Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Indisputably Indian in Style (Home Tour)

Our last feature here on Prakalyam Gallery was so well received, I couldn't wait to bring you more from Veshali's wonderful portfolio. A 1,184 sq. ft. apartment in Singapore, belonging to a lovely young couple, Chandrasekar Ganapathy Subramanian and Indhu Chandrasekar gets transformed at the hands of Veshali Visvanaath and receives the all Indian touch. Chandru is not only a cricket/sports buff but also has a discerning eye for antiques and Tanjore paintings. It is this love for the old world charm that drew him and his beautiful and talented Bharathnatyam dancer wife Indu to Veshali's Prakalyam Gallery. Within minutes of being introduced  to each other they hit it off and it lead to the renovation and design of a beautiful home that is indisputably Indian in appeal. 
The couple were very explicit about what they wanted to include in their design plan. The deliverables included - smart space planning,  practical approach to design expression,  personal style married to their Indian roots. Chandru being an ardent cricket fan wanted the decor to include his bats and other sports memorabilia. His love for vintage and the old world charm too had to be incorporated. Indhu on the other hand wanted color to be a huge part of their interiors. Not the easiest directives for any interior designer but Veshali being adept at making all of her client requests come true, made it all come together seamlessly. It took Veshali 5 months from conception to delivery. The on site renovation was done in 2 months but the prior planning took a huge chunk of the time (3 months) as Chandru was very detail specific and did not want any surprises or deviations during the course of the renovation.
The living room is an interesting space with a range of contrasting materials bringing in tactile and visual balance. Done up in shades of vermilion and gold together with attentively selected furniture pieces and decor accessories, the home is cozy with a strong interplay of refinement and traditional elegance.The dark wood tones of the furniture complement the well chosen colors beautifully. As for the seating options, they have a carved day bed that was commissioned from India by the clients. The design process however of the commissioned pieces was overseen by Veshali from Singalpore. In addition to the day bed, they have lots of low seating. The floor style seating was specifically requested by the homeowners for many a reason. Sitting on the floor gives a homely, intimate and nostalgic feel and syncs well with the ambiance of the house. Yoga too recommends sitting on the floor in padmasana thus maintaining a good posture and healthy lifestyle.
The TV console was made in Singapore by Veshali's team of carpenters. Treasured collections of the couple flank the TV on either side. On the left is a wooden plank with a silver scroll. Veshali tells me that this was presented during the 1952 England cricket tour of India at Kanpur. The scroll has a velvet cloth inside it with the scorecard for the day. On the other side is a ‘Vibuthi’ box (scared ash) in form of a Nandi. This was sourced from North Karnataka and is one of the many favorite pieces from Chandru's passion to collect antiques and vintage treasures. Next to it is a wooden panel from a temple car in south-India. The car is used to take religious processions on the streets. The vintage coffee table is a cradle that the couple acquired from India. Another piece of low seating is the swing plank that they decided to just rest on the floor to make the space look bigger rather than hanging it up and visually dividing the room.  
Veshali talks more about the color choices made for this project, "Talking about the colors, this was the most challenging part about the project. Chandru wanted a classic look with creams but Indhu wanted to go bold with colors. She even wanted color on the ceiling! Chandru compromised on the color part and promised not to interfere as long as he got more cricket bats up on the wall! We managed to incorporate a different color in each room. A new experience for me as well but I love the way it turned out."
The photo gallery wall happens to be one of the first things that the couple had discussed with Veshali while expressing their requirements in the project. The wall has frames set genealogically, thus creating a family tree. The photos (and a painting) are all originals from both sides of the family, capturing the family history for nearly 200 years (Pre-World War 1 to Present Day). Here's what Chandru had to share about this aspect of the project, "A history buff, I believe in capturing family history and passing it over to the next generation. This is the ‘true’ inheritance we can leave for our kids." Veshali seconds that saying,"This was the main reason I took up the project as the nostalgia was too strong and I wanted to be a part in this journey." Absolutely love how Veshali has chosen the mint green wall to showcase the photographs. A subtle shade that's effective in enhancing the vintage feel of the space! (On a personal note, I can so relate to this color as the walls in my  grandmother's old home too were of the same shade.)
The couple have an enviable collection of statues. Seen on the left is the Tripuranthakar (form of Siva which created the state of Tripura) and on the right is Ardhanareshwarar (Siva and Parvathi in same idol) sourced from Praklayam gallery. I believe both these are made from true Tanjore Chola style.
Apart form the photo-wall, another focal point is the Tanjore art wall.  The theme for this wall was to have the couple's collection of Tanjore paintings with unique subjects displayed in one place to create an impactful exhibit. Some of them are inherited  by the couple while the rest have been acquired for them by the gallery. Indhu being a bharatnatyam dancer, wanted to have a special spot for Nataraja. Veshali  found a place of prominence for him by placing him right under the paintings. ON close observation, you will see that Paai or chattais (natural fiber woven mats) have been used here and below the coffee table as these are from Tamil Nadu and Veshali wanted to create the feeling of "close to home".
The formal dining table is clearly the most striking attribute of this space!!! The inlay dining table is made out of rosewood and was specifically commissioned by the client. The details of the inlay work talks of the grand Dussehra procession in Mysore. The presence of ‘Gandaberunda’ (symbol of Karnataka and Mysore) is prominent here. The chairs all have a king riding with two attendants on an elephant. There's an abundance of floral designs across the chair, with the foot supported by a playful elephant inlay on the sides.
Custom made handsome cabinetry spans the wall across the dining table making display and storage possible in one simple unit. The vintage pieces exhibited in the unit were especially sourced for the client from Prakalyam Gallery.

And finally we get to see Chandru's priced possession, his cricket bats framed and proudly displayed on the wall!

The Pooja room as you can tell has the divine vibes. This particular room took the longest to execute. Chandru and Indu had a lot of religious pictures and wanted a dedicated room for worship. Veshali wanted to create something different but wanted to keep the traditional feel of the space intact. The gallery wall gives the couple the option to expand their collection as and when they acquire a new piece.
Veshali decided to bring in the Kerala Kasavu saree for the sheers and used Indu's cotton sarees for the blinds. The golden sari border compliments the gold foil finish on the wall. The blinds are easy maintenance and the fabric choice adds the soft touch.
The stunning brass Elephant lamp  had been in the family for years. Indhu being the 6th generation DIL in the family, inherited this beautiful treasure from her mom-in-law! Indhu makes sure that this diya is lit on all special occasions.
Here's what Veshali had to say summing up her deep contentment on working with this wonderful couple, "It was an awesome experience doing up the house . What makes me happy is that they message me and invite me for every family gathering and have given me the space of a family member. Design and details apart , I got new friends and family in this journey."

Thank you Veshali for sharing another gem from your portfolio. It's been such a pleasure interacting with you. Wishing you the very best in your creative venture. Should you have other projects too to share, you know we are all eyes and ears:)

(My Singapore readers, should you wish to visit Prakalyam, please make sure to book your appointment right here or call (+65) 9008 3979. And for those of you not in Singapore, Veshali is willing give online consulting a shot. Do write to Veshali at veshali@prakalyamgallery.com with your design dilemmas.)

(Photo Credits & Image Copyright: Veshali Visvanaath for Prakalyam Gallery; : The images may not be used for commercial or non-commercial use without the prior written permission of Veshali Visvanaath & TECD.)