“God lies in the details.” – Mies Van Der Rohe.

What did he exactly mean by this? If we look at some of the architect’s masterpieces, they reveal the honest nature of his architecture that elevates our perception and gives us clarity towards the space. While details can do such wonders to architects and designers, what purpose does it serve to the common users of the space? Does it really make any difference to them, or does it appear all the same? 

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The Details_©Quang Dam

Let us understand it with some common, every-day examples.

The Home for a Woman

Women are mostly associated with houses, especially in Indian culture. Starting their day in the kitchen and ending the day in the same, spare time gets spent on the terrace or in the puja room, or in the verandah on a leisure chair. Paradoxically, they have very little to do with the house design when they are the primary users of the space. Therefore, many women have complaints against the organization and orientation of accessories in their house, which inhibits their ease of working.

Small Details- Big Problems:

Meera’s mother is a very enthusiastic cook, but she gets disappointed every time she enters the kitchen. The height of the countertop is not according to her height. Also, she has to struggle whenever she reaches out for the exotic masalas that are kept on the top shelf of the wall cabinet. I bet you have also come across similar stories of some of your relatives. The issue is not only restricted to the kitchen. Still, it spans over tiny details of every household, and the problem lies in the norms of architectural design people tend to believe in as standards.

Let me tell you what! There is nothing called standard dimensions in the case of residential design. A residence is a reflection of the owners’ lifestyle, choices, and chores. It dictates a unique personality and narrates the story of mundane jobs being performed there. Therefore, it should be very personal, distinct, and user-specific. 

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The Kitchen_©ranjeet_lathawade

The Loo Problem:

In line with the countertop difficulty, here comes another problem; the loo problem. 

Corentin hates, rather, gets worried about using her washroom, especially when there are guests at home. She can not come out from the loo freely since her washroom doors open towards the glass wall of the room, which looks over the double-height living room. In place of making it look fancy and stylish, the glass wall was a clear blunder. The purpose of having a glass wall was to flood the room with natural light and establish a visual relationship with the rest of the house. Instead, the beauty costs double in terms of functionality.

For that reason, it is always suggested to balance aesthetics and function in a design. A well-planned space is a space that follows the basic needs of the users besides providing a sense of tasteful appeal.  

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The Glass Wall

The Bed Theory:

Krishna is a middle-aged woman who loves doing the household work alone. But, as time passed by, she got irritated with the amount of dust accumulated underneath her bed. It is really strenuous for such a person to have knee problems, and Krishna is no exception. She has to bend every time to wipe out the dust from under the bed, and indeed it is painful. As a perfect solution to it, her husband replaced the old one with a fixed masonry-built bed. Since there is no gap, it doesn’t let any dust accumulate underneath, thus making Krishna’s life much easier.

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The Fixed Bed_©Ana White

What did we learn from all these three examples? 

Architecture is not rocket science. Its foundation is pure logic and understanding the needs of the users of a particular space. For that matter, does architecture really call for architects or can it be done by anyone like Krishna’s husband?

Honestly, we need architects to pay attention to every nook and corner that may have a great impact on the users and that we often overlook.

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The Importance of Architects_©Jino Sam

For example, in Siddhartha House, Kerala, designed by the sought-after architect Shankara, the handles of the kitchen cabinets are designed as the replica of lizards. It does not create a huge impact on the daily users of the space or the outside viewers but is definitely an element worth looking at and spending some time thinking about what drove the architect to create such art for a simple thing. 

Here is the magic of architecture and the charm of an architect. When the sunlight falls on those lizard-shaped bronze finished handles from an angle, they shine at parts and cast a shadow on the rustic wooden furniture against them. The drama creates inside the kitchen, be it small in scale, but this is a cut above the rest that makes the kitchen very special and personal to the daily users.

The Home for All

Our surroundings play a huge role in our cognitive mind, both in the manner of negative and positive. It is an architect’s or a designer’s role to create both the built and unbuilt environment in such a manner that eases the users’ movements and aspires them to work. On this account, the world calls for architects, those who make structures and spaces that are both efficient in functionality and evoke the feeling of nostalgia and belonging. 

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Home For All_©Anand Jano, Jinu, Midhu

Ranjinee believes the pen is mightier than the sword. Thus, she tries to bring the verities to the world by stitching her soul into the fabric of words. Making it to the ground, she is always on her toes to plunge into new deals to discover the intricate folds of life.