Padmanabh Singh, the 303rd descendant of the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur—on the mantle behind him are photographs of Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh (left) and Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. A 20th-century chandelier hangs above the 19th- century Jaipur Jail carpet. Facing page: The hunting trophies were collected by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II. The wallpaper pattern is inspired by the ﬁve colours on Jaipur’s ﬂag, from back when it was a princely state; all the wallpaper in the apartment is from Good Earth. The wooden ﬂooring is 20th century—likely affixed when Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II moved into the palace. 251
Padmanabh is seated in front of a portrait of Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur. Facing page, top left: The furniture is 20th century; this wallpaper was inspired by the Lotus Gate at Pritam Niwas Chowk at the City Palace, Jaipur. Facing page, top right: The paintings are of the interiors at the Rambagh Palace, the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II commissioned various designers for the renovation. Facing page, bottom right: Most of the patterns in this dining room are inspired by the design motifs seen in the City Palace. The table, carpet and chandelier are new designs; the chairs are vintage 20th-century pieces. On the wall are 19th-century Jaipur school paintings of Amer and Jaipur rulers. The cutlery features the Jaipur royal crest. Facing page, bottom left: At the vestibule of the apartment; the door at the far end leads to the Chinoiserie corridor.
The bedroom in the Maharaja suite—it was earlier used as the office of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The 19th-century chandelier was restored for use here. The wallpaper pattern is also inspired by the Lotus Gate at Pritam Niwas Chowk; the portrait is a 20th- century oil painting of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The furniture is mainly early 20th century; the carpet is a 19th-century antique. Facing page: The bathroom was completely overhauled. 255
This marble staircase connects to the Kennedy suite.
avished with all the splendour of 18th- A KINGDOM AND A HORSE century Mughal and Rajasthani aesthetics, The young maharaja, who studied at Mayo College, Ajmer and Jaipur’s restored Rajmahal Palace is part Millﬁeld School in the UK, could often be seen playing football in old-world glamour, part modern maximalism the precinct. “My biggest passion, however, has always been polo. I and part timeless sophistication. Now known used to ride with my father, and my grandfather used to watch. as Suján Rajmahal Palace—after hotelier Jaisal This is probably the most prominent memory I have of Rajmahal— Singh’s SUJÁN took over its management in practising polo in the early mornings before school, or in the 2013, and designer Adil Ahmad (the master of evenings,” says Padmanabh, who is also a member of the Windsor- riotous richness for contemporary times) took based Guards Polo Club. Between entertaining friends and playing on the work of its restoration—it is one of Jaipur’s treasures. The polo, family is key—an aspect of royal life that is as much about structure now symbolizes a lifestyle that brings together the nostalgia as it is about tradition. “It’s very back-to-basics here. I try antipodal worlds of tradition and modernity. “And they do to spend as much time with my family as possible, especially with converge—quite beautifully, in fact,” says 19-year-old Padmanabh my grandmother. Her stories are so interesting! She speaks about Singh, the 303rd descendant of the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur. all the challenging times, like the Emergency or the Partition. She Behind the palace’s candy-pink art deco facade are 14 royal says that the most important thing in life is family and the people apartments, suites and palace rooms, which served as the royal we’re responsible for. I take these things to heart,” he adds. family’s private residence until it was reopened as an exclusive palace-hotel in 2014. “From 1729 to now, the palace has had Padmanabh recently moved to New York, where he is studying many different avatars. [Rajmata Padmini Devi] of Jaipur liberal arts at New York University. However, moving from the (Padmanabh’s grandmother) wanted the Rajmahal Palace to be lavish setting of Jaipur to the minimal modernism of the Big Apple given a new lease of life. Adil retained, restored