Elements of Opulence

Breaking away from the cliches associated with contemporary luxury living, a 5BHK apartment in Mumbai sees the beautiful union of neo-classical and modern design influences — courtesy ABM Architects.

Text: Carol Ferrao; Photographs: Fabien Charuau, courtesy ABM Architects

Architects Alfaz Miller and Aahana Miller

When your quest is to redefine luxury, and it’s ABM Architects in the picture, you can expect that the transformation of your sprawling 2,950 square-foot 5BHK will create a new benchmark in luxury living. “The client wished to create a monument of opulence that delivers equally on functionality,” says Aahana Miller, who recently joined her father Alfaz Miller’s (the principal at ABM Architects) firm after having studied at The University of Pennsylvania and The Rhode Island School of Design. Her international experience means she strives to incorporate a unique amalgam of her Indian roots into her design style, aiming to synergize an eastern cultural ethos with modern living.

This blend of tradition with modern, contemporary pieces is evident in the apartment that can be best described as elegant, luxurious and timeless. “A typical flat is generally designed in a contemporary manner. However, we opted for a neo-classical look with a blend of modern design,” notes Aahana. It helped that not only was the canvas generous in terms of space but the design team also enjoyed a free rein in the decision-making.

With a hint of colour, the living room has been divided into formal and informal seating that spill into each other. The design relies on a palette of lustrous black, red, gold, blue and silver to selectively highlight elements in the home. But it is the drapes from Arc One that lend an elegant charm to the space.

Overlooking an enviable landscape that includes glimpses of the sea, the fifth-floor apartment’s archetypal layout favours individual living areas over an open floor plan and “yet allows spaces to flow into each other,” highlights Aahana. Right from the entrance, the neo-classical influences become apparent as the large doorway leads you to a foyer that’s marked by its checkered marble floor inlay and which ushers you into the expansive living and kitchen on the left and a niched dining space on the right, from where you can access the master and kids’ bedrooms. Besides the parents’ and guest bedrooms, the apartment includes a den that serves as both cosy theatre room, and a small corner office.

At the foyer itself, you are surrounded by an air of sophistication. It’s the restrained design sensibility paired with an exquisite colour and material palette that impresses you right away. Over a customized, abstract carpet in blue and grey rests a glass and brass-finish console table with a luminescent black crystal chandelier right above it. The walls too have been thoughtfully highlighted either with full length mirrors, matte PU paint or a uniquely textured metal crack paint that is visible on the front wall of the foyer.

At the central foyer, a large doorway and the checkered marble floor inlay with a customized carpet from Arc One usher you to the expansive living and dining space. The fabrics and materials primarily used here are marble, leatherite and linen; they are luxurious but not ostentatious.

Bathed in natural light from the generously proportioned windows, the living room has been divided into two parts — formal and informal — that spill into each other seamlessly. The floor-to-ceiling drapes in sheer white and solid taupe frame the space, which has been layered with textures in the form of cushions, a patterned coffee table, wallpaper, an abstract print carpet and a selection of antique-inspired floor lamp, black crystal chandelier, and classical decor elements. With the focus more on the seating, the TV wall is panelled to flush the screen, finished with a stark white discreet unit below. The minimalist gypsum ceiling with recessed LED profile lighting provides fitting illumination to the space.

L-shaped living rooms with an attached dining have become a norm in space-starved cities like Mumbai. However, at this apartment, the dining enjoys a distinguished space. Positioned at the heart of the house, it has a contemporary, aristocratic charm. Mirrors on the wall reflect the classical elements — almost framed by each mirror — from the foyer and the living room and make them part of the dining space. The reflective quality of the mirror is matched with the transparency of the eight-seater dining unit, which with its glass table top and sculpted base visually maintains a sense of spaciousness in the niched area. Candelabras have been opted for instead of pendant lamps, which perfectly demonstrates the neo-classical design language.

The composition of mirrors on the dining wall reflects daylight from the living room and adds depth to the space. Over the customized, diligently crafted carpet from Arc One sits the statement dining unit from Baro where the glass table top brings a capacious vibe and the sculpted base maintains the luxury quotient of the design. Brinda Miller’s vibrant artwork ties the whole space together.

But it is each of the bedrooms that bring out the luxury quotient of the apartment — the master bedroom in particular. One of the most spacious rooms in the house, it mimics the grandeur of a high-end hotel suite without compromising on the need for a warm, homely ambience. The neutral palette — beige never looked so good! — is complemented with geometric prints, be it the patterned glass partition wall separating the bathroom, the bold carpet or even the circular bath mirrors that are visible from the bedroom.

Avoiding all cliches associated with kid’s rooms, the second bedroom has luxury and vibrance instilled through the navy leather panels on the headboard wall and the wooden log study desk with woven chairs. Meanwhile, in the parents’ bedroom, the luxury factor is kept subtle with ornate design elements that bring a sense of familiarity and an old-world aesthetic to the space. Even though each bedroom has a personality of its own, the material palette of each room is similar and harmonious with each other. The fifth room is not a bedroom but a multifunctional den with a home theatre and study desk. It is designed as a getaway space with a focus on privacy and relaxation.

In the end, ABM Architects created a luxurious but not ostentatious space that indeed raised the notion of luxury living. They have given the city a new benchmark that is bound to inspire others to follow suit!

To create a modern home that is opulent in design yet perfectly functional.

Floor: Wooden floor for bedrooms and Italian for living and kitchen
Walls: Paint, wallpaper
Ceiling: Gypsum painted ceiling
Display units: PU finish
Partitions: Block work
Furniture: BWP ply
Lighting: LED lighting

Project: Show flat at Elements
Client: Rustomjee
Location: Upper Juhu
Area: DN Nagar
Principal architect: Alfaz Miller
Design team: Pooja Punamiya, Rita Khare, Sachin Chavan, Aahana Miller
Consultants: MEP TECH Consultant, Omkar automation
Contractors: Prabhu Interiors, Shree Prasad Electricals