Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 88: Our building material palette!

Here is a graphic that lays out the dominant textures at Nivim Goa. All mostly natural selected to make the house a variation of the nature surrounding it and not stick out like an aberration.

Read about more our interior finishes in the last project update.

Continue reading more updates for the project.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rural retreat in Sikkim

I recently stumbled upon this gorgeous rural retreat in Sikkim and thought I should share. The retreat is spread over 4000 sq.m. of land area and utilizes traditional building techniques while following a very modern design aesthetic. I really enjoyed these. Designed by Mancini Enterprises, photos courtesy

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 87: Introduction to interior finishes and flooring

Living room and front verandah with black kuddapuh stone flooring, exposed basalt stone and wood, our predominant interior material palette with the natural green outside

Last few months, with majority of the woodwork out of the way, while polishers polish the lovely wood, we have been busy with the various flooring and stone cladding details. This also works with the on-going monsoons that limit our ability to work outdoors.

For our interiors, we wanted to continue with the contemporary tropical style of the house and provide finishes that are earthy, natural while still being streamlined and modern. In synergy with the house's concept of 'reconnecting with nature', the interior finishes are designed to have varying textures that can be seen visually and felt upon touch. We also wanted to have similar finishes indoors and outdoors such that the verandahs and courtyards feel like an extension of the interior rooms. Lastly, since we already have the exposed basalt walls, the wood screens and wood/ glass doors, we wanted to keep the finishes simple. Famous architect Meis van de Rohe said 'Less is more'. We truly believe that it is very easy to over-design, and the real excellence in design is achieved by exercising constraint, when a designer can do just enough to make things close to perfect and not over-embellish in an attempt to be safe. I have to at this point also quote Coco Chanel, who famously said that 'when accessorizing, always take off the last thing that you put on'.

Following this direction, we chose to keep our interior palette simple and limited to natural stone, wood, some metal (brass and steel), exposed cement and white paint. The grey cement and white paint finishes are meant to provide a canvas for the furniture, interior lighting, wall art and other accessories without over-crowding the room with too many elements demanding attention. We also steered clear of using imported stone or tiles as we preferred to use locally available materials that require considerably less energy use in transportation.

View of the living room with black kuddapuh flooring while carpenters polish the screen doors in the space
For flooring in the living room, we have chosen black polished kaddapuh (a widely available local stone) that extends to the living room verandahs, only here the stone is left in rough finish. So visually it looks like the same space but there is slight difference in texture if one choses to walk barefoot. (A side note about the whole 'walking barefoot' connotation, we have designed Nivim with the thought that the residents would use the space to slow down from the daily city craziness, and allow the space to offer inspiration, calm and happiness…) The black floor in the living room is dramatic and the smooth polish finish will provide the perfect backdrop for the oversize furniture pieces that this grand space demands.

View of the newly finished grey IPS flooring in the bedroom against the exposed basalt stone and wood
In the bedrooms, each room has one exposed basalt stone wall and two walls with wood screens and glass sliding doors. Hence, we have kept our floors simple with grey IPS in the ground floor bedrooms and yellow in the master bedrooms. The IPS cement floors are earthy that stay cool, require little maintenance and age beautifully overtime. To add a modern edge, we have chosen to inlay brass strips into the floor. These strips criss-cross the rooms in seemingly random directions providing a playful little detail along with the touch of additional luxury through the addition of metallic gold.

Detail of the brass inlay in the IPS cement flooring in bedrooms
The bathrooms are a composition in rough kadapuh, IPS cement, glass and planted exterior courtyards. These require a separate post which will follow soon. Until then enjoy some photos of other jobs being completed on-site. Cheers !

Polishing the living room fixed screens
Hanging the sliding doors in the living room
Rear verandah of the living room 
Detail of the old laterite wall from the original structure that has been preserved as a backdrop for the living room and as a homage to the history of the site

Continue reading more updates for the project.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Renzo Piano on buildings and architecture

Initial Sketch, Pompidou Center, 1971-78, Piano & Rogers (Source:

Renzo Piano is the architect of hands-down my most favorite building in Paris, the George Pompidou Center (sorry Mr. Nouvel, I love your buildings too..).

Watch the video below as he describes what architecture means to him. Truly inspiring when he says, 'architecture is the way to answer practical needs; but architecture is only architecture when it answers to all sorts of desires.' Also that architecture can change the world. And further in the interview, that the inspiring element of 21st century will be energy and sustainability... and that sustainability should be looked at as a new and positive opportunity for buildings and young professionals.

Click on link to watch Video Part I and II, courtesy

Saturday, September 1, 2012

House in Iporanga: Another Brazilian Knockout

This house is called “House in Iporanga” located at Iporanga, Brazil just outside of Sao Paolo. This beauty is designed by Studio Arther Casas as the architect's own residence.

We love love love this house. Once again the openness of the living room is something that resonates closely with our design concept for Nivim. The double height adds to that openness along with openable front and back glass walls that connect with the tropical forest surrounding the house. the architect envisioned this house to be a place to recharge his energies and be close to forest.

In the exteriors, the simple clean lines along with the use of wood and glass presents a building that embodies the tropical contemporary building style.

The interiors are kept minimal to keep the focus on the powerful space and the forest outside. Just looking at the pictures makes me feel calmer, I am sure being in the space would so much more serene and enlightening... Enjoy more lovely photos below and keep in mind that we are striving to achieve a similar impact with the living room space at Nivim ! (Photos of our space coming soon)


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