Sign of the Times

Spa­ces that are con­tex­tual but at the same time sus­tain­able are giv­ing a new face to the world of ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior de­sign. Ar­chi­tect SAN­JAY PURI tells us how things have changed and what’s more in store.

India Today - - HOME - The writer is founder of San­jay Puri Ar­chi­tects, a Mum­bai-based ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign firm

Ar­chi­tec­ture is the only form of art that af­fects hu­man be­hav­iour both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally in a num­ber of ways. How we ap­proach our homes, of­fices, schools and en­ter­tain­ment spa­ces, what we see when we are in­side them, what we look out to­wards, how we move within them and how we per­ceive all these spa­ces are all gov­erned by their ar­chi­tec­tural and in­te­rior de­sign. We all know that the process of mak­ing an in­hab­it­able sculp­ture be­gins when two bricks are put to­gether and when form fol­lows func­tion. As Pritzker Prize-win­ning star­chi­tect Frank Gehry has said, “Ar­chi­tec­ture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for time­less­ness.” So, in or­der to evoke a re­sponse, it has to cross bound­aries and cre­ate new spa­ces and spa­tial re­la­tion­ships. Take the case of Aman Sveti Ste­fan Re­sort lo­cated in the

cen­tre of Montenegro’s Adri­atic coast­line. A 600-yearold vil­lage on a small hill sur­rounded by sea and linked to the main­land by a 100-me­tre pedes­trian walk­way and no ve­hic­u­lar ac­cess, it is ideal for ex­plor­ing the Montenegro’s sun, sand and sea and take in cen­turies of his­tory on the peace­ful Adri­atic Sea. The beau­ti­ful old vil­lage which also has small ex­ist­ing churches within it with a pi­azza at its high­est point has un­re­stricted views of the sea on all sides. Each of the 30 rooms and suites were ex­ist­ing houses that have been re­stored with min­i­mal in­ter­ven­tion, with each one be­ing dif­fer­ent in size and scale. Ex­ud­ing a rus­tic charm, the or­ganic spa­ces cre­ated within its struc­tures linked by stone path­ways, which vary in spa­tial con­fig­u­ra­tion in each part makes the lux­ury re­sort a dis­cov­ery ev­ery time you walk through it.

Closer home, Ra­jasthan in In­dia of­fers sev­eral her­itage ho­tels such as the Samode Palace in Jaipur and Ro­het Garh, Jodh­pur which are an­ces­tral prop­er­ties con­verted to ho­tels. These too are a few 100 years old al­low­ing one to ex­pe­ri­ence his­tory and revel in the crafts­man­ship of its in­tri­cate ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail­ing and spa­tial con­fig­u­ra­tions while be­ing pam­pered by their ef­fu­sive tra­di­tional hos­pi­tal­ity. There are these ho­tels that trans­port you back in time mak­ing your stay mem­o­rable in myr­iad ways.

This of course is one end of the spec­trum. At the other end, there are new ho­tels be­ing de­signed across the world where the sheer mag­ni­tude of fa­cil­i­ties and their size makes one want to ex­pe­ri­ence them. The Ma­rina Bay Sands in Sin­ga­pore is one such ho­tel. Who would have thought of mak­ing a 100-me­tre long pool sus­pended over 500 ft up in the sky. This one fac­tor along with the ex­pe­ri­ence of swim­ming in the pool above the en­tire Sin­ga­pore sky­line makes it worth­while to ex­pe­ri­ence the ho­tel. The credit for its de­sign that is so unique goes to ar­chi­tect Moshe Safdie as well as the de­vel­oper who had the fore­sight to al­low such a de­sign to be re­alised.

De­sign of hos­pi­tal­ity spa­ces are chang­ing much more rad­i­cally than the de­sign of other build­ing types and these trends are be­ing wit­nessed world­wide. Not only in terms of de­sign but also in terms of fa­cil­i­ties, ho­tels are evolv­ing con­stantly. Land­scaped ar­eas are be­ing in­ter­wo­ven with built spa­ces merg­ing seam­lessly and au­to­ma­tion is be­ing used to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion. Bath­rooms are also be­ing en­closed in glass to cre­ate open­ness.

That the world of in­te­rior de­sign is fast chang­ing is also vis­i­ble from the cut­ting edge ma­te­ri­als and tech­nol­ogy be­ing used, new ideas be­ing given shape and oddly-shaped struc­tures com­ing up ev­ery now and then. For in­stance, one of the newer ho­tels in Barcelona is a red-coloured un­du­lat­ing cylin­der, one in Mi­lan has a pink-hued lobby while an­other one is be­ing built un­der the sea in Dubai. Then there are a few com­ing up in In­dia—in Luc­know, Jamshedpur, Pune and Coorg and Delhi—which tran­scend the stereo­type ho­tel to cre­ate new ex­pe­ri­ences for their even­tual users. If in Luc­know, the de­sign is in­spired by origami with an or­ganic flow of spa­ces within and Luc­knowi

chikan em­broi­dery mo­tifs im­bibed in the in­te­ri­ors, in Jamshedpur, ev­ery part of the ho­tel opens into large land­scaped spa­ces el­e­vated to dif­fer­ent lev­els. In Coorg, the Hill­side Re­treat 405 ho­tel is con­structed from bam­boo and stone mak­ing it eco-friendly.

Hill­side Re­treat 405 re­sort in Coorg is made from ma­te­ri­als like bam­boo and stone

Bath­rooms are mak­ing use of lots of glass to ex­ude an air of open­ness (above); this ho­tel in Dubai is built un­der the sea (be­low)

Stun­ning view of the Samode Palace, Ra­jasthan which rev­els in its ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails

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