by Jincy IypeJun 19, 2020
Living Walls is a studio penthouse in Bengaluru, India that combines plenty of comfort in its softly textural setting. When approaching the design of this 371 sqm residence, Treelight Design followed its philosophy of eliciting a 'creative reaction to an interesting stimulus'. “The idea behind Living Walls was to evoke the senses,” shares the design team, who aimed to design a dwelling with a monochromatic yet rich textural palette, where each room glorifies a different 19th and 20th century artist via paintings and sculptures.
Treelight Design shares that Living Walls is made of individualistic spaces and elements - an MC Escher inspired staircase, Franz Kline’s abstract work emulated within the textural lines of the sunlit dining room, Piet Mondrian’s geometry influencing an accented bedroom wall, and Jackson Pollock’s infamous coloured strokes resurge within the accents and decor.
Located on the 17th floor of a high-rise, Living Walls is oriented to capture views and the natural light the apartment receives – although initially, its layout did not allow this completely. “Our discussions with the client were to create an open flow and bring in seamless integration towards the outdoor. We made structural changes that would optimise these stellar views,” shares Amitha Madan, principal architect of the Bengaluru-based studio. These included relocating the staircase as it was blocking the main connect between the indoor and outdoor space, along with bringing down a wall to create a more expansive living room.
The largely monochromatic interior design (cement flooring and concrete walls) is provided pops of colour through thoughtfully designed furniture pieces by Magari, which have been placed in an interestingly disorderly fashion (far from a conventional, parallel arrangement), along with artworks, sculptures and other decor elements. “We wanted to approach Living Walls with a very retro feel in mind and have pieces around the space which are sculptural in nature,” says Madan.
The ground floor comprises the entrance, living room, kitchen, and guest bedroom, while the floor above houses a master bedroom, another guest bedroom and an informal lounge space.
The concrete staircase in the living room has a form finished, raw feel with stainless steel wires as railing, which are fixed to the ceiling. A double height, narrow mirror greets one at the landing above. Various angles and ambiguously aligned furniture define the double height living room, where the focus is the “edible”, mustard yellow sofa inspired by the iconic Camaleonda by Bellini. This is flanked by three angular mirror discs that also double up as lighting.
There are two dining rooms that were designed to offer diverse experiences – the first one has a low, monolithic stone dining table and grounded Aayutha and Kelir chairs from Magari in a large double height space. This is met with a cane installation as its background, inspired by Franz Kline’s famous abstract strokes. The piece’s natural hues of wood and cane accentuate the evening sun’s crimson rays that filter in, creating a cosy setting. “This, set against the solidness of the grounded stone table and solid wood dining chairs creates a balance to reckon with. In fact, the whole house has different zones that experience the movement of the sun at different times in the day as it moves from east to west,” explains Madan.
The second dining area has a pool table that can be converted into a dining one when required, with a compact timber bar cabinet to its front and a bespoke 300 kg wooden Moai sculpture by Art Lab Chennai sitting at the back. The kitchen follows the almost bare, minimal language of the rest of the residential design, and is given subtle dimension via beveled mirror paneling on its main wall. The balcony has been enclosed with a double height glazing that creates an intimate dining experience.
One steps into a comfortable lounge area with wooden tiled flooring on the floor above, where low seaters are accompanied by a massive hand-painted ceiling art piece inspired by Pollock. “Again, here the furniture was made to feel more grounded in height to offer a relaxed setting,” explains Treelight Design. An L-shaped, patterned blue sofa faces a wooden coffee table with black studs, which sits on top of an earth-colored rug.
The master bedroom has a large, floor-to-ceiling window that spans an entire wall, with views to the city’s skyline. A Mondrian style, fabric cladded accent wall dresses the room where a solid, wooden bed with attached side tables looks toward the vast window, while a patterned Jaipur Rugs carpet sits at the foot of it. The other bedroom imbibes a whimsical feel, where a hand done mural claims a wall and the ceiling, with muted curtains and a sofa-bed rendered in a soft, pastel palette.
“The entire penthouse felt like a large real-life canvas to create various spaces. Most of the elements in the house were created and designed to create conversation, enjoy the views, and experience stunning sunrises and sunsets. This was mainly driven by the fact that the owners are a young couple who love to entertain and socialise with their large group of friends and family. It acts like a weekend home in the city that they could use to relax, rejuvenate and make great memories,” says Madan.