Reminiscence – A story told about the past by narrator
Once in a while, comes along a project where the Architect plays the role of a narrator to represent and recreate a dialogue between the past and the present. We were commissioned to the restoration of an ancestral property, which has been home to four generations. A home for the grandparents and a plethora of memories for the younger ones.
Project Name: Anusmaranam – The Reminiscence
Architecture & interior design: studio TAB
Location: Aluva -Kochi
Project Area: 2500 sqft.
Principal Architects: Rahul Das Menon & Ojas Chaudhari
Interior Contractual Team: M.M. Interiors Ltd.
Photographer: Justin Sebastian
Located between palm groves and a natural pond in the backyard, the project had within itself a strong contextual element. We desired to keep all things natural and an adaptation of the bygone eras- from exploring reclaimed natural wood to adopting the long lost method of lime finish on walls; from painting the house in colours of handmade tiles to using woven fabrics & cane as design elements.
We re-purposed the old, sometimes retained it and oft crafted new things from them. The house is a juxtaposition of the past with the present and the old with the re-imagined; all the while stitching together a beautiful language – of beautiful memories the house has seen.
The concept of a ‘Reminiscence’
The concept and approach to the designing of this project was a unanimous one – going back to the roots. The site brought along with it a very strong contextual element. A property that has been home to 4 generations brings along with it a plethora of memories. Memories attached to each space, heirloom furniture, evolution of functional spaces and much more. We wanted to create a design that is an ode to all those memories. A design that attempts to restore the details of damaged vintage furniture and further, adapts the forgotten craftsmanship of the bygone eras. A design that is honest and non- pretentious.
We put in 4 months of time before actual site work to study the local materials, understand the local craftsmanship and scan the by lanes of the ancient Mattancherry market. Our objective was to go back in time to create a design that remains timeless. We involved local artisans and craftsmen in creating furniture, tiles and other designs as a contemporary ode to the bygone era. We also visited dilapidated houses in and around Kochi and sourced out old woodwork from there so as to salvage and restore them within this project.
Both Rahul & Ojas were on an explorative sabbatical when they decided to work together after gaining experience under renowned architectural firms in Mumbai. What started as a friendly collaborative experiment in 2011, turned out to be a runaway success with their first project getting widely published. From here, there was no looking back. The philosophy of the firm spells strongly in its name: studio TAB – The Architecture Break. Each project begins with breaking down every stereotype attached to it. Once we are able to achieve this, we come to understand what the project truly needs. From here on begins the design exercise, at both micro and macro level. This work process has been the crux of the firm’s philosophy right from its advent. This approach has helped the firm build projects in over 20 regions across India.