The Organic House is a 700 sqft apartment designed for a young couple by The White Room, a design studio established in 2006 and led by architects Disney Davis and Nitin Bharchha. The project is located in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai and as the name suggests, is unique for its ‘organic’ quality of fluid design.
When asked about the basic principles that the firm follows and further reflects in their work, the designers explained, “We as a firm are continuously exploring the fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials. We are essentially modernist and our architecture does not attempt to offer any Utopian prescriptions, rather it is a reminder that architecture has always been bare of any applied ornament, and confusion.”
The initial approach was to design a house for the couple with a free flowing and natural design, with the spaces sculpted in a way that they merge and entangle with each other in a way that one waits to discover where an element ends and where the other begins. The concept remained the same throughout the design process but with each space conceived on site, the design evolved with its function giving a new dimension and direction and spontaneously discovering new avenues and possibilities.
Discussing the process of design, the duo described, “To us, the way in which a wall meets a floor, or whether a door fits into a wall, flush or proud, are not mere details, but reflect fundamental questions. They are as much architecture as the planning of a sequence of rooms in a gallery, or the composition of a façade. For us, architectural reduction is a process that takes you through a mirror. You emerge out on the other side in that mirror world to discover richness in the subtle differences between five shades of white, and the sense of release that comes from allowing a wall to flow in space unencumbered by visual distractions.”
This studio apartment is a composition of twin long vaults, one housing the living space and the other the master suite. These spaces are connected to each other through smaller vaults and arched openings create a cave-like atmosphere with a modern feel. The spaces flow seamlessly into each other, creating an integrated whole and providing the feel of a sculpted Greek cavern.
An intriguing element in the design is the vaults in the ceiling that offer an edge of newness and innovation to anyone who visits or uses the space. The vaulted design with the arched openings carve out spaces for the kitchen, bedroom and the bathrooms. As one enters the house, they first arrive into the living space, and from there one can see the open kitchen and the guest room. The guest room has been designed as a part of the living space, which can be separated by a folding screen as and when required. It can also be made part of the living room during the day for more light and ventilation. Further, the master bedroom with an attached bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe explore the same language with a continuity in spaces.
Apart from the project innovating in its fluid nature of design, it also experiments with organic forms and curves, by constructing extremely thin shells in ferro cement and using varied finishes and textures. The ferro cement has been used to create the vaults, domes, arches, wardrobes, seating options, tables, and sinks too. When asked about the use of this form and material and if they would like to change anything, the architects said, “We love the versatile use of this material. We love the house the way it is, the clients love it and cherish being in the space and feel one with it.”
The house has been updated with state-of-the-art automation for mood-lighting, projector screen, blinds, security and cooling systems - these have been seamlessly integrated into the design. The all white and turquoise look add to the inimitable scheme and distinctive vibe of the interiors.
"We consider architecture, of all the arts, as the one that most depends for its expressive power on rubbing up against the gritty constraints of everyday life. And we are more than keen on exploration of the physical qualities of materials," concluded the architects.
Name of the Project: Organic House
Location: Bandra, Mumbai, India
Site Area:700 sqft
Architect: White Room design studio
Principal architects: Nitin Bharchha and Disney Davis