and highlighted the doesn’t confound him. “You know, I’ve spent almost a decade in a many different design styles within Rajmahal and added his own boarding school with facilities much sparser than this. I’ve just inimitable touch to it,” says Jaisal, the founder and CEO of the moved into a two-bedroom apartment on the 16th ﬂoor of a Third luxury hotel group. Avenue building, and that is quite comfortable too. I’ve always Today, even in its new avatar as a hotel, the palace remains the wanted to be as well-rounded as possible, and as independent as I preferred residence of the erstwhile royals. “The family uses the can be,” says Padmanabh. How, then, does he reconcile these two palace quite naturally and very frequently—be it to entertain their disparate worlds? “One of the things my parents and grandparents guests or spend a weekend there themselves. Princess Diya Kumari taught me was to adapt for the better—to accept whatever’s also keeps an office here, which she uses regularly,” says Jaisal. happening and do what I can to contribute. Honestly, I’ve had an upbringing like any other kid—not entitled or privileged. So, I BACHELOR KING don’t experience any culture shock when I travel,” he adds. Of special interest here is Ram Niwas, the Maharaja’s Apartment, which serves as Padmanabh’s part-time residence when he is in Padmanabh has a few visits to Jaipur planned for the upcoming Jaipur; like a good son, he also lives with his family in the City months (for Holi in March, and polo season in September and Palace. The interiors by Ahmad were designed to showcase the October), but also ﬁnds himself irresistibly drawn to the city of architectural elements—Rajput, Mughal, Palladian or 1930s art Rome. “Apart from Jaipur, it’s the only place in the whole world deco—that were added over the centuries by its various occupants. where I would like to live. From a carpenter’s shop to a house, However, in keeping with its latest occupant’s age, the every structure has a story to tell. The whole city is like a living 3,126-square-foot space has acquired a reputation as a well-known museum, much like my hometown.” party pad in the city, and the young maharaja’s guests frequently converge here from all over the world. “My grandfather (Sawai Bhawani Singh) loved The apartment has been home to three generations of royal entertaining and he had a family members—Sawai Man Singh II, Sawai Bhawani Singh and, particular way of doing so. now, Padmanabh. “It’s a beautiful apartment with a massive When I entertain, I try to terrace,” says Padmanabh, adding: “My grandfather (Sawai follow the same traditions.” Bhawani Singh) loved entertaining and he had a particular way of doing that. He used to like Indian food, so we have Rajasthani food ~ Padmanabh Singh cooked in the traditional way. As you enter, you have Rajasthani artistes playing folk music. It gives people a true sense of what Rajasthan is about. When I entertain, I try to follow the same traditions.” Padmanabh—known to his friends as ‘Pacho’—is stylish, but also endearingly sentimental. “Growing up here has been pretty fascinating for me,” he says, “Well, not just for me, but for my friends who used to visit. We’d spend hours running around in beautiful palaces and forts—especially at night—playing hide-and-seek.” 257
The central staircase in this New Delhi home— designed by Gurjit Singh Matharoo—references the courtyard of traditional homes.
Open, interconnected spaces and ample allowances for nature make this home, designed by architect Gurjit Singh Matharoo, a unique haven in New Delhi’s cluttered cityscape WRITER SAAD AHMED . PHOTOGRAPHER EDMUND SUMNER 259
Above: A view from the stairwell into the master bedroom. The pool deck below features armchairs and a sofa by Paola Lenti. Facing page, top: The entrance on the ground ﬂoor offers a view of the lap pool from one side and the garden from the other. The chair is by Le Corbusier; the rug was created by Rajen, an Ahmedabad-based textile artist. The artwork on the left is by Haku Shah. Facing page, bottom: A formal living area that opens into the garden on one side while keeping the adjoining service areas concealed on the other side—the sofa and the coffee table are from Living Divani. The rug is by Rajen. The pony leather armchairs on the right are by Le Corbusier. The painting on the wooden wall is by MF Husain. The red console is by Giulio Cappellini. The Desalto dining table is paired with classic Mario Bellini chairs and a series of pendant lights from Flos.
