A Mumbai apartment by MuseLAB uses muted hues to exude Scandinavian charm

Mumbai-based MuseLAB designs Nordic-inspired apartment for a family of four, with ample daylight, soft colours, light wood, minimal designs and a special element - keyhole arches.

by STIRworld Published on : Feb 10, 2020

Scandinavian designs are known for their simplicity, utility, and beauty. Being a huge commodity in Nordic countries, the style maximises on natural daylight while enhancing clean lines, craftsmanship, elegance with a focus on simplicity, neutral colours and warm textiles – all with a clean white background.

One such house reflecting the Nordic beauty has been designed by Mumbai-based architecture firm MuseLAB, led by architects Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani. The layout provides bright, colourful and refreshing feel to the apartment, called ‘Through the Keyhole Arches'. MuseLAB’s creative eccentricity lies in its attempt to play with colour while enabling easy transition from one space to another. This project allowed the designers to explore the sensibility of a Scandinavian setting to create transitionary spaces while creating a cozy and comfortable adobe.

From the flooring pattern to the wall finishes and carpentry, the design creates a modern and minimalist appearance, further accentuating the premise of the Nordic style. The designers used two primary binding characters - a subtle consistent palette of colours and materials - throughout the apartment.

  • The project has been conceptualised in the Nordic Style |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The project has been conceptualised in the Nordic StyleImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  •  The living space (concept) |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The living space (concept) Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

Home to a young couple with two children in suburban Mumbai, the project was conceptualised to give a complete makeover to an existing three-bedroom apartment. The furniture was planned to complement the interior’s soft and feminine appeal. The floor was carpeted, while the walls white-washed to complement the subtle hues of birch and beech wood. In tandem with Scandinavian designs, veneer and laminates were treated with touches of sunshine yellow, shades of blue and blush pink.

  • Detailing of wardrobe handles in the master bedroom |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Detailing of wardrobe handles in the master bedroomImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • Most of the walls of the house were rebuilt |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Most of the walls of the house were rebuilt Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

Jasem Pirani, one of the principal architects of the firm, describes the nature of the spaces in the project, “The dining space becomes the central social space of the house. It was deliberately kept open to double up as a transitional area and was designed to allow for eye contact with the living room, kitchen and the three bedrooms. It has been bookended by two asymmetrical keyhole arches.”

A unique element imbibed by the designers is the use of keyhole arches instead of rectangular door frames. These arches that are slightly offset not only help shield the private spaces from direct view from the entrance, but also let one peep into the ancillary spaces without being intrusive. The space, thus, becomes functional, airy, secluded and yet composed.

 The keyhole arches open up the space while retaining privacy |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
The keyhole arches open up the space while retaining privacy Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

“The dining could not be enclosed completely, but at the same time could not be kept devoid of privacy. It needed to have a sense of comfort and the feeling of a cozy nook,” mentions Huzefa Rangwala, one of the principal designers of the firm. “To ensure that the design maintained a balance between aesthetics and functionality, the space was choreographed with clean lines to make it absolutely clutter-free,” adds Rangwala.

  • Concept for the dining space and kitchen|Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Concept for the dining space and kitchen Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • The ‘green’ open kitchen that allows eye contact with the dining space |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The ‘green’ open kitchen that allows eye contact with the dining space Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • Layout Plan |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Layout PlanImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

As in most Nordic designs, the aspect of accentuating the natural light has been harnessed through the openings. Daylight has been used as a driving element as it further enhances the materials and the surfaces. For the artificial lighting, a DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) automation system has been used that allows each inhabitant of the house to control the lighting temperature based on the task and use of the space.

  •  The design is infused with ample natural light| Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The design is infused with ample natural lightImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • The master bedroom equipped with DALI |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The master bedroom equipped with DALI Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • The furniture is minimalist and carefully planned  |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The furniture is minimalist and carefully planned Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • The bedroom for the couple’s daughter |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    The bedroom for the couple’s daughter Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

Innovative ways have been incorporated to adapt to the storage requirements and provide appropriately styled closets. Along one wall of the living room, a set of asymmetrical units have been lined up to provide a solution for shoe storage, old newspapers and other knick-knacks. A lower unit serves as a bin for athletic kits for the children. These techniques ensured that the storage appears visually airy.

Asymmetrical fragmented storage units in the living room| Through the Keyhole Arches | MuseLAB | STIRworld
Asymmetrical fragmented storage units in the living roomImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

While most of the materials for the project have been procured from the city itself, the architects chose to use Topcer porcelain tiles for the bathrooms, specially imported from Portugal.

  •  Bathroom in the master bedroom| Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Bathroom in the master bedroomImage Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • Bathroom in the son’s bedroom |Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Bathroom in the son’s bedroom Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB
  • Bathroom in the daughter’s bedroom|Through the Keyhole Arches |MuseLAB| STIRworld
    Bathroom in the daughter’s bedroom Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

‘Through the Keyhole Arches’ not only exhibits artistic creativity combined with contemporary style but also caters to the client’s need to have a modern and minimal space. MuseLAB, in sync with the firm’s design approach, once again explores an unconventional element such as the keyhole arches, in its bid to revolutionize the urban living.

Bedroom for the couple’s son | Through the Keyhole Arches | MuseLAB | STIRworld
Bedroom for the couple’s son Image Credit: Courtesy of MuseLAB

Project Details

Name of the project: Through the Keyhole Arches
Location: Mumbai
Area: 1230sq ft.
Architect: Muselab
Design team: Huzefa Rangwala, Jasem Pirani and Smruti Valegaonkar

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