Curating outdoor spaces using personalities
Monica Jain takes us through the journey of curating outdoor space in your homes
I must admit at the very outset that I’m a very visual person. Being predominantly right-brained, when I look at a space, I conjure up images of how to transform it. It happens automatically; I literally cannot help it. The image appears as a diaphanous screen before my eyes and from the virtual to the real, it is a pretty exciting journey.
Talking of gardens, look into any Dilliwale ka home, you will most definitely find a green patch - an outdoor space, which could be a beautiful terrace garden, or acres of greens in a typical Delhi farmhouse. Delhi isn’t just a city of public gardens, its a city where every resident creates his own private one. A natural consequence of a love for gardens is a beautification that goes beyond flowers and foliage. Art is the new way to create stunning outdoor spaces.
It depends on your philosophy, what you believe in and then finding a way to give it an expression. An outdoor space is as much a reflection of your personality; So, if you are secretive and like to reveal slowly, or are just who is looking for a quiet, then styling outdoors is a great way to achieve it.
The Grand Entrance
The key to making that first great impression is of course, une entrée grande. Duh. Let’s start with something more subtle and beautiful that is a harbinger of things to come. A pair of very elegant, white marble columns I sourced recently from a French villa down south. Stylistically, the capital atop the base and pillar is Corinthian. The way the bright, yellow sunlight dances upon them heightening their grace and beauty is sheer joy to behold!
I’m constantly asked how I have the energy to keep doing this! My answer though, is always the same - why should the outdoors be permanent when our moods aren’t?” - Monica
There is so much one can do to a garden that getting to the centrepiece will still take time. If you’re driving or walking in, a cobbled, circular drop off with a sculpture installed asymmetrically makes for a very interesting piece. Featured here, is a black granite sculpture by a young Indian artist, Bhola Kumar. It symbolises the wheel of dhamma, the Buddhist philosophy of setting the wheel of law in motion, literally a pathway to ultimate knowledge. So apt, n’est pas?
Points of Interest
Secrets that reveal themselves down winding paths and amidst the foliage help create conversations within nature. I was talking about a sculpture around that theme, but live art is also a possibility! I recently discovered the temporal works of a very young artist Manisha Chandel. Made of dried peepal leaves, she shapes them into portrait busts and very sensitive compositions of perched and pecking birds! Enamelled flowers in metal by the senior enamelist Veenu Shah come alive beautifully along pathways. Terracotta fired to the strength of stoneware within a natural environment. I find the works of Adil Writer exceptionally beautiful and so apt for these spaces. He has been working for some two decades now and what comes out of his studio is truly remarkable.
So, what will you give the pride of place? Shall we call this a conundrum? For now my favourite work of art is the Nirakara Buddha by the senior artist Bhagwan Rampure. His work epitomises his artistic vision and mastery over the sculpted form. The hollow space of the Nirakara or ‘formless’ work symbolises the dissolution of the physical form or ‘akara’.
Move over metal screens (been done ad infinitum! ) as art is there to save us! This time a very talented artist, Rahul Modak created a curtain of terracotta leaves for my space. It demonstrates the oneness of the human psyche with that of the universal mind of the cosmos, which is interrelated with the bonding called ‘love’. It looks so delicate; each terracotta hand-moulded leaf is actually as thin as a real one, but the work has been installed outdoors for months braving the extreme weather of Delhi.
The Quintessential Waterbody
Through ages, across trends and designs we’ve loved it, but its such a nightmare to maintain with the dust, rains and shedding
They say, its not daylight, but night that reveals true personality. So true of the outdoor spaces of your home! The real test and the high point of any outdoor space is how its lit up, and above all, what is lit up. Dwitiya, the light cube by Design Matrix featured here is composed of mirrored acrylic and metal, which has been specially sourced from USA. Science, lighting and art come together seamlessly to create pure magic. What you see when you look into it is like seeing a multi-dimensional world, and is intended as a representative of the duality of our existence. Inspired by the modern aesthetic of ancient artefacts or ultramodern design elements, step out to create something new ones again! And enough said. All of this month, before I disappear for my summer holidays, drop in for a coffee or wine for a personal walkthrough of the outdoor art space to see these works for yourself. Au Revoir.
leaves. Look at Lotus Sutra by Dinesh Singh made of copper, steel and bronze. The metal reflects the sky above, but at that level it resembles water from which these water lilies seem to emerge. His works are painstakingly created with thin, hand-moulded and fired strips of metal that are welded together and each hand cast water lily is then individually welded for the final sculpture.