The geometry on the facade of the thin steel structure of the ‘Steel House’ is intercepted by heavy stone-clad louvres. Facing page: Architect Gurjit Singh Matharoo.
f you’ve seen one of New Delhi’s colonies—the city’s preferred unusual in a city where space is usually relegated for parking, maintenance term for residential neighbourhoods—you’ve seen them all. The rooms and staff quarters. Matharoo Associates accomplished this by creating low-rise apartment blocks jostle cheek by jowl on car-lined two levels of parking in the basement accessible via a car lift, and positioning streets. The cookie-cutter buildings are punctuated by the the staff quarters to its rear. They installed the electrical panels, generators occasional moss-streaked bungalow waiting to be reincarnated and ventilation systems on the rooftop, which also has a kitchen garden. as a four-storey apartment. So it was with some astonishment on a hazy winter day that I laid eyes on the stone-tiled facade in CONCRETE PLAN front of me. Partially draped in foliage, it stands apart from the Maximizing the available space within the conﬁnes of the plot was a priority awning- and balcony-clad houses on either side. for Matharoo. “We chose thin steel beams and columns for the least But the gloss of the exteriors did not prepare me for the surprise that structural sizes,” he explains. “This construct ensures that the dead space lost lay inside—a lap pool, running along the length of the house. A skylight in the walls is minimized by 5 per cent. To save height, we reduced the depth along the span of the pool, and ﬂoor-to-ceiling glass panels, ﬁll the space of the beams from 450 millimetres to 250 millimetres by using a composite with natural light. A 90-by-50-foot artwork by Vaidehi Parikh crowns structure where the horizontal member of the T-beam is part of the concrete the wall above the pool, and massive steel ducts snake down to the water, slab itself.” adding dimension to the painting. The various levels of the house, connected by a warren of staircases zigzagging above the pool, are all The use of building materials in their natural state, devoid of all visible from the ground. It is this openness and allowance for the elements embellishments, enhances the minimalist aesthetic of the home. The of nature—despite the space constraints imposed by the surrounding exposed concrete slabs, steel beams and Kadappa-stone-tiled ﬂoor come sprawl—that make the house truly remarkable. together in a melange of textures. The patterns on the ceiling, for instance, The ediﬁce, ‘Steel House’, is home to three generations of a family that mirror the corrugations of the ﬂooring. The reinforcement bars of the slab runs a steel enterprise. As the family expanded, they felt the need for a that sew the concrete and steel together seem like a running stitch along larger space, one for a prospective fourth generation. To design a new the seams of the house. residence, the choice for them was obvious: Gurjit Singh Matharoo, the principal architect of Matharoo Associates, with whom they have had a Most fascinating, however, are the slate slabs that sheathe the house. long association. These serve as louvres that can be adjusted depending on the need for privacy or ventilation. The movements of the heavy slabs make for an FREE LIVING arresting spectacle—fashioning a different facade each time one sees it. “The family had two options,” Matharoo recounts,“to either move out of their ancestral property in the heart of Delhi to a farmhouse where there On my way out, the splashes of greenery on the stone facade made for was nature, space and freedom to design—or to sacriﬁce this liberty for a reassuring sight. Hopping across the rubble of a pavement, I couldn’t help social living in the heart of the city. We promised to give them both and but be amazed by the ingenuity that stitched this remarkable tapestry of a this became our biggest challenge.” house into the fraying fabric of the city. The homeowners’ brief also included privacy for the various family PHOTO: R BURMAN members, without compromising on shared spaces and interconnectedness. Thus, each storey has private suites for a unit of the family as well as sections where they can congregate—a garden on the fourth ﬂoor, a library and study on the third, a kitchen and dining space below, and a swimming pool and lounge on the ground level. All areas of the house are easily accessible via the centrally located lift, and, thus, there are no corridors between its different sections. The common areas of the various ﬂoors overlook the colossal painting by the pool as well as each other—a feature reminiscent of the courtyards in traditional Indian houses. This seamlessness precludes seclusion and nurtures an interconnectedness that the tight-knit family cherishes. At the street level, sliding glass walls in