Villa in the Sky

Better Interiors|April 2020

Villa in the Sky
Surat-based Studio Lagom and its founder Hardik Shah leverage the power of space-making to make a penthouse apartment in congested suburban Mumbai appear like a villa filled with light and greenery.
RUPALI SEBASTIAN
Luxury of space is a privilege not many can claim in the city of Mumbai. The owners of this duplex penthouse, however, are among the fortunate few who enjoy that blessing. The project came to Studio Lagom through previous association with the client, and was actually a corollary of redeveloping the building — a task entrusted to the Surat-based design firm — that houses the penthouse. For architect Hardik Shah, principal, Studio Lagom, this meant greater control on the interior programme of the duplex apartment, as several aspects — such as the presence or absence of walls — could be handled at the planning stage itself. “In that sense,” he says, “the project became one involving interior architecture rather than interior design.”

The brief from the client resonated with Studio Lagom’s predilection for creating spaces that were connected to nature, open to nature and exhibited a clean look rendered using minimal materials. The additional requirements — and emphatic ones at that — were a sense of being in a villa and not an apartment and plenty of storage. “So while we were developing the design, the constant thing at the back of our minds was the fact that it could not appear, at any cost, like a flat,” states Hardik. “And the challenge mainly revolved around fulfilling the storage requirements in a streamlined, unobtrusive fashion.

The spatial programme was driven by the owners’ wish for all the primary areas being located on the first level, with the second level being devoted to the entertainment zone/ guest space and the terrace. Ergo, the lower level houses the living-dining, kitchen and three bedrooms used by the family of four; while the upper storey has the library, guest room (with attached sauna/steam), gym and the terrace garden. Simply put, the home is actually two apartments — almost independent of each other — tied by a vertical connection. “This way, guests and family enjoy a certain independence and don’t impinge on each other’s schedules… the daily household routines can continue downstairs without disturbing visitors.”

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April 2020