TAO Architecture is a multi-disciplinary firm based in Pune striving to achieve user-centric design solutions with incorporating organic design principles. The team aims for a greener future thus emphasizing sustainable designs.

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The firm is headed by Architect Manish Banker established in 1994. He is a graduate of the institute of environmental design, Gujarat. Working with Osho Commune and gaining experience he was able to imbibe a new approach towards spatial design and its relation to its environment. Passionate and with entrepreneurship skills, Manish has a dynamic energy and an innate life for nature.

Tao studio showcases a wide range of works from architecture, interior, product designing, and installations. Below are some of the projects which showcase the studio’s design ideologies.

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1. Paradiso

A home away from the city’s bustling environment is the PARADISO situated amidst the vast greenery and serenity of calm waters was a perfect blend meeting the client’s desires. A 2-acre plot in a mushrooming residential suburb of Pune posed a unique challenge for its owners; that of ensuring for their home, visual privacy from the towering high rise apartments in the neighborhood. Built for a joint family spanning three generations, Paradiso not only successfully protects its private spaces but also allows the family to actively engage with nature and landscape through an intelligent form and strategic placement of openings. The design solution is composed of three tubular structures separated by light-filled passages. The central courtyard, along with air shafts and exhausts, sets up a passive cross-ventilation system through the hollow perforated tubes, while water bodies temper the microclimate of living spaces through evaporative cooling.

True to its name, the home is a suburban paradise that asserts lavishness and luxury for its occupants through a deep, empathetic connection with nature.

2. Nest Residence

Nest residence is a luxury eco-abode located in Koregaon Park, Pune designed by Tao Architecture for a single-family. A long entryway dotted with landscape elements provides apt appreciation distance as it leads one to the grand onyx foyer door through an entry court. The house integrates a daylit hobby as an open sitting space with a vegetated courtyard in its surroundings. The plan of the home is set along two perpendicular free-standing stone walls segregating public and private zones, with their arches allowing a continuous flow of space. Here nature seems to weave its way through each space, with bedrooms incorporating private sit-outs and bathrooms overlooking the outside environment. A single floating roof unites the entire structure, its punctures acting as lungs that breathe light and air into this snug retreat nestled in the lap of nature.

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3. Courtyard House

This project was a challenge for Tao Architecture to build on a 3400 sq.ft plot in the dense residential locals of Ahmednagar, Pune and providing light-filled spaces and courtyards opposing the site conditions. The Courtyard House is planned with two parallel double-story blocks on either side of an open-to-sky court; connected at the upper level, by a 10’ wide terrace bridge. The entire structure is united by a long sloping Mangalore tiled roof. Inside the house, a cozy living room is illuminated by a large glazed wall overlooking a serene landscaped court. A central mango tree along with a seated Buddha sculpture lends the open space a sense of calm, transforming the semi-open verandah into a contemplative retreat, complete with a rustic wooden swing. Apart from tempering the microclimate of the living spaces through its greenery, the courtyard helps set up a passive ventilation system for the house, along with the stack ventilation shaft of the staircase, and turbo vents on the roof.

The Courtyard House incorporates vernacular architectural elements not only as sustainable strategies but also as aesthetic features.

4. Blue Bird Sanctuary

A residential project based in Nigdi, Pune symbolizes through its form, an azure avian perched peacefully on a hillock in the green environs of a sanctuary.

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The massing of the building has been planned along an imposed grid of parallel planes oriented North-South. The ground floor, comprising the semi-private areas of living and is rendered in exposed brick with long-span arches that define pathways from the entrance lobby. All the rooms on the ground floor have been furnished in red, yellow, blue and green, adding splashes of color to the earthy tones of the exposed brickwork. The parallel walls on the first floor extend into vertical fins for sun protection.

An overhead water tank enclosed by grey angular walls, forming a rising ‘V’ shape; resembles the wings of a bird preparing for flight. The subtle blend of Architectural and interior elements with the landscape ensures harmony between the inhabitant and his natural environment, promoting the formation of a spiritual bond between man and nature.