the living room and vestibule open out to the yard, creating an expansive space that negates the strict binary between the indoors and the outdoors. Similarly, there is a compact temple hemmed in by glass partitions that can be folded to make room for the large religious congregations that the homeowners often host. A sliding fence, clad with creepers, creates a ﬂexible boundary with the adjacent plot, which also belongs to the family. On the fourth ﬂoor, the bed in the living quarters has a lovely view of an indoor garden partially exposed to the elements. The glass dividers between the two enclosures can be slid back to effortlessly create the illusion of a forest within the bedroom. It is this ﬂuidity permeating the various spaces that makes the house seem incredibly spacious for the 4,500-square-foot plot upon which it is built. That the ground level hosts a pool, yard and expansive lounges is quite 263
O Before they materialize into bricks and mortar, architect Gurjit Singh Matharoo’s designs take the shape of intricate origami pop-ups WRITER PALLAVI PUNDIR . PHOTOGRAPHER JIGNESH JHAVERI It starts with a plain piece of paper: ﬂat. And then it bends. It involved in this as we send out 700 cards each year, so besides the contorts. It contracts and collapses according to the whims of sufficient amount of stability, the card needs to be as economical as the mind. A two-dimensional banality metamorphoses into possible. We also design the size of the card based on the size of paper a living, physical three-dimensional structure of integrity. chosen, to avoid wastage,” says Matharoo. Over the years, these pieces Origami is as much about design as it has come to connote a have become collectibles. “Sometimes, when missed out or not highly meticulous process that lends an element of industry to delivered on time, we often get reminders and requests for the cards!” an endeavour as well as playfulness. So what happens when the he says, adding that the pop-ups have even begun to inspire some of immensity of an architectural structure is scaled down to the their architectural designs. delicate intricacies of the aforementioned form of art? Ahmedabad- based architect Gurjit Singh Matharoo says of the transcendent For ‘Steel House’, Matharoo utilized two 90-by-50-inch nature of the Japanese art and its role in his architectural practice: datum planes at right angles to each other as a departure point. The “There is a sublime beauty in these origami-based developments team brought out the inside spatial quality of the overlooking that involve only folds and no sticking. They pop out to make large volumes, terraces and transparency with light, water and greenery. animated masses and convey meanings, but when unfolded are “The experience within the house is of varying scales and clean, rectangular pieces of paper with no parts missing.” proportions, with planes that come close and move away, sometimes touching and sometimes aloof, closed at places and The idea began with creating pop-up cards of the ﬁrm’s buildings completely revealing at others. This emotive character is not visible for Diwali and Christmas. It soon developed into making handcrafted in two-dimensional drawings and we have attempted to capture it pieces to celebrate a project every year—each of which takes 30 in the card,” he says. If ‘back to basics’ are to ﬁnd a framework in the revisions and two months to complete. “We use paper, but are always discourse of architectural thinking, Matharoo’s ingenous pop-ups in search of better quality and texture. There is an extensive exercise surely show a way. 264| ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST|MARCH-APRIL 2018
LOGECO HOMES, CREDAI GUJARAT AHMEDABAD; DIWALI, 2016 CENTRE, AHMEDABAD; EMPLOYEES’ STATE INSURANCE INVITATION CARD, 2013 CORPORATION, MODEL HOSPITAL, AHMEDABAD; CHRISTMAS, 2015 NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, NAGPUR; DIWALI, 2017 DIVISIONAL RAILWAY MANAGER’S OFFICE, AHMEDABAD; CHRISTMAS, 2008
The landscape design for this beach house in Alibag was done by Taera Chowna. 26-
S A simple structure in the dunes of Alibag gives new deﬁnition to the very notion of what a beach house should be. Prepare to be dazzled! WRITER GAYATRI RANGACHARI SHAH . PHOTOGRAPHER ASHISH SAHI
The homeowner has a large collection of Christian artefacts, some of which rest on the large rice container on the extreme left of the living room; the four-foot-wide container has been carved out of a single block of wood. On the extreme right are church candle stands from south India, which are lit every night, even when the homeowner is away. The pendant lamp is four feet in diameter and was made as a prototype in aluminium. The sofa and armchairs are from Mumbai’s Jogeshwari Chor Bazaar and were restored by Mahendra Doshi. The cushions are from Jim Thompson, Thailand.
