Second coming

first_imgThe spiffy steel, glass and wood facade is like an adornmentArchitect Rajiv Saini is a makeover maverick. His avant-garde designs celebrate heritage structures in an exquisitely modern format, paying tribute to the grand old buildings of yore but in his trend-setting signature style. Mumbai-based Saini has recently refurbished a Victorian style mansion, some 80 years old, located in Hyderabad’s upscale Banjara Hills. And yes, this stately residence in its new avatar has all the grandeur of a vintage space albeit flaunting a chic and contemporary design aesthetic. “We could have started off with a new design. Instead, we decided to work with what we already had and came up with an original space,” he says.Diagonally-framed metal screens in the hand wash areaOpulent living in this erstwhile 7,500 sq ft two-storey residence meant being surrounded by Victorian column embellishments, marble spiral staircases, wrought-iron mermaids and cherubim fountains. But now in its 12,500 sq ft reincarnation, the space sports a clean, modern look highlighted by cutting-edge architectural features and sleek high-end furniture. Undoubtedly, the addition of new space pockets in the existing structure is the edgiest of innovations undertaken by Saini. For design worshippers, supplementing a dwelling with 5,000 sq ft of extra floor space to cope with its changing accommodation dynamics is no mean feat. The living area flaunts an uncluttered lookExplains Saini, who took almost three years to complete this elaborate project, “Extensive structural alterations were carried out to improve the relationships between various spaces.” He holds forth on how wet areas were relocated, a section of the terrace transformed into a gym and the grand spiral staircase replaced with a sleek metal and stone one.Informal dining area with a Poggenpohl pantrySimultaneously, he augmented the existing area by way of new imaginative enclosures. For instance, the terrace gym overlooking the front garden is a newly added cantilevered steel structure, while guestrooms along with a steel and glass study attached to the master suite are all fresh spaces. Also, the dining quarter, created by enclosing a part of the rear garden, is a must-see.The architecture of this elite abode is both sophisticated and quirky. So, a 10-inch gaping hole in the roof caused by the demolition of a 15-ft turret with staircase has taken on a functional role. It is currently a circular skylight enveloping the family room with a sparkling cocoon of light. It’s easy to figure out that this stylish residence has been painstakingly conceptualised and aims to duplicate a high octane hospitality outfit experience. “No fancy hotel anywhere in the world now gives her (my client) as much enjoyment and comfort as her own home,” says an ebullient Saini.Family room with its circular skylight and stylish furnitureSaini has a fine eye for decor details. The spiffy steel, glass and wood faade is almost like an adornment while the honeycombed structure of the living and dining areas reflects the refined sensibilities of the architect.The glamorous interiors are outfitted with sumptuous furniture like B&B Italia sofas. Highlights of the dining room include a custom-designed table in lacquered metal and glass, faceted mirrored ceiling concealing lighting recesses and an exposed concrete wall at the far end.A red Cappellini rocking chair in one of the roomsEqually impressive is the hand wash area. Making a chic statement here are diagonally-framed metal screens accessorised with marigold flowers. Another attractive feature is the metal and stone diagonal staircase hemmed in by the living and dining spaces. But the piece de resistance is a glass bridge on the first floor which connects the gym as well as guest suites to the main premise.The architect’s love for texture comes across through a mindboggling variety of materials used. There’s a row of yellow travertine bookshelves lining a single wall of the guest suite. The TV lounge too is dominated by acoustically treated leather-clad walls while a delicate relief work etched on white marble forms the wall behind the television.Indeed Saini’s work is contemporary, has a cultural context to it but with an unexpected modern twist. And as the experimental architect puts it aptly, “No one could believe it was the same structure that stood there since the ’80s.”advertisementlast_img

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