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Home > Anubhuti: Reverberating the Heritage of Southern India

Anubhuti: Reverberating the Heritage of Southern India

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Fact File
Location: Gurugram (Gurgaon)
Size: 170 sq m
Principal Architects: Meena Murthy Kakkar, and Vishal Kakkar
Photography by: Suryan Dang


Anubhuti by Envisage has been crafted by employing traditional South Indian design elements, sensibilities, textures, and patterns and augmenting them to fashion a modern-chic residence. Designers and their clients often overlook the importance of staying grounded and in touch with their roots. Yet there is, inadvertently, an inkling that something isn’t whole. However, Anubhuti takes the traditional designs, elements, and textures and augments them in a modern home for a South Indian family. Anubhuti reflects the lifestyle and individuality of its occupants and pays homage to its rich culture and traditions. This residence speaks a distinct vocabulary, with the heritage, culture, and tradition of the occupants echoing across every single corner. It is a space of belonging, comfort, and acceptance—a bespoke creation amongst the masses of contemporary homes.

The brief was to design a residence for a family of Kerala Iyers and create a space that would be a place of fun and comfort and capture the essence of South India. The house, spread across 240 square metres, is a south-facing property and, hence, is varnished optimally to let in natural light, with glazing running across an entire side of the house. Designed to create a warm, modern, and chic abode for a nuclear family, the house is varnished optimally to let in natural light, while the design palette is inspired by soft earthen and neutral hues. Designed in an Indian Bohemian style, this residence has an ambience that accepts individuals as they are. The viewer is greeted by an explosion of ochre as they enter the hallway leading to the living room, with bright Athangudi tiles (native to Tamil Nadu) capturing the essence of the south Indian heritage. The hallway is left uncluttered, with a shoe rack being the only furniture adorning this space. Where the living rooms were earthen and neutral, the bedrooms of Anubhuti feature an explosion of colour.

Before the entrance opens into the living room, a mural of ancient Tamil scripture, “Kandar Anubhuti,” about Lord Kartikeya, adds to the integration of this family’s heritage. Entering the living room, subtly chequered tiles snake across the periphery. Created with an open layout, the walls of the living space are draped in an earthen colour, with a corner containing a white Kolam pattern, which traditionally adorns houses across India during auspicious festivals. However, the most striking object within this space is the Attukattil Jhula, crafted in wood with traditional oonjal supports composed of brass. It reinforces the homeliness of the interiors and adds a sense of playfulness to the volumes, allowing the viewer to unwind and feel at home. Wood has also been used carefully across the interiors, harmoniously adding warmth. Two distinct spatial axes intersect to create a seamless living area that is split into the living room, the dining room, and the spill-out zone, distinguished by their material palettes and distinct illumination characteristics yet connected by coherence. The choice of furniture for the dining room is modern yet laid out eccentrically, with dining chairs and a sofa with a trellis back, inspired by the Nalukettu style architecture native to Kerala.

This space is topped off with an informal spill-out zone flanked by Chettinad pillars, which function as a small study space. Although traditionally, Chettinad pillars are made from teak, the logistical demands to get them made and transported from the South were challenging. Hence, a decision was made to build them with MDF in a concrete finish. This led to a visual break from the use of wood throughout the interiors while also creating a point of intrigue for the viewers. Within the master bedroom, the décor includes an amalgamation of patterns and textures. Elegant brass bedside lights flank the bed, with a back wall done in a red oak hue, creating a sense of relaxation and homeliness. Wood is used liberally throughout the space, with the furniture and accessories having a distinctly Indian character. The master bedroom is flush with natural light with glazing across two walls, with the space facing southeast, which reduces the need for extensive lighting systems. The guest bedroom is full of warm hues in its décor and furniture. With a warm Nalukettu-inspired wooden frame going around the bedside and brass lighting and accessories flanking the bedside, the layout is clean, open, and inviting, connecting the bedroom to the rest of the house through a coherent design language.

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