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Tiran Driver and Nicola Gerber: Designers of the week

FEB 19, 2016 | By Tasneem Merchant

For over 14 years now, Tiran Driver and Nicola Gerber have been the driving force behind Fusion Studio. Their story begins in New York, where they were studying Masters in Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University. Before they founded their own outfit, they worked together on international design and architecture competitions in countries like UK, Denmark, Belgium and US.
Hailing from two different countries (Tiran is from India and Nicola from Germany), where architecture styles differ greatly, they found common ground in their approach towards design. Thus, Fusion Studio was born in 2002 in London. The duo was teaching and working at the same time and just last year decided to move their practice to Mumbai.
Their design philosophy Even though they hail from different countries, they share the same design principles. The main focus of our philosophy comes from purity of space, form and proportion,” explains Tiran. “We both have a tendency towards minimal and essential in spaces. We believe in quality and sustainability, and lean towards natural materials and craftsmanship. This is something we apply to all our projects.”
Their most recent project
The pair’s Sunshine flat in Mumbai is a brilliant example of how they execute this philosophy. The apartment, located in a 1930s heritage building in South Mumbai reflects their style – simple, pure and contemporary.
Being their own clients enabled them to test their mettle. “The main constraint was that it was a heritage property. The society had frozen the layout of the flat so we couldn’t take down any walls or break them down,” says Tiran. “We wanted to maintain the spatial continuity between the various areas in the flat. To ensure this, we even glazed parts of the door; so when you’re in one room you can see the floor running through to the other room which makes the rooms connect visually.”
Maintaining this flow of space formed a crucial aspect in the way they have done the house. “We didn’t want to have a compartmentalised approach where the living room is a certain style, the dining room is a certain style and when you step into the kitchen it’s a different set.”
To paint the house in white was the natural way to go for them. It also provided them with a “starting point”. “In terms of adding colour, you can choose what you like and it always complements it. For instance, in the three rooms, the living, dining and bedroom we have blue and grey accent colours. White also reflects more light into the interiors which makes spaces look much bigger,” expounds Tiran.
Lighting was another important aspect they looked into, carefully choosing all the fixtures in the house. The two key lights are Hope from LucePlan which hangs above the dinner table and the other is the Allegro pendant from Foscarini that graces the living room, picked for the “interesting shadows they create.”
Wood is used heavily in their ivory dwelling for cupboards, compartments and even wall coverings. In fact, the passageway linking the living and dining areas is done in an aged bogged elm wood, which lends a dark hue while several smaller cabinets have been done in the lighter grey tinted emperor oak.
The couple’s happy place also features a sit-out kind of arrangement in their daughter’s bedroom, which offers expansive views of the Bombay High Court and University Clock Tower. Website: www.fusionstudio.euAlso read: Unique all-white bedrooms that achieve ultimate peace and quiet