5. Nyati Unitree Corporate Office

The Nyati Unitree designed by Tao Architecture is a progressive mixed-use development venture of the Nyati Group, a top real estate, construction, and hospitality firm; located at Ahmednagar Road, Pune. The project was envisioned as a sustainable, iconic, marketable real estate while establishing the client’s corporate identity as a modern, responsible steward for mixed-use development. The building houses leasable offices, showrooms and client’s corporate office accommodating staff of over 200 people.

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The design solution was to integrate green building technology for environment-conscious construction and maintenance, along with impactful visitor experience. The corporate offices for Nyati Group lie in a cuboidal RCC structure with a glass façade, enclosed by a cylindrical perforated MS envelope. The planning of the ground floor ensures interconnection between the commercial and business wings, incorporating an entry plaza, a shopping plaza, showrooms, and recreational zones, accessed by strategically segregated vehicular, user and visitor circulation patterns. The visual consistency on the outside flows into the interior, reflecting angular branching elements in ceiling panels, wall cladding, lighting systems, and art installations. Angular branching forms employed in the ceiling, wall panels, carpets, and furniture, as a homogenous continuation of the ‘Unitree’ concept. The project has received the prestigious Asia Pacific Property Award 2018, for Best Office Architecture, India; as well as the AESA Beharey Rathi Award for Best Commercial Architecture, in addition to the AESA President’s Award 2018 for adding to the aesthetics of Pune city’s skyline; and the IIID Design Excellence National Award for Furniture Design, 2016.

6. Suzlon One Earth Excellence Academy

The project was to design Interiors for 6 lac Sq.ft. of office space from macro to micro-level in coordination with architecture, landscape & communication design. A holistic Design Concept was developed by Tao Architecture to extend work zones toward the green exterior and thus creating a green campus.

The interiors are customized to the dynamics of the work culture while resonating with the Architectural concepts of the campus. Various interesting spaces are generated such as pre-function lobbies, closed offices, open offices, interactive bay, and breakout areas which help to segregate the various functional activities without disturbing the other zones. Being the headquarters of the Suzlon Energy Group, the project was conceived as a sustainable campus, incorporating environment-conscious elements at every level. The project has won Asia Pacific Property Awards for Best office Interiors in 2011 and also GIREM leadership Awards for Overall Excellence in Architecture and Interiors.

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7. K.F. Bioplant

The project is a corporate extension to the K.F. Bioplant facility at Mundhwa, Pune. The design intervention comprised of a reception area, conference halls, an MD cabin, a lounge, services, and recreational areas. The front office is designed as a glass cylinder, opening out to the soothing green views of vegetation on the plot. Keeping with the nature of the activities of the K.F. lab, the design focuses on enhancing the work experience through a harmonious indoor-outdoor interconnection. Glass walls between the meeting rooms, lounge, and private cabin ensure visual transparency and smooth interconnection between all employees.

8. Manikchand Plaza

Located in Pune, the project was designed by Tao Architecture as a mixed-use commercial plaza as a competition entry. The design for a mixed-use megaproject integrating commercial, residential, retail and entertainment facilities was sought in an open national level competition by the Manikchand Group. The proposed mixed-use hub by TAO Studio utilized the open public space as a central social gathering spot as the binding element for the entire campus. A commercial plaza, housing development, large showrooms, smaller shops, offices with recreational facilities like 12 screen multiplex, cultural activities like drama theatre, art institute, exhibition galleries, and an aquarium; were some of the activities proposed as part of the value-added program. Gentle steps along with the paved piazza act as an amphitheater, infusing the culture of public gathering and interaction within the interactive ‘work-live-play’ campus.

9. Skymax

A mixed-use commercial hub, sited on a corner plot in Viman Nagar, Pune, exploits its street frontage to attract maximum attention for its occupant companies. The inward-facing design and prominent location help create a visual impact on retail and recreational activities. It has won AESA’s best commercial project award in the year 2009.

