself,” shares Kumar, adding, “We’ve experimented with refined materials like Italian marble on the floor, transcending you from one space to another in a fluid fashion, while the foreground is a bouquet of rough surfaces, like exposed brickwork.”
A muted material palette with hints of marble, exposed brick, terrazzo and cement mosaic coupled with wood and metal frames line the home and exude a sense of warmth. Creating a confluence between art and architecture, the space pays homage to the symbolic masterpieces that adorn its walls bound by materials and hues creating an ethereal gallery-esque experience.
Unlike most Art Deco structures in Mumbai, The Canvas has open spaces that allow the viewers a panoramic view of the sea from the living, dining, bar area and master bedroom. Two other bedrooms in the home also come with an open space to offer a view of the outdoors.
“We’ve opened the space up by completely taking off the wall between the living and dining, giving the space volume. The balcony in the dining room has been retained. There is also a small balcony that has been taken into the living area, often serving a bar. We’ve maintained a certain balance between the spaces throughout,” adds the architect.
An art installation by artist Alwar Balasubramaniam which has been assembled and put together by Studio PKA captivates us upon entering the home. Depicting the process of moulding and shaping, the installation adds a sense of intrigue and draws you towards it.
The passage comes with turns, binding the home together and is laden with art all over. “I’ve treated this entrance like a space in a gallery,” explains Kumar. Meandering further, the living and dining rooms face the sea and are accentuated by art on the wall. The architect especially built an exposed brick wall in the dining room to adorn it with art by Ram Kumar. “As someone who appreciates art myself, my job as an architect is to value the pieces and create a space that celebrates the artist and his work,” he adds.
Art by N.S. Harsha hangs on the living room wall, seamlessly blending with the space’s surface treatments. Throughout these spaces, Kumar stitches luxury and style with functional design as seen with the furniture in the living and dining areas. Another interesting element in the home is the metal partition between the passage and the living and dining areas. “We have opened up the passage, essentially connecting the living and dining, thereby rendering openness to that space, but these partitions can be shut when the homeowners need privacy,” divulges Kumar.
A library-esque balcony in the dining room comes with screen protection and natural stone flooring, while housing minimal furniture and plants, letting the view be the hero.
In contrast to its informal areas, The Canvas’ master bedroom is peppered with different materiality with exception of the Italian marble. A white cylindrical column in the room becomes the highlight and while explaining its importance the architect says, “It’s easy to start building shelves around it, do something or build a platform. But I wanted the serenity of this place to be intact. So there’s a nice round balcony, which has got white windows and they are all sea facing, opening the space up.” A coffee table and chair paired along with a small bookshelf grace the nook creating comfort. “I think there’s a certain inherent beauty to this. This is the area where the Art Deco element has been kept intact so that you can enjoy it as an inheritance. You have the view outside the windows, but spaces like these make it special,” he says.
Exuding an earthy feel the apartment’s two other bedrooms also use their design to express various pieces of art. A second balcony in the guest room, created by the architect allows for a view of the outside and maintains uniformity in the home’s openness.
In The Canvas, art takes centre stage and the apartment has been designed around it to function as a private gallery for the residents as well as their abode. “Every design intervention irrespective of the typology needs to be honest to the context and the ultimate purpose. Respecting what you inherit as well as making the space conducive to the program are of paramount importance. With The Canvas, adaptability to the requirements and purpose of the space are seen as tenets that highlight the signature style,” concludes Kumar.