Tim Radley, VM-un­leashed Ltd

VMRD - - Contents - By Pankhuri Goel

Ma­te­ri­als form a large part of our mem­ory of spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ences as long as they are authen­tic and create a unique story. A ma­te­rial palette must help create an authen­tic, co­he­sive iden­tity of a space while re­spond­ing to the unique­ness of its con­text.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence of a space is de­ter­mined first by the vol­ume it oc­cu­pies and se­condly by the tac­til­ity of the ma­te­ri­als which es­tab­lish the char­ac­ter of the space and give it a per­son­al­ity. Ma­te­ri­als form a large part of our mem­ory of spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ences as long as they are authen­tic and create a unique story.

At Stu­dio Lo­tus for in­stance, this choice is in­flu­enced by the vi­sion we hold for each project; we be­lieve that a ma­te­rial palette must help create an authen­tic, co­he­sive iden­tity of a space while re­spond­ing to the unique­ness of its con­text.

In­no­va­tion of ma­te­rial us­age should be pared back to fo­cus on tech­nique and pro­cesses. By con­tem­po­ris­ing craft, the use of ev­ery­day ma­te­ri­als can yield cap­ti­vat­ing re­sults. Ar­ti­sans can be trained to adapt their crafts to modern sen­si­bil­i­ties, cre­at­ing be­spoke so­lu­tions which while cre­at­ing a unique iden­tity for a space also pro­vide a plat­form for re­vival of dy­ing crafts.

In fact, an ex­ten­sive and it­er­a­tive process of value en­gi­neer­ing can help en­sure fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity of cus­tomised so­lu­tions, en­sur­ing the cost-ef­fec­tive­ness as­so­ci­ated with off-the-shelf so­lu­tions.

While ma­te­rial ap­pli­ca­tion is al­ways seen as a process of ‘ad­di­tion’, we have through our work ex­plored us­ing ma­te­rial as a process of ‘sub­trac­tion’ through re­veal­ing the ba­sic struc­ture and ma­te­ri­al­ity of a space – this is es­pe­cially rel­e­vant for his­toric sites. For the Gem Palace re­tail out­let at the Raas Jodh­pur, for in­stance, we stripped down the ce­ment plas­ter from the 18th cen­tury premises to re­veal the stone ma­sonry be­neath, which helped re­in­force the link­age between the her­itage brand with its his­toric lo­cal­ity. The crafted, pol­ished fix­tures and fit­tings in the space en­cased in metal and glass cre­ated a unique con­trast to the his­toric shell.

An­other in­no­va­tive use of ar­chi­tec­tural ma­te­ri­als can be ex­plored through the con­cept of ‘Wabi-Sabi’, which uses the ag­ing of ma­te­ri­als over time as its core prin­ci­ple. We adopted this ap­proach for the de­sign of the award-win­ning Go­drej Imag­ine Stu­dio at The Trees in Vikhroli, Mum­bai, through the ma­te­ri­al­ity of con­crete, corten steel, brass and tim­ber. The com­plex stood where the erst­while Go­drej In­dus­trial Com­plex once did, and the choice of ma­te­rial helped as­sert a sense of con­ti­nu­ity. While con­crete in­di­cates the ex­ist­ing shell work, corten steel rein­ter­prets the idea of the orig­i­nal form, which over a pe­riod of time bleeds over con­crete. This helped cul­ti­vate an authen­tic in­dus­trial aes­thetic, in tune with the cul­tural legacy of the area in which it was si­t­u­ated.

The idea of in­no­va­tion, ul­ti­mately, must be looked at in terms of the project in­tent; there is no one-size-fits-all ap­proach that can be adopted to push the en­ve­lope in the field of de­sign. Adap­ta­tion of tra­di­tional wis­dom us­ing con­tex­tual cues can be just as ef­fec­tive as tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions un­der­taken with a fu­tur­is­tic vi­sion as de­sign­ers, the re­spon­si­bil­ity of choos­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate ap­proach is com­pletely ours.

About Pankhuri Goel

Pankhuri Goel, De­sign Prin­ci­pal, Stu­dio Lo­tus is a grad­u­ate from Na­tional In­sti­tute of De­sign. She is one of the five De­sign Prin­ci­pals of Stu­dio Lo­tus, as part of her in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed prac­tice for the past 9 years. Un­der her lead­er­ship, Stu­dio Lo­tus is ac­knowl­edged as a thought leader in the coun­try for their work in the do­main of Ar­chi­tec­ture and In­te­rior De­sign, es­pe­cially with con­scious de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties, cul­tural in­flu­ences, lo­cal re­sources etc. Pankhuri has played a crit­i­cal role in the stu­dio win­ning nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades and awards, con­tribut­ing to the sus­tained growth and pro­lif­er­a­tion of the prac­tice.

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