Cos­mic In­ter­ven­tion

A home in har­mony with na­ture and the fam­ily’s way of life

Singapore Tatler Homes - - SANCTUARIES -

The Man­dala House is built on two plots of amal­ga­mated land in an ex­clu­sive residential en­clave in Ban­ga­lore, In­dia. Com­pris­ing three storeys with seven bed­rooms, it was orig­i­nally de­signed for the home­owner (who runs a suc­cess­ful fam­ily busi­ness in the build­ing ma­te­ri­als trade), his wife and three chil­dren. Af­ter com­ple­tion, the home­owner’s el­derly par­ents, as well as two of his broth­ers and their fam­i­lies, moved in and turned the abode into a multi­gen­er­a­tional home.

MOD­ERN HAR­MONY

As the fam­ily wanted a home to re­flect their roots and tra­di­tions with a mod­ern de­sign, ar­chi­tect Wong Chiu Man, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of WOW Ar­chi­tects | Warner Wong De­sign, looked to the an­cient In­dian ar­chi­tec­tural sys­tem of vastu shas­tra for in­spi­ra­tion. Lit­er­ally trans­lated as “the sci­ence of ar­chi­tec­ture”, the prin­ci­ples of vastu shas­tra can be ap­plied to de­sign, lay­out, measurements, ground prepa­ra­tion and spa­tial ge­om­e­try. It in­cor­po­rates tra­di­tional Hindu and, in some cases, Bud­dhist be­liefs, and is in­tended to har­monise man-made ar­chi­tec­ture with na­ture. This doc­trine is based on di­rec­tional align­ments or­gan­ised around the nine-square man­dala, which forms the con­cep­tual frame­work for the de­sign of this home. The plan is gen­er­ated from the man­dala’s nine-square grid, which is then ex­trap­o­lated three storeys up, re­sult­ing in a mass­ing that con­sists of 27 cubes. “Us­ing this as a start­ing point, some of these mod­ules are carved out as voids to ar­tic­u­late the spa­tial re­la­tion­ships within the home,” ex­plains Wong.

One such re­la­tion­ship is ev­i­dent on the first storey, where the spa­ces are ar­ranged around and com­pletely open to a cen­tral void, which is the gar­den court­yard. The en­trance foyer is de­signed ac­cord­ing to vastu shas­tra ori­en­ta­tions as well. “As it es­tab­lishes a first im­pres­sion for the home, the en­trance foyer had to be im­pres­sive, but not overly grand,” says Wong.

CON­NECT­ING WITH NA­TURE

The liv­ing room is the main for­mal en­ter­tain­ment area and was de­signed in re­la­tion to the sur­round­ing gar­den and pool. The lofty space has full-height glass pan­els on two sides that open out to the pool. Ban­ga­lore’s mild weather makes it pos­si­ble for these full-height slid­ing doors to re­main open through­out the day, main­tain­ing a strong, di­rect con­nec­tion between the home’s in­doors and out­doors. The way the turquoise pool wraps around the front and side of the liv­ing room im­bues it with the qual­ity of a float­ing pavil­ion. Strik­ing a bal­anced har­mony with­out steal­ing the lime­light from the sur­round­ings, the in­te­rior of the liv­ing room is fur­nished mod­estly with Minotti so­fas and chairs, a be­spoke rug de­signed by WOW and hand-tufted by Tai Ping Car­pets, and a cus­tom-made chan­de­lier by Wind­fall that re­sem­bles a canopy of twin­kling stars. The din­ing room is a long com­mu­nal space that frames ex­ter­nal views of the court­yard. De­signed in the style of an open ter­race, it turns the fo­cus to­wards the pool and gar­dens, just like the liv­ing area. The space is an­chored by a for­mal 12-seat din­ing ta­ble de­signed by WOW and crafted by Po­liform, and a Wind­fall chan­de­lier that looks like a bou­quet of flow­ers to com­ple­ment the gar­den theme.