The 18-foot-long sofa—with silk-cotton ﬁllers—is made of solid mahogany. The centre table is made regularly by the house staff with compacted sand, and is weighed down by a slab of fossilized stone. The collection of sculptures atop it was gifted to the homeowner by the late Mahendra Doshi. On the art deco cast-iron side table in the foreground rests a box made of a coconut and silver by Ubud-based jeweller Jean-François Albert. The fan rosette on the brick wall was rescued from a demolition site in Mumbai’s Teen Batti area. The cross-vault trusses are inspired traditional cathedral arches.
The dining table—22 feet long and 5 feet 6 inches wide—was made from a single piece of mahogany. The chairs are from Bali Rattan, Indonesia. A 27-foot-long ceremonial obi is used as a table runner. The candelabra are repurposed coffee tree roots. Facing page: A teak slab was suspended from steel cables to make the swing. The alabaster bird seen behind the swing was gifted to the homeowner by Mahendra Doshi. The side table it rests on is a fossilized tree trunk.
The sunshade was made by a local artisan; the chairs are from Saffron Home & Garden, which was run by Piloo Bomanjee. Facing page: The planter’s chairs are from Mahendra Doshi.
In this guest bedroom, plain cotton bedsheets have been used as curtains for all the windows. The Bishop bed from Kochi was procured from Heritage Art, the antique store in Kerala founded by NB Majnu. The in- situ ﬂooring was done by an artisan from Vadodara. The block-printed bedspread is from Brigitte Singh, Jaipur. The ceremonial masks on both sides of the bed are from Bali and the painting above it is by a local artist. Facing page: The windows for all four bedrooms—two of which are visible here—were made in Kolkata, in the style of old industrial windows. The deck is made in Burma teak.
The bathtub is from Water Monopoly, London. The faucets are by Volevatch. The table has a silver and rosewood frame. The sofa and armchair are from Jogeshwari Chor Bazaar and are upholstered in a Sunbrella fabric. The cushions are from Jim Thompson.
Marine plywood has been used on the ceiling of the master bedroom. The pendant lamp is from Indonesia. The art deco cabinet holds the homeowner’s collection of Asian tribal pieces. The chair—from Myanmar—still retains its original cane; under it is an antique Turkish dowry rug. The bedspread is from Shyam Ahuja. The ﬂooring is in micro China mosaic.
The old Jewish family bed was bought in Kochi. The upholstery is from Sunbrella.
ith each second of the 20- central living and dining area that dominates. Rising above it are minute speedboat ride from 30-foot-high ceilings that lend it an air of expanse, rivalled only by Mumbai, you can feel the city, the sea in front. The great room has no ‘proper’ doors, windows or bit by grimy bit, fall away from ﬂoor; in keeping with the spirit of a beach house, the ﬂoor is sand. you. Your shoulders unknot, your lungs expand, your ears UNDERSTATED begin to pick up...could that The late, great collector Bunny Mellon had a mantra: nothing be birdsong? By the time you should be noticed. Everything ought to look effortless. And so it is reach Alibag—12 kilometres south of Mumbai—you are loose- here, in this rural idyll of coconut and palm trees overlooking a limbed and, in your head, already holding a drink with an umbrella remarkable stretch of sandy white beach in coastal Maharashtra. in it, and have a hibiscus tucked jauntily behind one ear. The naturally magniﬁcent surroundings are complemented by the The quiet coastal town of Alibag is known to many as the understated ease of the home—if a house could be described as Hamptons of Mumbai. Much like New Yorkers’ relationship with ‘comfortable in its skin’, this would be it. the Hamptons, Alibag is where Mumbai’s well-heeled gather when they get sick of city life and traffic. Known more for its social Alibag is where many wealthy Mumbaikars have built their life than its beaches (there are a very few and most feature black second homes. But even here, where outstandingly breathtaking sand and heaps of trash), it is a great surprise for this writer to homes abound, this beach house astounds. It is so magical in its discover a pristine stretch of white sand, where one designer lives inherent simplicity, so nonchalantly chic, that it makes all the in maximum privacy. other