Founder and Creative Director of interior design studio Roar, Pallavi Dean gave us a glimpse into her contemporary home in Dubai’s Villa Lantana Development. The #IDSymposium speaker converted a fairly austere four-bedroom property with two living rooms into a three-bedroom home that features a walk-in wardrobe, gym studio, an open plan living and dining space, and even a library! Graffiti murals in the backyard, sculptures, a signed Zaha Hadid print and other limited edition artworks consort with furniture pieces from Moroso, Mooi, Vitra and Ingo Maurer in the captivating 4250 sq ft residence. Scroll down to read more!
“I hated the idea of living in the suburbs, but I loved Lantana because it was sitting on the right side of what we call the MBZ (Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road)—only 15 minutes from Dubai Design District, which is where I work, and 10 minutes away from my husband’s office. We have more space here because we are not in the absolute centre of Dubai, yet we are only a 15 minute drive from the Burj Khalifa!” said Dean, as we initiated our vicarious tour of her home with the formulaic yet necessary inquiry about her chosen neighbourhood.
Intentionally opting for a villa with contemporary, clean and simple architecture instead of a pastiche Spanish or Italian-style one, the mutability of the internal composition is what appealed to her. “All the columns and the structure walls were mostly on the perimeter of the space, so we hacked the space completely and reprogrammed the rooms—it was a four-bedroom property with two different living rooms that we turned into a three-bedroom house with a walk-in wardrobe, a gym studio, a living-dining open plan space and a library,” she said.
A closed, dingy kitchen was transformed into an open-plan space that flowed seamlessly into dining and living area, as well as the outdoor seating area through a set of sliding doors. The cohesive indoor-outdoor connectivity is further accentuated by the use of the same flooring in both spaces. Small sash windows with mullions on the facade were replaced with large, floor-to-ceiling, and wall-to-wall picture windows. However, the defining element was the revamped main door. “We ripped out the big wooden front door, which originally came with the house and which all the other villas in our neighbourhood have, and put this huge, completely transparent glass door instead, which floods the place with natural light. People can see it from the street and we are known it in the community as the house with the glass door!” said Dean.
When asked how she went about curating the interiors, Dean said “The starting point was what we do for any other project—we always start with the users of the space, which in our case were one economist-broadcaster, one seven-year-old and, at the time, four-year-old, and myself. We sort of did a need-based analysis for each person within the space and came up with an open-plan playroom for the kids with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves where they can tuck away their toys, legos and boardgames as well as their reading materials (I hate clutter!) There is a big TV screen on the other side of the room, with all their video games and consoles as well. Similarly, I am an avid reader, as is my husband Richard, so the library is one of the first things that we conceptualised. It also became our workspace—we always had a desktop down there— and it’s so good to be able to work among all your reference materials and have that kind of experience. It’s almost like a small-scale ‘WeWork’ space!”
Local artist Kim Baroma was commissioned to spray paint one of the walls in the backyard. The graffiti work features a large mural of the goddess Lakshmi, alongside a portrait of Yoda accompanied by the quote ‘do or do not there is no try.’ Art is not only a key element in several Roar projects, but also a passion for Dean and her husband. A beautiful sculpture by Polish artist Ana Barlik in the living room and a signed Zaha Hadid print in the dining area are testament to this. Furthermore, a limited-edition print by Indian artist N.S. Harsha, and a triptych from the 1970’s by Willem Kerklaan are other noteworthy pieces, collected by Dean on her travels abroad. “Design is such an important aspect of my life that it felt natural to furnish my own house with pieces from my favourite brands. We’ve chosen furniture items from Moroso and Moooi, a Vitra lounge chair and a light by Ingo Maurer for the study,” she concluded.