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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The home with a heart and a soul

IAnD Exclusive

Designer’s Personal Spaces 


By Marina Correa
Photography: Ravi Kanade; courtesy the firm
Read Time: 2 mins
"Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
Ar. Abin Choudhuri's home (inset) Ar. Abin Choudhuri

Architect Abin Chaudhuri’s home epitomizes the essence of the bond between his mother and his son, and effectively doubles up as a creative canvas for his artistically-inclined 10-year-old boy… 

Abin Design Studio (ADS) is known to explore multiple ways to engage the end-user with the built form; the way they move through spaces and interact with them. Making a one-time ‘wow’ factor is never his style; rather carving a lasting impression is. 

These same sensibilities find their way into his own home in Kolkata with a touch of ‘more’ added in the form of deep respect for familial bonds, heritage and a keenly-curated collection of works from Indian designers, artists, craftsmen including customised furniture boldly showcased against a neutral background.

"living room Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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"display in the living room Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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Creating an inspired juxtaposition of colour with vibrancy; traditionalism with contemporariness; indulgence with restraint -- the home uses a varied material palette be it wood, fabric, weaves, ceramics, artworks and decorative elements to speak an eclectic language. 


"juxtaposing the traditional and the contemporary Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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Respecting and celebrating his father’s legacy and by extension a sense of Indian-ness is a common thread that unifies the design statement. For instance, a motorcycle belonging to his late father is a much-cherished heirloom, which is transformed into a canvas for an artistic intervention. It occupies pride of place between two ornately-carved, antique wooden pillars. 

Similarly, two Durga paintings created by national award-winning artists from a little-known village are prominently placed on the walls of the foyer and dining room. 

"study Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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"artistic chair Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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Innumerable customised features cull out a unique aesthetic. All the wood used in the home has been sourced from a tree that had fallen during cyclone ‘Hud-hud’ 6 years ago. Originally, a 4-bedroom apartment, multiple walls have been broken down to provide an open feel to the central well of the home. One of the bedrooms, now a study, becomes a visually connected extension to the living area as the walls are replaced by glass partitions. Further augmenting the aesthetic is an antique wooden door frame whose 4-panel shutter is embellished with vibrant Indian art.

Playing around with providing transparency whilst maintaining privacy is a part of Abin’s forte. This is well translated viz. the wall between his son’s bedroom and the dining room, which is punctured with a large antique window -- providing spatial connectivity while ensuring privacy, when desired. 

"open plan Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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"dining room Ar Abin Chaudhuri home indiaartndesign"
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Weaving flexibility into the schematic is the wall between the son’s bedroom and the living room that is replaced with a colourful paneled wall doubling up as cabinets for extra storage. Adding intrigue to the mix is the door to the bedroom within this partition that becomes apparent only through a large decorative wooden handle that easily passes off as a craft-driven design element! 

Thus, the home can be likened to a shallot:  slowly revealing its multiple layers as its occupants engage and interact with the space.

The big three:

  • What is the one thing that you have done for yourself that you’d never do for a client?
    • My home is my soul.
  • An important design lesson that you abide by?
    • My space displays minimalism, recycled materials and is thought-provocative. It is endowed with the essence of my father’s blessing, memory and philosophy.
  • Is there a message that you’d like to convey to your clients through your own space?
    • Live as simply as possible as space should exude energy for bonding, interaction and happiness.
Project: Chaudhuri Residence
Principal Architect: Abin Chaudhuri
Design Firm: Abin Design Studio
Design Team: Abin Chaudhuri, Usha Thakvani, Soma Koiri 
Area: 2,300 sq. ft.
Location: Kolkata, India


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