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Dwarkamai: Fusing context and nature with light

Dwarkamai is a private residence in Chennai that lends a strong spiritual character by bringing its residents in close contact with elements of nature. However, designing a residence with attributes such as airy, scenic and spacious seemed unimaginable considering its tight, gloomy plot within a dense nondescript residential area of Chennai. The creative team of Sajith & Vivek Architects and 3Fold Design made the unconventional choice of fusing the context with natural elements, ultimately lending this remarkable residence with all these attributes. The overall concept was devised as a free plan with interconnecting volumes, imbuing interior spaces with more fluidity and openness whilst treating the exterior with utmost simplicity. The combination of glass and wood is used selectively with appropriate fenestration details to create a link between the exterior and interior while shading from the harsh Chennai sun.

The importance of lighting was understood early on, and Lighting Research & Design was involved right from the concept design. ‘Lines of light’ highlight the simplicity of this design starting with the façade portal. The portal was identified as a key element and subsequent provision was made to highlight it during the façade design by recessing an exterior grade LED profile. This concept of light lines is reinterpreted in different interior spaces within the residence such as the staircase, living room, bar and master bedroom to provide a sense of homogeneity throughout the design. Smart moveable magnetic track fixtures are used in the living room to provide appropriate flexibility as per the furniture layout. As space was a constraint, it was important to extend this character of fluidity and transparency within all the spatial elements including lighting, which is omnipresent. Sleek pendants adorn the double-height entrance glass lobby, which is visible from the exterior. Similar styled pendants also adorn the living and dining room spaces.

To counter opposing site conditions, spaces like courtyard and veranda were reinterpreted to suit the urban context using essential factors such as cross ventilation and natural light. The basement bar was conceived as an inward facing space enclosing a central double-height landscaped courtyard, which resulted in a light-filled, spacious, living, breathing abode with striking visual elements and contemplative open spaces. The stepped plantations in the basement courtyard are highlighted with on-ground LED uplights along with LED strips and step-lights. Connecting light lines in the ceiling are used instead of downlights for general illumination along with decorative line pendants accentuating the bar counter.

The same concept of interconnecting volumes is extended in the spatial scheme of terrace garden, where sit-out celebrate the ethics of Indian culture such as traditional seating, entrance portal and northeast orientation (an auspicious direction), amidst blossoms of colourful flora, patterns and water fountains. These interconnecting volumes open up to gardens, letting one be with nature yet allowing the desired privacy. Lighting is subtly incorporated in the architectural details of the counters, vertical shades and seating elements. The idea of an urban spiritual abode has taken a new level of meaning for this close-knit team of architects, landscape architects and lighting designers that has designed and built a uniquely tranquil residence.


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ABBY Dark Knight 5W & 12W LED
iGUZZINI iPro Projector 6.4W LED
LEDOS Strip 14W/m LED
UNILAMP Atom Spotlight 1.5W
UNILAMP Mini Core Surface 13W LED
UNILAMP Mini Shooter Onground Uplight 13W LED
VIBIA Match 6×2.1W LED
VIBIA Wire Flow 4×4.5W LED
VIBIA Halo Leneal
W&D Ron 2x10W LED
W&D Venn 47W LED
XAL Clax 10W LED
XAL Meno Round 24W & 65W LED
XAL Move It

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