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Two wings that are hinged at the core overlooking an atrium accommodate various retail and commercial spaces within. A tensile canopy marks the entry for the hub, inviting visitors and occupants alike. The entrance foyer is incorporated in a symbolic tower, signifying a landmark in the commercial development at Viman Nagar. Graphics and colorful paneling elements make the space lively, lit up in the evening by attractive lighting; all contributing to the overall retail experience. Services like stairs, elevators, electrical and plumbing shafts, common toilet blocks, and pantry, run across all 6 floors, supporting inhabitant units. High-performance glass cladding achieves thermal comfort while establishing a minimalistic facade linking each occupant unit with the street below.

10. Sky Station

This project was built in Viman Nagar, Pune by Tao Architecture for the purpose of creating a hub to house multi-occupancy commercial offices. The Sky Station accommodates commercial offices of different scales, linked with their respective utility spaces through an open street like circulation pattern. A detached staircase and elevator lobby allows interesting views across the shared common zones. The modular offices are laid out row-wise along 3 sides of the central atrium space, allowing maximum daylight and ventilation into the building. The terrace is designed as an open public space, shaded by a space frame to reduce thermal gains. The terrace is a common zone, to be shared & utilized by the building occupants for various recreational activities. High-performance glass cladding along the East, South, and West, and clear glass along the North, allow maximum working daylight into the office spaces. A parking podium integrates services and maintenance activities.

Some of the housing projects including luxury apartments done by the team are,

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11. Kumar Platinum

This project, composed of 2 and 3bhk apartments, sits amidst the strong cultural heritage of the iconic “Lal Dewal” Synagogue in Pune. The built mass was conceived, such as not to overshadow, but to complement the stunning piece of Architecture. The building is composed of two blocks, a cylindrical 2BHK apartment block, and a cuboidal 3BHK apartment block, both connected through a central circulation core. To the front of the complex, at the ground level, the recreational areas provide opportunities for sports and social gatherings. A swimming pool, shaded by a pergola structure, allows leisure space for the families residing in the apartments above, while a party lawn and deck allow a segregated zone for community events and functions emphasizing on expanding social spaces. Inside the building 2 and 3bhk apartments are designed with main living areas overlooking private open terraces. The 2bhk flats are designed to allow changes and conversion into large 4bhk flats when needed. The building houses two parking floors, providing essential vehicular parking for all inhabitants and visitors, of the complex across the nine residential floors and additionally supported by all modern amenities and services.

12. Aurum- Apartment Design

Defined as a bungalow in the sky, this luxurious duplex penthouse designed by Tao Architecture sits atop a residential tower in Koregaon Park. A staggered 478 sq. m. floor plate abounding semi-covered and open-to-sky spaces

opened the possibility of a play of interior volumes and the introduction of ample daylight into the 6bedroom home. The layout of the apartment emphasizes a central circulation axis flanked by habitable spaces, opening up to balconies and terraces towards the outer edges. The entrance foyer sits on the central circulation axis, designated by a distinctive flooring pathway, leading to the various residential and living zones on the lower level. A dramatic double-height family room opening into an outdoor deck is flooded with daylight thus forming a versatile space with a relaxed and cozy vibe.  The landscaped balcony provides scenic views of the city establishing an interaction between the inhabitants and their natural environment.

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The steel and wood spiral staircase leading to the terrace level forms an arresting visual feature in the circulation lobby. Continuous glazing along the exterior allows panoramic views of the Pune skyline, imparting dramatic visual accents to the recreational space. Planted borders of balconies and the outdoor terrace enclose the space with natural elements, creating an ‘indoor-outdoor- living environment within the high-rise apartment. A neutral color palette adorns the stylistic simplicity and minimalism of this lofty abode, contrasting and complementing the bright sprays of daylight filtered through glazed openings. It converts the living experience into one full of surprise, excitement, and delight.

13. Ajmera Aria

Designed by Tao Architecture as a show apartment in a luxury residential complex, the Aria Penthouse is an indulgent four-bedroom flat, showcasing sophistication in its finishes, while allowing flexibility for usage. A clear circulation pattern divides the floor plan into living, private and service zones. The interiors have been minimally partitioned for flexible space utilization, allowing a free flow of space throughout the house, while giving the impression of a larger overall volume. Custom-designed furniture and artwork set against a contrast of material textures makes one experience its elegance and sophistication of the living spaces beyond.