As seen in this home, the an­cient In­dian ar­chi­tec­tural sys­tem of vastu shas­tra is in­tended to har­monise man-made ar­chi­tec­ture with na­ture

The open­ness of the de­sign re­lates to the In­dian com­mu­nal way of life, where the ex­tended fam­ily is sup­ported and in­cluded in the home­owner’s daily life and ri­tu­als

WAY OF LIFE

The open­ness of the de­sign stems from cul­tural in­flu­ences. “It re­lates to the In­dian com­mu­nal way of life, where the ex­tended fam­ily is sup­ported and in­cluded in the home­owner’s daily life and ri­tu­als,” ex­plains Wong. There is also a clear hi­er­ar­chy between dif­fer­ent lev­els within the home, he elab­o­rates. “The first storey is a more pub­lic zone that re­volves around the cer­e­monies of In­dian cul­ture. As we move higher up, the spa­ces be­come more en­closed and pri­vate to cater to the ex­clu­sive use of the im­me­di­ate fam­ily.” The fam­ily lounge, for in­stance, is lo­cated on the sec­ond storey and was de­signed as a ca­sual space for the fam­ily to re­lax and en­joy some en­ter­tain­ment in the evenings. It is el­e­vated above the din­ing room and was con­ceived as a court­yard in the sky. The Flex­form fur­ni­ture, cus­tom mill­works and cab­i­netry de­signed by WOW and fab­ri­cated by Po­liform, and the rug by Tai Ping Car­pets all com­ple­ment the un­der­stated el­e­gance of the fam­ily lounge. The down­ward-spi­ralling form of the Wind­fall chan­de­lier fur­ther ac­cen­tu­ates the ver­ti­cal­ity of this dou­ble-vol­ume space

and takes its cue from the spi­ral stair­case fea­ture of the home. De­signed as a sculp­tural el­e­ment, the spi­ral stair­case is pur­pose­fully sus­pended above a re­flec­tive pool. It me­an­ders up to­wards a sky­light, con­nect­ing the var­i­ous lev­els of the home through an en­closed atrium court­yard. WOW’S scope of works in­cluded ar­chi­tec­ture, and in­te­rior and land­scape de­sign—and the project re­flects the firm’s com­mit­ment to de­sign­ing with cul­tural mem­ory and place in mind. Ma­te­ri­al­ity was also an im­por­tant as­pect in the de­sign of the home. “The pu­rity and sim­plic­ity of the spa­ces are en­riched by the very fine sense of ma­te­rial pres­ence, ex­uded in ev­ery sur­face and ev­ery de­tail,” em­pha­sises Wong. “This re­fined sen­si­bil­ity is also con­veyed through the high de­gree of cus­tomi­sa­tion and im­pec­ca­ble crafts­man­ship that was car­ried through from the fur­ni­ture and mill­work within the home to the ex­ter­nal fa­cade, metal screens and cladding.” For the home­owner and his fam­ily, the process of de­vel­op­ing their home has also been a jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery and aes­thetic aware­ness. They em­braced the project with pas­sion—and it ul­ti­mately be­came a man­i­fes­ta­tion of their way of think­ing and their out­look on the world.

The ni­nesquare Man­dala floor plan fea­tures a cen­tral void (the gar­den court­yard), in­spired by the an­cient In­dian ar­chi­tec­tural sys­tem of vastu shas­tra

LEFT TO RIGHT The home’s strong con­nec­tions to the in­doors and out­doors cel­e­brate Ban­ga­lore’s mild cli­mate; Wind­fall chan­de­liers add a glam­orous touch to the liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas; the home’s strik­ing spi­ral stair­way

LEFT TO RIGHT The mild cli­mate makes it pos­si­ble for full-height slid­ing doors to re­main open through­out the day; the Wind­fall chan­de­lier at the liv­ing area evokes a canopy of twin­kling stars; a be­spoke rug hand-tufted by Tai Ping Car­pets; the serene blues of the art­work draw cues to the way the turquoise pool wraps around the liv­ing room

LEFT TO RIGHT The en­closed atrium court­yard pro­vides an­other tran­quil space for the fam­ily; the fam­ily lounge is el­e­vated above the din­ing room and was con­ceived as a court­yard in the sky

THIS PAGE The en­suite bath­room in each bed­room has its own unique char­ac­ter, with ma­te­ri­als hark­ing to the coun­try’s strong her­itage of crafts­man­ship

OP­PO­SITE PAGE The din­ing room is a long com­mu­nal space that frames ex­ter­nal views of the court­yard; a cus­tomised Wind­fall chan­de­lier from the Flow­ers col­lec­tion floats above the Po­liform din­ing ta­ble

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