“Mozaic” is an architectural practice based in Goa that focuses on comprehensive, sustainable and environment-friendly design solutions. Led by architect Dean D’Cruz, the team comes up with designs that are innovative, contextual, rooted in its space yet timeless, sensitive and responsive to the site & client, and expressive of the intrinsic essence of spaces. The inherent eco-consciousness in Mozaic’s design ideology was further entrenched in the recent years, as a shift in perspective from the “hollowness” of designing “with limitless budgets”, the superfluity and exorbitant of which, especially during times that necessitate socio-economic & ecological sensibility and awareness among people, conditioned them.
1. Commander Narayanan’s Residence (Low-Cost Residence)
Cdr. Narayanan’s home has seamlessly eventful exteriors concealing simple disciplined interiors. Sitting atop a 500m2 sloping plot in Goa, the house is split into 3 levels to accommodate the existing hard-rock as the foundation. It is noteworthy that the structure rests solely on load-bearing laterite-stone walls with no cement columns, significantly reducing cost as well as environmental impact.
The rows of Mangalore-tiles on the sloping roof are spaced apart, thus climatically responding to the Goan heat and humidity by allowing for ventilation. Uninterrupted interior living spaces that unfurl into outdoor patios or gardens exude a sense of openness and warmth throughout the house.
2. Karwar Cathedral (Institution)
A curious approach to the sanctity of a religious space, this design is a metaphorical unraveling of a cathedral, capitalizing on movement. Ascending from the bright exterior onto a dimly-lit vantage point of sorts, the prayer area spreads out before the worshipper in levels.
RCC columns akin to tree trunks rise from the floor and branch out into a steel & wood ceiling-truss supporting a deep-eaved floating roof, independent of the external stone walls. The trees symbolize the apostles and the branched-out ceiling, an umbrella-like sky. The congregation space loosely resembles an ancient amphitheater, staying true to the origins of Christian gathering spaces. The design also relies on local craftsmanship for its construction as well as ornamentation.
3. Nilaya Hermitage (Traditional Boutique Hotel)
The Nilaya Hermitage accommodates a private residence and an off-beat themed boutique hotel in one compound. Located on the beachfront, the design involved sustainable construction using stone excavated from nearby sites, renewable materials like coconut timber, use of brick vaults and arches instead of concrete beams, reuse of materials from the neighborhood like stone columns from nearby temples, etc. The introverted layout has at its center, an informal living space around which are other habitable spaces of the residence and a garden-court on one side and 8 guest rooms and swimming pool on the other. The guest cottages themed around elements like air, fire, earth, sun, moon, stars, and the likes render the design a truly unique and quirky character.
4. Mahua Kothi (Jungle Lodge)
Located within the woods of the Bandhavgarh National Park, the design of the Mahua Kothi jungle huts embraces the quaintness and local flavor of traditional construction methods. The seemingly rudimentary mud houses, equipped with the comforts of luxury resorts stand testament to the ingenuity of the architect in striking that perfect balance between firmitas, utilitas, and venustas, without having to compromise on sustainable, eco-friendly, collaborative and community-based modes of design and construction. The combination of material honesty and attention to color and detail bespeaks an unassumingness that borders on charming nonchalance.
5. Beck’s Residence (Pavilion Dwelling)
The “Beck Umbrella” is a capsule of the outdoors punctuated by the indoors.
This pavilion dwelling owes its name to the umbrella-like roof, a signature element found in many of Mozaic’s designs. Sitting atop a 600m2 plot flanked by fields on one side and a hill on the other, the Beck’s Residence is at first glance a curious structure of red laterite capped by a peculiar roof playing hide-and-seek with the blue backdrop.
Within, it is a constant give-and-take between the interior and the exterior, with spaces and activities harmoniously spilling out into each other in the absence of walls to break the flow. It is now a bedchamber, then an open bath, and now a garth…
With its intimacy in scale, the spaces are soulful, easy on the eyes, and with a heart.
6. Mozaic Office (Institution)
Mozaic’s workspace is a living, breathing volume perched at the edge of a forest, quiet and unintrusive. The office welcomes the surrounding lush greenery with its gardens, buffer spaces, and openings on all sides. In response to the sloping site and to utilize the valley views, the interior spaces are arranged in levels such that any space in the office has visual access to the vistas. The transparent mechanical walls multi-functioning as floors, when lowered, is a distinct design feature. There is minimal reliance on air-conditioning owing to the ventilating effect of air gaps provided below the roof and the water-sprinklers operating atop.
The space is a warm hug to nature and is an embodiment of the unwritten ideology of energy-efficiency followed by the practice.
7. Laguna Anjuna (Traditional Boutique Hotel)
Laguna Anjuna is a boutique hotel comprising a melange of domed laterite brick cottages and high-ceilinged tile-roofed Portuguese houses. Relying heavily on traditional modes of construction and treatment, the design boasts of elements such as carved pillars, unfinished laterite brick surfaces, and age-old plastering techniques instead of paint, displaying an acute sensitivity to material integrity. Thoughtful integration of local resources and craftsmanship can also be discerned in the design as in the choice of red oxide and terrazzo flooring, clay tiles, and natural stone. The creation of intriguing pockets of spaces playing with light & shade, scale, and transition between solids and voids are a pleasant surprise, adding an exciting character to the design.
8. Morarji’s Residence (Pavilion Dwelling)
The “Disconnected House” owes its name to the detached nature of the series of co-dependent yet seemingly independent spaces that form the crux of the design. The entire dwelling is held together by a sense of courtness, whether indoors or outdoors because of the blurring lines between the two. The deep-eaved Kerala-style roof is reminiscent of branches of trees spreading out above. Yet another instance of material honesty, the design shows off its untreated red laterite bricks, stone, and wood. A pavilion dwelling in the true sense of the word, the design unfolds as a walk through open gardens connecting the semi-open or covered living spaces.
9. Captain Lobo’s Hideaway (Housing)
The most interesting feat about Captain’s Lobo’s Hideaway is how it has achieved to showcase a novel approach to housing design while staying on a low budget. Rather than the mundane modular pattern normally followed, each of the 20 housing units in the complex has a unique layout. Truthful in material language, the housing units are of a cozy, intimate scale, unpredictable and dynamic, fostering a sense of community and tradition with its dense, cohesive, and economical design.
10. Moving School (Product Design)
Following the Danish model of the “Moving School” concept initiated by an NGO in Denmark, the team at Mozaic developed a contextual prototype that could be replicated or assembled anywhere. Within an estimated budget of Rs. 3 lakhs, the first prototype was erected in Arpora, Goa. The cheerful aesthetics with its bright colors combined with local resources, building techniques, and materials made for a climate-responsive, economical, and utilitarian design.
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