homes in the area look like they’re trying too hard. When it comes to reclusive trades, design is not the ﬁrst one that comes to mind. It’s not even in the top 10. A designer, after all, The designer has never before shown this existing ﬁshing typically has to meet clients, contractors, workmen, and so forth. cottage. These ﬁrst-ever photographs offer a glimpse of the It was perhaps in reaction to this ceaseless stream of interactions profoundly simple space that he created 30 years ago. Using that this home was built. natural, locally sourced material throughout, the basic structure is Although Alibag has some of the most exquisite homes in a symmetrical and simple, made in brick with exposed metal cross range of styles—including some particularly lavish ones—the vaulting. The entire space is open to the elements, and there are designer’s preference was to have a decidedly intimate home. The hardly any windows or doors in the common areas. The ﬂoor plan space’s focal point is what the Americans refer to as a great room—a upstairs mirrors the one downstairs to the extent that the ﬁrst-ﬂoor balconies don’t even have railings. In the master bedroom, an The swimming pool deck antique bathtub sits on the outdoor terrace—presumably so that chairs are from Saffron Home one can experience nature while being au naturel. & Garden. The decking is rough Kota stone. OLD THINGS For this designer and homeowner, design has always been a passion, and antiquing, an obsession. They have a collection of design books that would be the envy of any major library, and owns antiquities that are, quite frankly, museum-worthy. His interest in design was sparked by his career choice, but the love for antiques, he credits to the late Mahendra Doshi, founder of the eponymous antique and furniture store. “He taught me a lot, especially about the story behind each piece,” he says. The designer’s initiation into collecting began with a touch of irony: he bought back some objects at Mumbai’s famed Chor Bazaar that his parents had sold without his knowledge. Needless to say, his mother was not pleased. Since then, he’s built an enormous collection—in particular, of Christian artefacts originating in India. “So much of it was being looted, and I couldn’t bear the thought,” he explains. Much of this art was made in wood, his preferred material for both decor and designing. The furniture and objects in this home have been curated with self-assurance and a sharp eye, over a painstaking number of years. The designer waited for the right dining table—an immense slab of wood that seats 20—for two decades. The living room sofa—a massive eight-seater on a single slab of wood—is a replica, because a famous American fashion designer was so taken by the original, she insisted on taking it with her. A fabulously whimsical touch is the coffee table base constructed in sand, which supports the fossilized stone slab on top. “It gets knocked about from time to time,” says the designer unconcernedly, “but it’s easy enough to pack back in.” Such is life at the sandcastle. 28'
The homeowner decided against using any soil on the main property and maintained the original condition—think sand ﬂoors—and minimized the use of concrete. Soil has been used only in the garden, which is separated from the house by this driveway.
Christian Grey has nothing on Vincent Van Duysen—as his latest project, an art-ﬁlled urban loft in Antwerp, proves WRITER PALLAVI PUNDIR . PHOTOGRAPHER MARK SEELEN
Architect Vincent Van Duysen designed this apartment in Antwerp for a friend. The artwork is by American artist Wade Guyton. Facing page: Duysen stands in the living room, by a large Guyton artwork and a Pierre Jeanneret-designed lounge chair. 2/*
In the dining area, two artworks sit on either side of the custom-made Vincenzo De Cotiis table—one by John Chamberlain (right) and the other by Gavin Turk. The ‘Arrow’ pendant lamp is from Apparatus. 28,
Van Duysen paired the dining table with Pierre Jeanneret-designed ‘Chandigarh’ chairs. Facing page, top: The palette for the furniture in the living room complements the walls and ceiling; Van Duysen created the ceiling with strips of concrete. Facing page, bottom: A Piero Lissoni ‘Neowall’ sofa accompanies the lounge chairs. In the left corner, above the sofa, is a wall light from the Assemblage 3 collection by Faye Toogood.
