A Tale of Texture

A luxurious Mumbai apartment by ZZ Architects takes on varied textures and peek-a-boo design tricks. 

At first glance, you might dismiss this 14th floor Mumbai apartment, designed by ZZ Architects, as just another opulent Mumbai home. It definitely has all the trimmings — glossy surfaces, an uber-luxe material palate, savvy technology, expensive art, and a sophisticated (if safe) colour palette. Still, a quick walk through this lavish looking 3,000-square-foot space will open your eyes to a few genius details and clever design tricks. These sudden sparks make the house stand out, and the residents, a three generation family, have architects Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainuddin to thank.

Krupa and Zubin sat down to a pretty straightforward brief. The house, located in a swanky new building in Mumbai’s gentrified Lower Parel neighbourhood, had to be luxurious, high-end and maintain a seamless look throughout. Given that the clients were a large family of grandparents, two couples and two grandchildren, the last factor would prove to be the real challenge. “We had to ensure that the home wouldn’t look crowded or cluttered,” says Krupa. “At the same time we wanted it to have its own unique twist.”

A wide view of the large living room that houses bold art, imported furniture and minimal accessories. Elegant statuario marble flooring and carefully lacquered surfaces ensure a sleek look.

When architects design flats en masse for a residential building, the layouts can be unadventurous. In this apartment’s case, the main door leads directly to a large living room cum dining area surrounded by doors to other rooms. “We wanted this house to look different from the other flats in the building,” says Krupa. The most obvious difference one notes is a curved doorway-like structure to the left of the main door. This leads to what the family calls the powder room and ahead of that, the childrens’ bedroom. Beyond the doorway, you get a glimpse of wall, also curved, and wallpapered in textured burgundy. The rest of the space takes on the neutral shades of beige, bisque, white and black. Variety finds voice in the different textures of the room. The curtains, for instance, are made of lengths of three to four varieties of fabric from softly shining satin to heavy sombre linen.

The bar against the wall can also be a console. It has a counter that detaches from the main body with the help of mini castors. The portion that remains affixed to the wall is back-lit.

A warm but luxurious room, the living area has marble statuario flooring and an egg shell white ceiling. The overall sleekness is only accentuated by minimalist accessories, luxurious imported and customized furniture, bold art and warm-toned wood polished to a high shine. Train your eyes upward to the ceiling and you will notice not a flat surface, but a heady sweeping curve that displays fibre optic lighting. Incidentally, the lighting of the entire house is controlled from one main user board. Floor-to-ceiling glass offers a stunning view of the twinkling city lights by night and by day, a view of the busy metropolis rushing endlessly, frenetically.

The obvious highlight of this space is the bar. Against a wall, it looks like a simple console cum cabinet. But come party time, the flat counter moves forward with the help of mini castors at the base. This creates a space between the cabinet and console for a bartender. The back of the new bar is back-lit and there is enough counter space to mix drinks and store bottles. “It serves two purposes. During the day it’s a place to display treasured items and when the family entertains, it comes handy as a bar,” says Krupa.

The dining cum living room has lacquered surfaces which offer a clean, gleaming look, offset by the curtains which use a variety of textures.

The clever duality of the bar in the living room repeats itself in a narrow passage way just off the dining area. Along one wall, a long white sink offers the convenience of washing up before dinner, but smooth wooden planks fold down to cover it when not in use. This machination frees up space both above and below the sink, making it the perfect place to display treasured artefacts.

The kitchen looks like the sets of Master Chef. Separated from the rest of the house not by a wall, but by glass, this space is a study in stainless steel, sleek countertops and high-tech equipment. Large and airy, it also looks like it was clearly built in anticipation of a lot of activity. “This is a large family and its stands to reason that there will be a lot of cooking, so we tried to marry functionality with style in this space,” explains Krupa. An inbuilt refrigerator by Gaggenau and carefully controlled lighting completes the look of this cooking haven.

The other rooms also carry on the design story of wood, warm lighting and textured surfaces. Take the bedrooms, for instance. A little way from the kitchen, the architects concentrated on a distinct sleek and minimal appearance. One would think that the lack of fluffy cushions or soft floor rugs would make the rooms stark and uninviting, but they still look comfortable. The bedroom of the younger couple features dramatic black and grey furnishings and fuss-free accessories. However, one can’t help being overawed by the excellent space management. “We arranged the dressing area to be slightly away from where one can sleep or relax,” says Krupa. “This eliminates the need for bulky cupboards and frees up space.” Like the rest of the house the furniture in this room is imported or custom-made. “In this house a lot of emphasis is on high-quality goods,” she explains. The other bedrooms are designed on the same lines as this one with the exception of the childrens’ bedroom, where a giant poster of the son’s favourite football team brightens up the space.

The couple’s bedroom takes on the sombre tones of black and grey but a play of textures and lighting makes the space chic.

A lot of what you notice about this house will surprise you. Outside the kitchen, vibrant pops of colour through miniature Manisha Parekh paintings on the wall brighten up the space. Similiarly, the heavy structural grid echoed through the house (in the beams and the arrangement of the rooms) is softened considerably through the clever use of texture, the art, the play of light on marble and the carefully lacquered surfaces.

ZZ Architects took on a straightforward brief and a mere seven months later, their clients were rewarded with a house that met every expectation and then some more.

CONCEPT
To create a luxurious apartment that would hide some innovative and creative design tricks.

MATERIALS
Walls Wallpaper Flooring Statuario marble Furniture Customized and imported, wood

FACT FILE
Location Lower Parel, Mumbai Area 3,000 sq ft Design firm ZZ Architects Principal architects Zubin Zainuddin and Krupa Zubin Project duration Seven months

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