n converting a 1978 Kolkata house to her own design studio, architect monica Khosla Bhargava and her team at KHam Consultants expresses the essence of holistic, sustainable design through the preservation of existing urban fabric. The project is not just about reutilizing or retrofitting the old structure; it’s the design of new, more efficient, installations with the objectives of optimizing energy, flexibility of space planning, use of environment-friendly materials and construction techniques.
The three storeyed Ballygunge bungalow with a constructed area of 2,500 sq. ft. had embodied the trends of south Kolkata architecture in the seventies. The building has undergone alterations over the years. When Monica Khosla Bhargava got the property, it was in a pretty mutilated state. Monica’s passion for Kolkata’s unique architectural heritage, motivated her to retain the local Kolkata heritage intact even as she went about renovating the property to create her dream design office.
she has retained the existing sunshades and the original teak casement windows. The earlier occupants had replaced five of these windows with aluminium sliders. Monica found this jarring with the character of the space and she again replaced these five aluminium sliders with the original teak wood windows. Monica is an ardent supporter of sustainable design and her design is characterised by natural eco-friendly materials. Wood is her favourite material and she was only to keen to restore the old teak wood window look.
Monika loves the open airy look with spacious feel and plenty of light. She found that the interiors originally did not have the ample natural sunlight she loves. She says, “We removed the grilles and the internal partitions and some walls, thus opening up the space to let in an abundance of natural light indoors.” The two rooms on the ground floor were unified to create a 500 sq. ft. office reception and conference space. Separating the two spaces is the terracotta coloured logo of the firm, mounted on teak wood slats. The indoor space has a contemporary design fashioned out of concrete-wood-glass.