An outdoor terrace acts as an extended family room, equipped with a plunge pool and arresting views of the greenery in the distance. A play of volumes ensues as the living space merges with a cozy, low-height dining niche rendered in leather and wood. A backlit vanity, minimal décor and an industrial steel faucet set against a refreshing teal background make up the chic powder room, apt for a moment of quiet rejuvenation. In the private rooms, beige marble flooring and wooden ceiling elements contrast with white walls, allowing a perfect setting for the introduction of colors through furniture, furnishings, and artwork. The free-flowing layout enhances the spatial quality of the bedrooms; while vanishing blinds allow flexible modulation of visual privacy.  The minimalistic, yet classy interiors subtly accentuate the existing architecture of the penthouse, resonating with the developer’s vision of establishing luxury living space. In its functional simplicity and visual sophistication, the apartment proves an irresistible prospect for the developer’s potential clients.

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14. Manhattan

A contemporary single-family home in the posh Manhattan development of Baner, Pune this 4bedroom pad sets an urban chic vibe for its modern residents. The flat opens into a formal living cum dining hall, overlooking an open terrace with a luxurious swimming pool. Spacious bedrooms, to the rear of the apartment, capture stunning views of the green surrounds. Minimalistic grey and brown finishes, combined with soft neutral furnishings, laser cut jali patterns and colorful artwork create a luxurious, yet homely ambiance for this urban apartment.

15. Palkhi-Life as an Everyday Pilgrimage

This project by Tao Architecture has been defined as a Residence celebrating traditional Marathi roots while blending contemporary living patterns.

Set amidst the green cover of the Pune University, this duplex apartment is designed to resonate with the essence of the ‘Palkhi’, as a cultural symbol of the Maharashtrian festive procession towards the godly destination. The apartment incorporates green forest views in its surroundings and celebrates the generous daylight streaming through its openings, further enhancing the reflections from the textures and colors of familiar natural materials used to furnish the space.

The layout revolves around various interlinked living zones whereas the private rooms are tucked into the corners, visually linked by circulation corridors and open passages. Circles and curves are used in the layout marking identities of each zone. The foyer leads into the family living room, flowing fluidly toward the dining and open kitchen, and spreading visually to the recreational lounge and open passage on the upper level. Interactive elements like a jharokha and a sunset gallery extend outwards into the vertical volume overlooking the family space below, creating a bespoke interactive space. The connected open dining acts as a bonding space for everyday festivity. The floating folded plate staircase leads upward to a woven fabric wall artwork, inspiring the feeling of ascending toward a holy shrine. Tucked into the cozy corners of the home, the private bedrooms act as restful spaces accommodated for relaxation at the end of each day. Customized fixtures and furnishings allow a unique identity to each suite giving it the feeling of a cozy sanctuary in itself. The home entails diverse spatial, visual, tactile and auditory experiences through an exploration of traditional craftsmanship and natural materials, forming a subtle backdrop for the everyday celebration and festivities on the family’s collective spiritual journey.

Author

Jinal Shah is currently in her Fourth year of Bachelor’s in Interior Design at Cept University, India. She is presently pursuing her internship at BAMO Inc in San Francisco, USA. Being an avid traveler and curious explorer, her understanding for global design evolved as she spent one semester abroad studying as an exchange student at DAAP, University of Cincinnati, United States, attended design workshops around the world. She has always found herself on the Interior Architecture threshold, exploring volumes and connectivity, throughout all her academic projects.Jinal is an active (old school) learner and a firm believer that design is a deep blue sea and each one of us is merely sailing to find that just perfect dimension of a handrail. Details and minimalism appeal her along the path to function and simplicity in design.

1 Comment

  1. The Courtyard house in ahmednagar is truly distinctive. Two habitable masses joint by a semi open courtyard is very ethnic and unique in design.

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