Above left: Van Duysen added a ﬁreplace in a recess—seen behind the ‘Chandigarh’ chairs—and concealed the TV behind a recessed sliding panel in the wall above. Above right: The architect built a sideboard- like feature into the dining room wall. Right: Van Duysen’s chosen palette is maintained in each element— down to the handmade rug by Catherine Huyghe. Below: The bed was custom- made by Van Duysen; on either side are reading lamps from Viabizzuno. Left: The concrete of the public areas gives way to the timber planks used for the ceiling and walls of the private areas—including the bedroom and office. Facing page: The kitchen maintains the palette of the house; the ceramics on the shelves are by German ceramicist Gundula Sommerer. “The private rooms have a more intimate experience through the use of reclaimed timber planks for the ceiling and walls.” ~ Vincent Van Duysen 2/0
ver wonder what would happen if you stepped penthouse that of one open space, divided by functional blocks,” inside your favourite artwork? How would you negotiate he says. “This intensiﬁes the spaciousness and contributes to the every line, every splash of colour, every spatial separation between the public zone in the front and the private arrangement, even that slight perspectival illusion? Will its in the back,” says Van Duysen, adding, “The private rooms have self-containment overwhelm you, or its boundlessness entice a more intimate experience through the use of reclaimed timber you? Perhaps position your queries to Belgian architect Vincent planks for the ceiling and walls.” Van Duysen. In Antwerp, he has scaled up, literally, the abstract and sculptural approach of Belgian cubist Georges From the beginning of the design process, the width and Vantongerloo, a founding member of Dutch artistic group De rhythm of the timber planks and the concrete strips on the Stijl, the neoplasticism movement that advocated pure ceilings were imperative for the entire project. “This means that abstraction and universality by reducing the essentials of form all dimensions—of the walls, cupboards, and so on—were and colour. When you translate that into the modern penchant designed as multiples of the width of the timber planks used for for a dwelling that retains the rawness of construction, yet the creation of the ceiling,” he says. The cubist approach, in the encompasses a complete ﬁnish, you get an urban loft. Double meantime, shows through the semi-ﬁxed elements in the the impact with a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Scheldt penthouse: the kitchen island, central coffee table in the living river, and you get the ‘C Penthouse’. room, or the wooden blocks behind the bends with the slide-in television screen, to count a few instances. FUNCTION AS DESIGN CHASING THE IDEAL “When designing a private residence, I always seek a spacious In the middle of this theatre of spectacle, strongly informed by and serene atmosphere. Inspired by the view of the Scheldt river Vantongerloo’s geometrical and mathematical practice, is and the bluestone along the grey quayside, the project is the art and design on display. “This project is, for me, a arranged around the axis of its views and volumes, allowing each Gesamtkunstwerk of multiple artists who I admire,” he says. zone to take advantage of this spectacular location,” says Van Gesamtkunstwerk translates to ‘a total or an ideal work of art’, one Duysen. Known for his reﬁned palette and minimalist approach, that is all-embracing and comprehensive. The dining table, he as well as for being the creative director for Molteni&C and points out, is a specially altered piece by Vincenzo De Cotiis that Dada, the architect has textured his sensibilities with creates a pronounced presence with a set of Pierre Jeanneret Vantongerloo’s severe, singularly solid expressions. The owner, chairs. The natural stone bathtub was carved from a single piece who happens to be Van Duysen’s close friend, additionally of Italian stone (Pietra Piacentina) by a Belgian craftsman. wanted the space to resonate their love for abstract expressionist Works by international artists—such as Gavin Turk, Carl Andre, art. “This translated into the sculptural architectonic approach, Gerhard Richter, Jef Verheyen and Wade Guyton—are dotted within which the concept for the penthouse was shaped,” says around the house. Responding to the minimalist ethos are Van Duysen. The material selection, he continues, is a ﬁxtures like the Apparatus ‘Arrow’ pendant, which hangs above “manifestation of the grey tones of the Scheldt and its quayside, the dining table. The architect has his own design, a custom- as well as a reference to the Arte Povera movement, where made office table, at the penthouse too. driftwood, metal, earth and concrete were used”. There is an ease in the layout—a stillness that resonates with The sterile design brings forth a performance of intense a timeless appeal. Van Duysen, who is currently working on a visuals—extreme minimalism dominated by beautiful matt few private residences in the US, Portugal, France, Belgium and tones, sprinkled with burnt cement and dark wood. “The walls Italy, is also in the middle of planning a sequel to his 2010 and ﬂoor are ﬁnished with the same material and rendered with monograph Complete Works; it is slated to come out in autumn rigorous detail [to create] a sober, textural appearance,” says Van 2018. He has offices in London and Milan coming up, and his Duysen. All the “functional blocks”—the kitchen storage, collaboration with Molteni&C continues, as does his work on ﬁreplace, bathrooms, dressing room, toilets and so on—have new product and furniture designs for several brands in Europe been designed as closed volumes. “Most spaces are separated and the US. It’s in moments such as the C Penthouse that we only by sliding doors, which makes the experience of the observe some calm in the middle of his creative storm. 29'
The bathtub was carved from a single block of Pietra Piacentina stone; the ﬁttings—including the towel warmer on the left—are from Vola.
