Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar set up their independent design practice just over a year ago, after a successful stint at the renowned architectural firm- Sandeep Khosla and Associates. The name of their design consultancy, FADD, is in fact an acronym for ‘Farah and Dhaval Design’, although they also like to think of it as a play on the word ‘fad’.
Farah studied at Institution Marangoni in Milan and Dhaval pursued his design education at Rachana Sasand’s Academy of Architecture in Mumbai. Both met while working at Khosla Associates.
When asked about their design style, they are in unison as they affirm — “It is easy to stagnate into a style that becomes a firm’s identity. And we believe that having a singular style defies the purpose of design, which is to push beyond what we know, achieve something novel and unique in every project, and be constantly propelled out of our comfort zone into a world where we not only embrace new concepts and techniques but also create ‘fads’ of our own.”
Ever responsive to changing trends in the world of design and evolving frameworks to define concepts in an original manner, the duo also believes that sometimes a fresh perspective on tradition can give it a whole new meaning. Their focus is not just a distinctive style of their own but also the underlying threads of originality, freshness and creativity that weave their portfolio of work into an interesting design tapestry.
The project showcased in this feature belongs to an NRI. The 3-bedroom apartment was intended to serve as a holiday home, with all the comforts of a luxury hotel, and be in ‘plug and play mode’ as it were. The design brief given to Farah and Dhaval was a home that is chic, minimalist, and contemporary; in sharp contrast to the classical and opulent design of the client’s home in North America.
“Her brief to us was to do the opposite – to create a space that was modern and clean-lined with special emphasis that she must feel like she is walking into a stylishly designed hotel that has only the things she absolutely needs (in terms of furniture) for a short, convenient and hassle free stay in Bangalore.”
The client gave the FADD studio team considerable freedom to express their creativity and that allowed the designers to push the design envelope further, take some risks (that paid off) and create an integrated interior space that would be warm and welcoming. They did have a few challenges to begin with.
“The biggest challenge was to effortlessly integrate the beige marble floor (which came with the apartment) into our black and white concept for the sleek and contrasting look. “
Elegant high-back chairs coupled with a console grace the entryway and set against the gauze- like wallpapered wall is an interesting mirror that bounces the light off the modern chandelier at the entrance. A narrow passage connects the quasi-opulent foyer to the living and dining.
High ceilings, wall-to-wall glazing and discreet recessed lighting in the false ceiling serve to further accentuate the expanse of the space. The floor to ceiling drapes in a vivid newspaper print make for a bold statement while the modern white leather sofas by Ligne Roset have tufting detail to add an element of interest. The Scandinavian-styled sleek armchairs have a muted grey fabric with a pop of orange in the cushions; this serves as a subtle offset to the window treatment.
“Rust vintage rugs with a little distressed grey perfectly bridge the warmness of the beige marble floor with the cool starkness of the blacks and whites of the curtains and the furniture. Lots of different types of lights are used to create a variety of moods: the architectural lights create even tone; the back-lit laser cut ‘jali’ or cut-work on either side of the fixed window creates delicate shadows and the larger-than-life floor lamp emanates soft and romantic light effects.”
The bold lines of the dining table base that sits opposite the living area are kept in sharp focus, with blazing rust upholstered dining chairs to accompany them. Tufting is again a detail element here, while drama in brought in using three floor mirrors resting on the long wall, creating an illusion of space and doubling the natural light in the room. Again, lighting takes centre stage with pendant lights that have a curvaceous shape concurrent in the long leather sideboard that is the only other furniture in this room.
The bedrooms have less drama although luxury and comfort have been given much consideration in the private spaces; minimalist and modern with a large dose of luxury thrown in for good measure!
The lacquered furniture is simple and sleek, with upholstered headboards and elegant wallpaper creating the necessary ambience for indulgence and tranquillity.
The colour palettes are decidedly muted, but the overall look is nothing less than luxurious. The roman blinds reflect the sleek definitions in the overall décor and highlight the emphasis on quality workmanship that permeates the entire décor of the apartment.
“With minimalistic yet functional furniture, this apartment has the best of both worlds – the clean and neat look of a hotel as well as the personal touch and bespoke feel of a home.”