Moments of experience

An architectural project is worked out answering a multitude of questions; which works to create an environment favourable for human activity. The quality of our life, the force of our memories, the importance of our day-to-day interpersonal exchanges, the reading of the environment, all these moments arouse in us emotions.

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Domus India (May 2013)

Architecture is a constant dialogue between the built and the unbuilt, the realized and the desired. Two volumes of moments – one cool and one warm – one form-finished concrete tube that forms the central circulation spine for the house and three main rooms made to look like cabins finished in richly textured wood are held within this open plan under a cantilevered metal roof that floats above the verandah and reflects the tea gardens below.

This house designed by RMA Architects sits quaintly on a tea garden. It is designed to minimise the impact of it’s footprint on the landscape. Several mock-ups were built to determine the optimum location both from the perspective minimising impact as well as the framing of potential views.

To read further grab a copy of this month’s Domus (Indian Edition) or subscribe at Spenta Multimedia.

The first part of this essay is written by architect Ekta Idnany.

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Envelope as a mediator

The envelope or exterior of the building is what defines the boundary between the inside and the outside. The exterior appearance is what we first experience or see of a building. In a similar way, we see people first as how they visually appear to us. In both of these cases it can be said that we are seeing the “skin” of the object. “Skin” is the boundary of the object that separates the object from the space around it. The “skin” of a building – its facade – is sometimes considered to have a social and cultural role in representing what is inside the building. Traditional typologies of buildings such as “temples,” “villas,” or “municipal buildings” usually have sufficient connection to a system of understanding that we know the programme of the building from the architectural elements that are combined to make the exterior form.

Domus India 02 (March 2013)

Domus India 02 (March 2013)

The articulation of the skin of a building is about the movement between the inside and the outside – one that is defined by the programme that is concealed and revealed within. Bernard Tschumi states that the envelope of a building is what excludes or includes by its articulation of the surface by fortification or porosity, by veiling and by screening. This suggests that movement from inside to outside is constitutive of space rather than being a product of space. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, two French philosophers have said it well, “A substance is said to be formed when a flow enters into a relationship with another form.”

Principal architects Romi Khosla and Martand Khosla of Romi Khosla Design Studios based in New Delhi, were entrusted with the responsibility of designing a Dental College for the Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. The college besides being a teaching center for dentistry also provides dental care to the people in the surrounding areas. The programme therefore had to be designed keeping the three users in mind; the common public, the doctors who were going to teach and practice and for students who were going to learn and assist. The architects realized that it was crucial for the programme to be simplified so that it is easily understood by the three-end users and allows the users to flow from one space to another. This defines the envelope as a connector from the inside to the outside.

To read further grab a copy of this month’s Domus (Indian Edition) or subscribe at Spenta Multimedia.

The first part of this essay is written by architect Ekta Idnany.

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Context embedded processes

Is architecture context? Architecture is defined as architecture because it is set within a context and it has a strong and eloquent visual relationship with the environment. A building is always seen first as a part of the whole. Creating places and spaces that enrich the lives of the people who inhabit these spaces is the underlying principle that defines the work of most architects. Every building should engage in a dialogue with the beliefs and needs of a particular place. Place is to architecture as meaning is to language. A memory,  a story and any other significant connection – subliminal or physical contribute to the process of architecture.

Domus India 13 (Dec 2012)

Domus India 13 (Dec 2012)

Design process most often than not is embedded in the problem/ challenge. In an urban context, there are layers of systems and built environment to rely on for contextual information. However, in a non-urban context what is the approach? How does an architect tell a story of the place? What determines the style of architecture? Creating an environment involves designing for meaningful experiences – to do this, establishing a sense of place and engaging creatively within a community and its landscape enhances and reinforces this belief.

Mumbai-based KSA Architects and Planners has in the recent past been fortunate to have encountered three projects with varying programmatic requirements in three diverse cultural and topographical regions. All three projects have unique characteristics and site conditions that demand a site-specific response and are set in a non-urban context.

To read further grab a copy of this month’s Domus (Indian Edition) or subscribe atSpenta Multimedia.

The second part of this essay is written by architect Suprio Bhattacharjee.

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Materiality of ideas

Architecture is the art of blending culture with emotions; it is multi-sensory and manifests itself through materials. Building materials and construction techniques act as mediators for this blending. Materials and their inherent qualities evoke feelings and reveal the meaning behind an idea. As Steven Holl stresses, “Total perception of architectural spaces depends as much on material and detail of the haptic realm as the taste of a meal depends on the flavours of authentic ingredients.”

