What defines a modern Indian home? This question became the starting point when a client approached UnBox Design to design their dream home. Aman Issar, the founder and principal Architect, was handed over a three-bedroom apartment on the 10th floor in Delhi, with abundant natural light and verdant views outside. The couple and their teenage daughters wanted their individual spaces to reflect their personalities while being part of a larger coherent whole - a mirror to their close-knit family. UnBox Design understood that the slow, rooted living the family espoused would be best expressed by quality Indian craftsmanship and a palette inspired by nature.
The clients wanted a warm home, a place that would welcome them after a long day. The spaces have been designed with an aesthetic that would calm the eye, and once soothed, the eye could feast on the key accent pieces and artworks. All the furniture and artwork have been custom-made for the project, to ensure balance and harmony. Emphasis was placed on multi-functional furniture so that more could be done with less, thereby creating uncluttered, clean spaces. Commissioning these bespoke pieces meant the chance to interact with and learn from craftspersons. Like a bird puts together a nest, lovingly layering it with sticks and leaves, here too a ‘nest’ has been put together, layered with delicate meaningful artwork and furniture.
Of the ‘shell’ handed over, the clients wanted to retain the beige marble flooring. The style direction, material explorations and colour palette were orchestrated around this. The entrance was rearranged to carve out a sunlit foyer as a vital transition zone and to increase the privacy of the bedrooms laid along a central corridor. The monochromatic foyer has a glass block wall, through which soft light falls on a Madhubani artwork and charcoal black turned-wood console. Warmth is brought in by the oak wood veneer ceiling, that continues to run along the central spine throughout the home. A pop of colour is brought in by the green fiddle fig. The element of soft light and green in this corner is a nod to the abundant light and greenery visible throughout the house. A wide wooden portal here welcomes one into the living room.
The living room palette is inspired by the earth and soil. A brown leather seat, cream sofas, wooden accent chairs and circular centre-tables are tied together by a jute rug. The quarter-cut clear oak wood panelling on one wall balances the pièce de résistance of this space - a large tribal artwork on the opposite wall. Sunlight streams in from the balcony beyond, bathing the whole space in a warm glow.
From here, one is led to the dining space. The purity of this space is highlighted by the eggshell white paint on the wall and ceiling. A white Thasos marble dining table with wooden legs is complemented by cream upholstered wooden seats and a patterned rug with Indian motifs. A display nook in the corner showcases family heirlooms - brass tableware that has been passed on through generations. Bonding over food is a ritual in Indian families, and nostalgia is brought in by the hand-made pickle jars and pottery over the console.
As one moves along the central corridor, one is led to a soothing, pastel bedroom. A blushing, soft pink palette is balanced by white cupboards and the warmth of oak furniture. This daughter bedroom has a floating bed with in-built storage, a floating study desk, a walnut wood console and a slender mirror. The furniture is kept to a minimum to make the room feel larger.
This palette is also hinted at in the Forest greens of the second daughter bedroom. Here, the bed has been pushed to one corner in order to free up floor space for the yoga-loving painter who inhabits this room. The platform bed has drawers and bookshelves at its periphery and in-built storage at its centre. The floating desk faces a verdant view, whose rich greens are mirrored in the wallpaper on the opposite wall. The wallpaper by House of Ikara is an artwork in itself - it depicts a daytime scene from a palace garden, rendered in pastel shades. The mirror with a rack, delicately placed at an angle in the corner, reflects the details of the wallpaper in delightfully unexpected ways. This room has been designed to be the calming backdrop and inspiration for its creative inhabitant.
At last, we are led to the Master Bedroom. The space reflects an Indian oasis. A four-poster wooden bed takes the center stage here. The textured grey walls bring together the traditional Indian lime plaster with the luxury of fine marble powder. This forms the perfect backdrop to the bright red of the Rogan paintings, a dying artform from Gujarat. Blue ikat fabric has been sandwiched between glass to form shutters for a truly bespoke wardrobe. Further pops of blue come from the upholstered bay window seat and the abstract rug, whose layered tones of blue mimics the rhythmic movement of waves. The television console runs along the length of the wall, morphing into a chest of drawers before becoming a study table. The cream lampshades over the walnut side table hark back to a simpler time. True luxury is detailed craftsmanship, and by adding a contemporary touch to our rich and diverse Indian traditions, UnBox Design has endeavoured to make this a modern Indian haven.
Art suffuses this house in unexpected ways, to create spaces to revel in, to delight in; as the perfect backdrop to creating memories with loved ones. Complemented by the abundant natural light that gives the nature-inspired spaces a luminosity, the spaces exude warmth while celebrating craftsmanship. We envision the inhabitants filling this house with more personalized objects and memories over time, continuing to ‘build’ together their ‘nest’.