While designing homes in India, the terms “traditional” and “modern” have largely not gone hand-in-hand. Practicing architects have the challenging responsibility to design contemporary spaces, which physically represent the inherent characteristics of Indian culture: colourful, diverse, religious, rich, traditional and vibrant. However, Sajith and Vivek Architects have completed an eye-catching home in Chennai based on a transitional-style of design called ‘modern-traditional,’ which celebrates the perfect blend of the old and the new.
The design of this residence has a modern layout dotted with ethnic finds, furniture and prints, which stems from the client’s love for his roots, mixed with his aspirations to live in a chic contemporary space. Realizing early on that his home needs the appropriate expertise in lighting design to highlight all these modern-traditional elements that represent his roots and aspirations, the design-savvy client appointed Lighting Research and Design.
The home has a subdued front facade defined by deep overhangs; stone cladding, wooden ceiling and sliding windows combine for an appealing exterior. Linear lines of warm light seamlessly integrated in line with the wooden slats of the overhangs provide a definite nighttime character to the façade while providing appropriate general illumination. Care has been taken to minimise light trespass into neighbouring properties as well as reduce sky glow.
Anyone who steps inside the residence are greeted by a continuous flow of social areas such as the statue of sleeping Ganesha (Elephant God) by the fishpond at the entrance highlighted with an adjustable spotlight. The golden lotus engravings on the wall behind the statue are complemented by the soft ‘eclipse-style’ illumination provided by the wall-mounted luminaires on the adjacent boundary wall.
The entrance garden itself uses elements such as colour (depicting vibrancy and diversity), pattern (depicting art and culture), design components (depicting traditions and religions), and geometry (depicting rich history).
Sophisticated furnishings accentuate a neutral palette of muted grey and beige tones. Warm wood, contemporary décor, and a variety of modern and traditional luminaires can be found throughout the interiors. The lobby lounge is an unusual union of two diversely different styles brought together with the use of bold colours.
Dark wood dominates the base furniture and the modern sectional of brightly coloured seats takes up major space. To inject just a hint of the Indian traditional is the painting of a traditional wedding highlighted using an adjustable spotlight.
All things are bright and beautiful inside this large living cum dining room. Table lamps that lend an old, historical feel to the room complement the modern sofas and decorative gold-reflection-based downlights. The space’s design merges clean lines, muted colours and traditional motifs: modern dining table and chairs stand out on the polished flooring; an ethnic painting takes over the wall behind the dining table.
While the furniture, flooring and layout of the dining space speak volumes about contemporary design, the intricately carved wooden entrance to the pooja room, accentuated with ethnic motifs, points to a traditional look. Large decorative gold-reflection-based downlights providing soft diffuse illumination add to the modern-traditional character of this space.
The television lounge has several dominating and a few subtle details, all of which combine to create a modern yet traditional scape. The sofa and the modish ceiling luminaire are set against the dark wood panelling and backlit onyx of the television wall. The sleek staircase points to a more modern approach in design while the use of wood give the home an earthy appeal.
Finally, one cannot ignore the Indian classical painting in the foreground that seals tradition inside the fusion interior. The bird-shaped decorative wall luminaires set against a modern staircase design visually ‘sing’ of Indian traditions.
The bar cum home theatre is the pinnacle of this modern-traditional design. The fully reclining sofas, pouffes, tables coupled with the dark ceiling and flooring imbues the space with a modern, quirky vibe. Bringing a slice of the traditional, however, is the ethnic printed red and blue acoustic walls with LED strips seamlessly integrated into the pleats to create a stark effect.
The backlit mother of pearl bar counter adds richness to the space while decorative bubble pendants add a definitive modern character. Fibre-optic starry sky and colour-changing downlights further enhance the movie watching experience in this personal home theatre.
A large terrace with a tensile roof offers opportunities for spending time outdoors while an unjal (swing) takes the client back to his grandparents’ home in the hills. This swing adds bit of throwback character to the modern space with dark geometric patterned flooring, where two contrasting styles balance and harmonise. The textured wall displaying intricate traditional carving is highlighted using similar lines of light used in the other overhangs of the façade.
A sophisticated DALI-based lighting control system for the entire home enables selection of different lighting scenes based on the desired activity. A marriage of the modern and the traditional is clearly visible in this home, which is a melange of transitional styles.
AUTHOR: Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar, Founder & Principal, Lighting Research & Design
PHOTOGRAPHS: Gowtham Raj
Client – Sathya Kumar
Architecture – Sajith & Vivek Architects
Lighting design – Lighting Research & Design
Luminaire supply & installation support – Gojis Lifestyle
Automation – Gadgeon