Domus India 10 (Sept 2012)

When we look around us more often than not we come across a visual landscape where materials are chosen at the end of the design process, as if they are a mere afterthought, a colour of paint applied to the building after the design has been formulated. Whether in the classroom or in practice, one cannot consider design without regard to material. There are a growing number of practices today that in their individual capacity are trying to focus on informing architecture through materiality. Rahoul Singh Design Associates, based in New Delhi and led by Rahoul Singh, is one such practice that focusses on scale, locale and materiality during the design and construction process.

To read further grab a copy of this month’s Domus (Indian Edition) or subscribe at Spenta Multimedia.

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Leisurely brunch at Lagerbay

Lagerbay located on waterfield road, is a fairly new joint in Bandra. It is where the once legendary Zenzi stood. Though I had never been to Zenzi; Lagerbay feels strangely familiar.

Lagerbay sounds more like a bar but  once inside you will be eased by a casual bistro like atmosphere. With cool grey bison board clad walls – which gives the space a warm industrial feel. The walls are also adorned in engaging humorous pop-art frames.

with Ayesha and Amrita, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

As always some of us arrived relatively earlier for brunch but Barrington happily seated us right away. He also promptly took our drink orders. I called for a Mojito, which felt slightly strong but was the perfect drink to help me cool down from the muggy weather outside.

During our second round of drinks we made our way over to the cold spread. We had salads, cold cuts, grilled chicken and devilled eggs to choose from. The grilled pesto chicken, made for a simple and delicious dish. The seafood mix in a light creamy sauce was fresh; both Amrita and I could not help going back for seconds (second helpings allow people to appreciate the food more). The beef carapaccio on a bed of arugula was a little disappointing as the meat was not as tender and the dish required a light dressing of olive oil and salt.

For the main course, four of us called for lamb burgers. The sweet succulent lamb burger with a cilantro yogurt dressing in a fresh bun got better with every bite. Also the mushroom risotto that one of us had called for had a nice creamy consistency and was well seasoned.

Brunch banter with Megs, Huzefa and Namita, Image courtesy Batul and Huzefa Rangwala

From Mojitos to Caipiroska(which were a little watered down) to the sour apple martinis served in old-fashioned glasses the wait staff made sure that we did not go thirsty. Our conversations were mad. We spoke about Bombay tekshi drivers, running the  every guy was accused of being a baby(the reason behind girls carrying big weighty bags) but then of course there was just one prashious baby amongst us. From weighty bag issues we went on to discuss light uplifting wonderbras and their effective results on the x and y-axis. Soon after that conversation we were impersonating bbm emoticons. In the midst of this madness we even planned to make a trip to east India next January.

Shahshank, Batul, Zarrin and Amit, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

We had quite a few new people joining us this time. Hope that our conversations and banter won’t keep them away from the next brunch.

Lulu’s cupcakes and Megs, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

Megs and the rest of the brigade surprised me with some lip smacking cupcakes from Lulu’s cupcakes. Cupcakes are special they are sweet baked memories and for me they reminded me of New York. Thank you and hugs for everyone.

with Huzefa, Namita, Fatema, Batul and Prashious Prash, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

With it’s relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and a helpful owner like Naveen – Lagerbay is a wonderful setting for a sunday brunch. After brunch some of us walked over to Megs place to watch the French Open finals. Cheers.

Also now with Bombay requiring you to carry a silly liquor permit that will allow you to consume alcohol – there is a sign at Lagerbay that promises to help you out in acquiring that permit within a week.

Bombay Brunch Brigade meets once a month. The purpose of this group is to meet  – have fun, find a travel partner, a date(may be), share brain farts and savour brunches. We will be exploring different brunch places all over Bombay. Join our Facebook group for the next brunch date and location information.

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Carnival for a Cause

Bombay Brunch Brigade religiously goes out for brunches. We look forward to brunch every month like Bahai’s look forward to their 19th day feast. In May it was special – as we got to brunch for a cause.

Every year Elle India organizes Carnival for a Cause in select cities. This year it was held at the Taj Mahal Hotel. All the money raised went to the Ogaan Cancer Foundation, which supports the Women’s Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital with this event.

The Crystal Room at the Taj was the perfect setting for an urban mela. There were designer clothes and accessories from some of India’s best designers available at discounted prices. Fun-fair activities such a clairvoyants revealing fortunes, tarot card reading, a photo studio, balloon animal making and a silent auction.

Abhik in Quirk Box’s Toy Factory Soldiers Jacket, Image Courtesy Anuja Gupta

Where most people showed up in pink our very own fashionable Abhik showed up in Quirk Box’s Toy Factory Soldiers Jacket, which became an instant favourite. Abhik and I were early(as always for brunch) so we quickly walked through the sale booths and picked up a few nifty accessories like bags and sunglasses.

