This holiday home in Alibag is in stark contrast to the tropical architecture that’s prevalent here.
A home should always mirror the owner’s personality. And this home in Alibaug does just that. The owner, Pavan Anand is a celebrated jewellery couturier with a global clientele. And few know that this connoisseur of luxury has keen interest in design and architecture. This comes through in this collaborative effort with the talented duo of Jasem Pirani and Huzefa Rangwala, MuseLAB. Flamboyant, opulent, this home is in stark contrast to the otherwise pared-back architecture of the Hamptons of Mumbai.
With not a hint of what lies beyond, you walk up to an image of yourself reflected in a champagne mirror standing freely in a bamboo grove. As the sleek surface swings open, you step through the delicate portal frame and you are given your first view of the striking structure nestled between earth, foliage and water. This home designed is akin to a jewel box. The first step you take toward the home along the black kadappa pathway are aglow with the warmth of the fire pit smouldering along your left. The linear form of the home is reflected in the quiet blue waters of the pool as it transparently unveils itself to all that look upon it, or so it seems.
The structure houses three bedrooms, a powder bath and the living room downstairs, and a master bedroom with an attached terrace upstairs, packed neatly into its slender form. The structural columns are all internalised within these spaces such that the exterior is an uninterrupted glass box that allows for complete transparency.
You make your way towards the living room, and as you do, to your right, what seemed like an unassuming block of concrete, reveals itself to be a cubist masterpiece created by artist Nirvair, that morphs in form with every step you take. You step across a kadappa threshold that seems to float in the reflective waters of the shallow pool that wraps around the space that you are about to enter, the living room. You stand under a cluster of dazzling illuminated copper and silver glass baubles, and with the sliding glass shutters pushed all the way back on all three sides, there is refreshing seamlessness between the inside and the outside. At the far end of the room, the lilac stone bar stands tall against a stylized mosaic made with black and clear mirrors. You make your way through the room, but before you reach the end, you are beckoned by the staircase unfolding to your right. You notice that the elements within the space, ranging from the tiling to the furniture were laid to complement the slight angularity of this staircase. You find yourself making your way up the staircase, a waterfall of patterned marble encased in jade green glass. The steps, awash in green-tinted light, lead to the master bedroom upstairs. A stoic room of black kadappa that houses a single, delicate metallic bed suspended from the ceiling. The attached terrace overlooks the site on three sides and also features a free-standing bar counter.
Back down in the living room, the mirror mosaic wall holds two doors, one leads to the powder room finished in the stunning amazonite stone, while the other conceals a corridor that grants access to the rest of the home. The floor of this corridor is finished in black kadappa which climbs onto the wall as a 3’ high dado which is punctuated by three openings that lead to the remaining three bedrooms. A strip of brass traces the outline of the dado and skirts around the black polished wood that frames the door openings. Sandwiched between the brass and the frame is a strip light that accentuates the openings by creating a glowing architrave. The ceiling of the corridor is adorned in deep red acrylic boxes suspended against a mirror backing that look fascinating by daylight but come alive unexpectedly at night and paint a radiant ruby colour into the experience of walking through the home.
The home is a cache of black and grey tones, ranging from the solid black of the staff quarters to the grey tones of the main linear structure itself. The rooms are finished in a reflective black kadappa and grey paint with a great degree of variation being introduced by orchestrating the laying and finishes of the kadappa stone. The greyscale palette acts as the perfect backdrop against which elements—like the jade green staircase, the red corridor and the individual bathrooms with their extravagant natural stone finishes—employ sudden bursts of colour to elevate the experience of the home.
Burnished brass and black finishes engage in a flirtatious juxtaposition throughout the home, as artful inlays in the flooring or climbing into door frames, intertwining with light to create portals, frames and leading lines as the occasion presents itself within the architecture. One such example of the interaction between brass and kadappa manifests in the faceted Kadappa wall that bookends the structure and stands guard to the massage area attached to the master bedroom at the most private and extreme end of the structure.
As stunning as it is though, the experience of this home was never meant to be restricted to the solid built form and so the landscapes of the site have been treated with just as much care and consideration with each one housing a unique insert of some kind. So, as you walk around the structure, you may find yourself engaging with any one of these spatial gems. You may make your way to the zen garden, where the rocks have been mindfully placed to create a stone bench and a space for peace and quiet. Standing at the knife-edge of the pool deck you might gaze upon the reflection of yourself and the home behind you, fragmented by the polished chrome installation placed in the lawn. You may make your way through the arching path of the reflective installation and be directed toward the dining pavilion that stands independent of the main structure in a reflective pool of its own, invited by a meal laid out on the teal-coloured amazonite table reflected in the many facets of the bespoke deep red canopy designed by mutation lab that hangs above it.
You may also circle around to the other side of the structure to the open-to-sky patio in the shadow of the jade green staircase and seat yourself around the fire pit upon onyx stools that begin to emit a soft glow from within as you settle in for an evening of warmth, anecdotes and interactions. Even the trees play a part in several different ways, layering up to create impenetrable screens in some places, and clumping together to form sculptural groves in others.
Be it night or day when you happen to come upon this property, the experience is curated to shift and engage you in the most extravagant and unforgettable manner right from the very minutest of details.
The site is located in the Dhokawade region, a short 20-minute drive from the Mandwa jetty. It is an introverted site that does not really overlook onto views. The topography is fairly flat; it is flanked by fields on two sides and narrow village roads on the other two sides. A few large trees on the northern part of the plot, the eastern fringe and the south-east corner act as guardians to this plot that stands isolated yet fairly connected.
The client brief was to not create a holiday home like the rest of the homes in Alibag. While Alibag is the Hamptons of Mumbai, Pavan was clear that he wanted to bring the Hamptons to Alibag in the real sense of the word. He wanted the home to redefine the very meaning of luxury. It had to be a glass box, where every element is inside the house and in the manicured outdoor areas had to be curated, contextualised and designed to amplify the user experience.
About the Architects
MuseLAB is an end-to-end design studio; offering a bespoke and leading-edge approach to design. With a precise focus on unique and highly customized environments, interiors and furniture. In 2012 partners Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani founded the studio built upon their shared passion for design. Each space and or product embodies integrity and is created with the same care, skill and attention to detail.
Client: Pavan Anand
Co-architect, interior architects and landscape design: MuseLAB
Design team: Huzefa Rangwala, Jasem Pirani and Aishwarya Lakhani
Concept: Pavan Anand
Consultants: Shahnawaz (Structural); Hitesh and Niwas Bhagat (Civil, Interiors Contractors and MEP Consultants); Suraj and Omkar (Pool); Arctic Team (HVAC); Nitish (Sound)
Collaborators: Dining Pavilion Installation: Mutation Lab Cubist Art Scultpture: Nirvaiir Nath
Corridor Ruby Red Installation: Good Luck Glass
Furniture built by: Living Spaces and Mass Interiors
Horticulturist: Rahul Harishchandra
Built-up area: 6000sq ft
Year of completion: 2020