A TECHNICOLOR LIFE
A MUMBAI, INDIA HOME FOR BOLLYWOOD ELITE
WRITTEN BY KATHRYN O’SHEA-EVANS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE ORANGE LANE
No matter where you live, sometimes, the only way to make a house feel like home is to design it with your personality in mind. Take this property decorated for Irrfan Khan, a member of India’s glamorous Bollywood elite, and his family.
“The directive for this Mumbai home was to be a reflection of the personalities and mindsets of the creative people living in it,” says Shabnam Gupta, founder and principal designer at Mumbai, India-based design firm The Orange Lane. The fifth-floor residence, which overlooks the surrounding lush green mangroves feels ultra loft-like, thanks to its sweeping 3,670-square-foot floor plan with four bedrooms and five baths. “This space is aimed at bringing people in while keeping the hustle-bustle of the Mumbai life at bay. The Khans wanted to create a world of their own within the city.”
To that end, Gupta fitted every corner of the apartment with unexpected finds that are both surprising and inherently their locale—it’s as if Anthropologie took an Indian vacation. The most jaw-dropping among them: a Barbie-pink swing suspended in mid-air that takes pride of place in the living room. “The client being of a creative mind wanted his own spot in the living room where in he could interact with everyone and yet have his own corner,” says the designer. “A two-seater pink swing, hanging from [a] natural wood truss, became his favorite spot.” The swing also acts as a room divider, breaking the expansive space into disparate seating and entertaining areas. The ceiling above it, says Gupta, took on a life of its own. “The living room was inspired by garden spaces and has an exposed ceiling with a poetic floral light installation that almost makes it seem like a creeper has naturally clung to the slab and spread across the expanse.” The overall effect is pure delight.
“The aim of every space is to instill emotions and experiences,” says Gupta. Our idea for this space is to evoke a sense of serenity in the chaotic city life, a place to unwind, kick back and relax. Thus, making this the overall mood for the space. A home is a personal dream space, having been given the honor to design someone’s dream, I like to reflect into their personalities giving me a sense of how to bring that out in the home. The Khans, despite being Bollywood celebrities, are very grounded and in sync with earthy-ness. Thus, earthy tones and local materials add to the feel of the space.”
Gupta didn’t feel hemmed in by walls or ceilings—you’ll notice the decoration continues to that oft overlooked fifth wall. “I like to play and experiment with materials and colors,” she says. “We incorporated our creative outlook in elements like the art on the ceiling and murals on the wall. These not only lift the space but also instill a sense of attachment. . . . Art, in my opinion, creates a sense of intimacy with the space. It adds layers and texture to room while enhancing the mood.” Natural stone flooring indigenous to India—including sea-green polished and river-wash stone with brass inlay—acts as the perfect counterbalance. Mirrors used throughout the space reflect light and make the interior feel even more expansive than it is.
In the open-space living area, Gupta installed a fountain that imparts a spa-like tone into the atmosphere. “A deep-blue water body with the gentle sound of water overflowing from the urn placed at the center adds to the tranquility of the space,” she says. While it is tranquil, it’s the myriad rainbow hues that give this home its riveting energy. “Colors for me are the backbone that ties it together,” says Gupta. “Color is a universal language that imparts the desired feel.”
Three Reasons to Go Bespoke
For Shabnam Gupta, the beauty really is in the details. Here, she explains the logic behind hand-selecting storied pieces for this design that are anything but standard-issue.
Custom equals comfort. Mass-market finds can fill a room, sure, but they rarely imbue it with personality. “The space speaks a story of a journey,” she says. “Each piece of furniture and artifacts collected lovingly over a long span of time are displayed with great elegance.”
Source from artisans for a hand-collected vibe. “A lot of the furniture is from the Peacock Life (our online furniture store) and the rest have been sourced from various artisans in Jodhpur, giving the space an ethnic aura.” That hand-hewn quality makes guests and clients feel special just by being there.
The more intricate, the better. Elaborately carved wooden pieces, including mirrored screens and side tables, dot the interior of the project. “It is said God is in the detail! Designing for a couple who enjoy the intricate, we incorporated this love for detail in every nook and corner,” says Gupta.