Amishi holding up a bottle of Turning Point, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

From here we moved towards the bar area. There were plenty of options from champagne too Grey Goose Vodka, Peroni’s beer and Turning Point wine. We kicked off the afternoon with some champagne. At the bar when we saw the Turning Point bottles we remembered that our friend, Amishi Parekh had designed the packaging and or graphics for the wine.

Our conversations were filled with stories, banter and laughter. If I can recollect we spoke about Condé Nast Architectural Digest’s Indian edition launch, Abhik’s jacket, gyming (how appropriate as we indulged) and that we need to vacation.

(L) with Anuja, Image courtesy Manoj Sharma and (R) with Almas, Image courtesy Anuja Gupta

At the bar we nibbled on some candied prawns, satay chicken and popcorn out of bento boxes. After a few drinks we moved over to the adjoining ballroom for the main meal, which consisted of salads, pasta, chaats, mini burgers, Thai curries, biryani and risotto. The dessert counter had crepes, kulfi, baklawa and a candyfloss station.

As I was busy stuffing my mouth Nonita Kalra, editor-in-chief of ELLE India walked over with Dia Mirza to introduce her to Abhik. Dia Mirza has the most beautiful smile, she is attractive and carries herself well. Other celebrities and designers that showed up to support the cause were Narendra Kumar, Purab Kohli, Aki Narula, real estate baron Niranjan Hiranandani, Lisa Haydon and Nikhil Dwivedi.

So at this brunch we shopped, drank and ate for a cause. What a sunday – we all had a good time and that too for a good cause.

Bombay Brunch Brigade meets once a month. The purpose of this group is to meet  – have fun, find a travel partner, a date(may be), share brain farts and savour brunches. We will be exploring different brunch places all over Bombay. Join our Facebook group for the next brunch date and location information.

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Brunch Happiness

Weekends are made for brunching — catching up with friends, lingering over a few (or many) belinis. With the Bombay night party scene taking a hit with numerous raids as Bombay cops see partying as the biggest threat there has never been a better time than now to support brunches around the city.

In the past few months Bombay Brunch Brigade has been to various spots for brunching…

Cricket on the beach.

Cricket on the beach, Image courtesy Amishi Parekh

Huzefa at Vie, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

In December we were at the Vie Lounge & Deck, which is located on Juhu Beach with panoramic views of the sea. We chose to sit out on the deck under their huge umbrellas over sitting inside in their air-conditioned lounges. Outside as planes fly above, various groups play cricket and volleyball below.

with Anuja, Antariksh, Amrita and Abhik at Vie

with Anuja, Antariksh, Amrita and Abhik at Vie, Image courtesy Huzefa Rangwala

With an irresistible selection of cocktails where Vie fell short was the food. There literally was no food. Despite no food and incompetent service we revelled in the expansive view, danced till the sun went down and left with brunch happy faces.

with Abhik, Saurabh, Amishi, Amrita, Batul, Suddha and Shalini at Vie

In January after running the half-marathon we headed to Pizzeria(now Pizza by the Bay), which was the perfect place for refueling. The warm toasty pizza with greasy pepperoni and chilled beers was most refreshing. With it’s corner location and breezy views of the Arabian sea, it makes for one of Bombay’s best pizza joints. The aroma of fresh-baked pizzas lures you off the curb and the warm pizza is one of the most wonderful comfort foods.

In March we headed over to the Olive Bar & Kitchen at Mahalaxmi. This truly was a lazy brunch, which is what a brunch should be. The drinks light and refreshing. Their fresh-baked breads and especially the focaccia deserves a special mention, warm and buttery. Their spread includes fresh salads, grilled meats and savoury dips. They also served us their thin crust pepperoni pizzas that were not as desired. The Mojito’s were the drink for the day. With a range of baked goods and desserts to choose from the chocolate balls and tiramisu were decadent. Designed by Nozer Wadia and located near the Amateur Riders Club, the space is rustic and the service warm. Midway through brunch we saw Nozer a table away enjoying a lazy afternoon at Olive. (In the past we have been to Olive Bar and Kitchen in Bandra)

The Bombay brunch scene has a lot to offer and we have a lot more to explore. So if you are looking for a lazy fun-filled brunch experience then join the Bombay Brunch Brigade. If you know or have a favourite brunch place do post in the comments below! Happy Brunching!

Bombay Brunch Brigade meets once a month. The purpose of this group is to meet  – have fun, find a travel partner, a date(may be), share brain farts and savour brunches. We will be exploring different brunch places all over Bombay. Join our Facebook group for the next brunch date and location information.

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