Oct 20, 2023

Mumbai: This Dadar home on the 51st floor pays an ode to Indian art and craftsmanship

By Vaishnavi Nayel Talawadekar

On the 51st floor of a skyrise in Mumbai, most things seem distant. The traffic is muted, the chaos seems collected, except the art which presides over this Dadar home in various ways. Shape-shifting from traditional to contemporary to abstract, it holds a mirror to a smorgasbord of artists and artisans along the way. "Our intent was to bring the old and the new together, pay homage to Indian art and artisans, and highlight craftsmanship of all manner," says Gauri Satam, one half of Mumbai-based design studio unTAG, whose team also includes the firm's cofounder, Tejesh Patil, and project architect Kavya Shah. The interior execution was done by Mumbai-based firm RiVi.

Conceptualised as a dim, restful cave, the bare-bricked den serves as a welcome escape after a long day.

The sofa-cum-bed is the owners’ own, while the chairs and tables are from Tianu and Gulmohar Lane respectively.

While the priority was to spotlight art, Satam was sensitive about keeping the ethos in-sync with its down-to-earth owners—a 40-something couple and their two adult children. "We were keen to have it be functional yet intricate, humble yet bespoke, and above all, evoke a sense of Indianness while also skewing minimalist," avers Patil. As for the aesthetic, the team embraced tropical modernism, constructing a collage of wide, open spaces using art as the glue. This is more evident in the living room where a soothing Senanayake-inspired artwork takes pride of place, evoking a paradise garden of yore.

The living room cedes the spotlight to the artworks on display. The modern sofa and emerald green armchairs are by Bombay Living, while the rug is a Jaipur Rugs find.

Satam concealed the bar inside a cabinet to keep it out of sight. The bar unit is characterised by fluted glass, wood, and black-veined stone. The forest green niche to its right plays host to an artwork by Radhika Bawa.

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By the window, pockets of planters and a mighty braided Pachira plant stand sentinel, as if waiting to break free and disappear across the threshold. It's Design ni Dukaan's wood-and-brass two-way swing, however, that Satam insists is the tour de force. "It's everyone's favourite spot," she muses. "Here, the view from the window keeps changing: the lush mangroves of Sewri Creek play peek-a-boo during the day. But come nightfall and they’re eclipsed by the twinkling lights on the freeway."

There's a story to everything. The dining table base, for instance, isn't just that. It's an elaborate art piece crafted by metal artist Swapnil Godase. The wall behind the table is equally curious: a series of ten murals by artist Rutva Joshi, rendered in Ambaji white marble and red Agra stone, represents India's formidable ghats. The passage furthers the art-oriented ethos. Imagined as a sage green oasis, the walls and ceiling feature an illustration by Vaibhavi Gandhi of Rogan, depicting a bird perched high up on a tree, threatening to fly off into oblivion.

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The passage connecting the public and private spaces channels a sage green oasis.

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The primary bedroom is an embodiment of mother earth, with a sand-toned shell and a pastiche of subtle hues. Larger-than-life water lilies on the wall painted by artist duo Tushar and Tarun Joshi imbue a sense of tranquillity, while minimalist solid wood bedside tables, plated with Ritu Kumar's Kansa brass thalis, lend a soft sheen.

The bedside brass lamps were collaboratively designed by Studio Indigene and unTAG.

Unlike her parents’ bedroom, the daughter's boudoir is monochrome and zen, dominated by white, wood, and earthy coral tones. "It was envisaged as a contemplative Japanese sanctum," suggests Satam, who outfitted the room with an ornately-carved vintage four-poster bed by Mould Studio, Mianzi wicker pendants, and an artwork echoing the persona of the daughter by Richa Kalshelkar.

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Dark wood and Prussian blue conjure a brooding air in the teenage son's bedroom.

The son's bedroom is similarly unique with a palette of dark wood and Prussian blue. A quirky artwork of Krishna and Sudama playing football by artist Shahed Pasha is a hat-tip to the son's love for sports.

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