Vincent Van Duysen’s cool brand of Belgian minimalism is available in India too STYLIST SAMIR WADEKAR The living room offers expansive views of the Scheldt river—which inspired the layout and palette. PHOTO: MARK SEELEN ‘CLINTON’ ‘VVD O3073MUS’ CHAIR, `1,52,066, LIMESTONE AND OAK WISMA ATRIA JAR BY VINCENT VAN DUYSEN, `76,000, ‘ROYALE PLAY WALL2FLOOR’ WHEN OBJECTS WORK SURFACE FINISH BY ROYALE PLAY, FROM `300 PER SIDE TABLE, `26,500, SQUARE FOOT, ASIAN PAINTS COUNTRY VILLA
CARRARA WHITE Above the custom-made kitchen MARBLE, `880 PER island are three pendant lights SQUARE FOOT, from Apparatus; the ‘Spade’ A-CLASS MARBLE stools are by Faye Toogood. PHOTOGRAPHERS: ANSHUMAN SEN, INDRAJIT SATHE. ASSISTANT STYLISTS: KRITI VIJ, JEHANA ANTIA.‘KERMAN’‘CORK’ STOOL, PHOTO: MARK SEELENCUSHION, `2,000,`15,500, IDUS SHADES OF INDIA ‘CHANDIGARH’ ‘FÅRÖ’ RUG CHAIR BY PIERRE (4x6 FEET) `8,000, JEANNERET, PRICE MYDESIHOUSE.COM ON REQUEST, TAHERALLY’S ‘CASTING’ LAMP BY VINCENT VAN DUYSEN FOR FLOS, PRICE ON REQUEST, FIREFLY For details, see Stockists
Marie-Anne Oudejans is Jaipur’s newly minted tastemaker—and her hotel apartment is one deliriously lovely reason why WRITER DANA THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHER FRANÇOIS HALARD STYLIST CARLOS MOTA Canopied daybeds soar at decorator Marie-Anne Oudejans’s suite in Jaipur’s Hotel Narain Niwas Palace. The lanterns and Anglo-Indian-style sofas are custom-made; the paintings are by French designer Thierry Journo, who runs Idli, a fashion and art boutique in the city. 29,
The sultan portaits in the bedroom are by artist Vikas Soni, who also painted the walls and ceiling. Facing page: The kitchen walls and ceiling were painted by Soni; Oudejans reupholstered the existing seats with fabric from Surabhi Exports, a local studio.
Aedo, Oudejans’s Border collie, rests in the stencilled dressing room. Facing page, top: Oudejans’s bedroom—she dressed the bed in custom-made fabrics. Facing page, bottom right: Potted plants shield the entrance to the designer’s veranda. Facing page, bottom left: Oudejans designed the console below the 18th-century mirror.
Oudejans relaxes on the veranda in a tented daybed that she designed. The Gitto-fabric tablecloth is from Bar Palladio Jaipur’s homeware line.