Located in the plush suburbs of Gurugram in NCR, Elevate is a co-venture housing project marking the collaboration of Hines and Conscient, two major league developers in the Indian real estate sector. Spread across an area of about 10,000 sq.ft., the design scope comprised architecture, interiors, landscaping and FFE, skillfully realised by Studio IAAD.
The holistic design brief allowed for a versatile and flexible intervention; the idea was to 'elevate' the person entering the condominiums from the chaos of the noisy world's frantic pace to a quieter, peaceful space where they can relax and take a breath of fresh air. The biophilic approach, a signature of Studio IAAD's brand, nurture an intimate connection of the user with nature without foregoing modern comforts, whilst employing greenery as a buffer to mute the clangour of the cosmopolitan city, enabling well-being.
Nestled in a forest-like setting, the approach to the house evokes tranquillity. The visitor is greeted with a narrow pathway on entry, wrapped in an enclosing thicket of overarching trees. It trails up to a circular courtyard with a sculpture at its nucleus, that embodies the aesthetics of grace, harmony and serenity. This courtyard connects to the building through a dynamic walkway peppered with abundant tropical trees and blossoming petunia flower beds on either side, activating the pedestrian experience and crafting a blissful forest-like environment. Encompassed with green canopies, the building seems to emerge from the verdant landscape, akin to the trees that surround it.
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Steeped in a contemporary theme, the design also incorporates elements of rustic simplicity and European aesthetics in the interiors. The structure metaphorically manifests itself as a glass box at the ground level, wrapped in transparent ribbons of glazing and holding up the levitating opaque mass that houses the private enclosed spaces on top. The expansive glass walls offer unhindered views of the scenic splendour around, enriching the visual experience. A sleek metal skeleton supports the structure, framing the glass facade and giving it a modern edge, thereby eliminating the need for boxy columns. An open courtyard, which forms the nexus of the project, creates a niche in the building mass, dividing it into two distinct parts that remain visually connected. Multiple human-form sculptures by Mukul Goyal adorn the courtyard space with their faces directed towards the sky, representing the notion of being liberated and 'elevated'.
Within the main dwelling, the ground floor accommodates the experience centre, a lounge, a café, and the audio-visual room, leading up to the show apartment, kids’ room, lounge and meeting rooms at the top level. The seating spaces of the reception, outdoor deck, café, and lounge are arranged around the central courtyard, in a continuous dialogue with each other and the infinite open sky. The spaces flow seamlessly into one another, enabling a gradual unwinding of the sensory experience. Careful planning allows for the optimisation of spaces and easy access to commodious rooms. The audio-visual room is a theatrical experience that allows visitors to watch a movie when the screen is down and reveals the model room as the screen lifts, unravelling an extra dimension.
For experience centres, it is imperative to hold the visitor's attention, so the spaces have been designed cohesively with this intent in mind. A specially designed kids’ room allows young families to explore the building in uninterrupted peace while their kids indulge in recreational activities. The staircase is designed using opulent chandeliers to guide visitors from the lifts to the stairs to make the ascent a part of the enchanting experience.
The three-bedroom show apartment is finished in inconspicuous, neutral tones and materials, allowing potential home-buyers to layer their personalities onto the house. Each user can relate to their own space, making it a unique selling point for the apartment. Taking a cue from the natural surroundings, a soothing play of textures by ribbed wooden cladding and mirror panelling in subdued browns form the highlight of the living room, accentuated by flooring and furniture in pristine white. A wrap-around balcony connects two bedrooms and a corner of the living room, creating a sizable spill-out space for relaxation and recreation, enabling transcendence into the enveloping quietude.
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A juxtaposition of coarse and fine; awe-inspiring artworks adorn the walls of the house, leaving a lasting impression on the minds of visitors. The artistry, combined with carpets and lighting accessories in fresh and vibrant hues, creates a warm and welcoming vibe, constituting a harmonious whole that exceeds the sum of its parts. A view gallery outside the apartment frames the sylvan panoramic vistas beneath the blue banner of the sky, acting as the epitome of the experience of 'Elevate' housing.
Many accessories, including lighting fixtures and furniture, have been reused from a previous project, facilitating a sustainable approach to waste management. The sculptures will also become a part of the landscape in the housing project. Concentric cut-outs in the ceiling are designed to achieve a minimal yet elegant look, integrating both HVAC and lighting services into one. The structure is designed with metal, glass and wood as principal materials for quick construction, deconstruction and reuse.
The design corroborates a dialogue between the experience centre and the show apartments through a similar theme and vocabulary. Envisioned as a boutique hotel, the building breaks away from the common treatment of experience centres as an afterthought to housing developments. The ethereal slow-burn experience compels visitors to sit and ponder, escaping into the forest's therapeutic solitude, away from the outer world, becoming a tranquil haven that people want to connect to, engage with and inhabit.