J183 : Apartment for film makers

“May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect.” Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.


Name of the project, location – J183 : Apartment for film makers

Built-up area – 1400 sq ft

Year of completion – 2012

With its silver porcelano cement mixed sea-shells floors and curved Delhi quartzite wall, J183 is a testament of ‘transitive perfection’. This renovation project of an apartment, part of a multi storied complex, treats perfection as a double-edged sword; as an elusive, fleeting goal. Though perfection is an end point, it exists only for a brief moment. This quality of timelessness and transience is captured in the fluid and continuous- sometime stone, sometime rough brick and sometime glass ceiling- surfaces,which capture the spatial volume of the house. Through a play of sunlight and skylight, light reflects on some materials and forms on a shadow on others, portraying a shadow sculpture that is perfect, when the time is right.

It is this same search of elusive perfection that shrouds the spaces of this 1300 sq ft apartment with a mysterious drama and a sense of suspense. Be it the long curving stone wall passages, the cantilevered RCC steps rising for the hydraulic glass roof, or the innocent and pristine Kashmir white kitchen otta of its open kitchen, the house is perceived like a suspended drama, rousing a sense of anticipation and yet a feeling of pleasurable satisfaction.

And it is no doubt, for the inhabitants, husband-wife wildlife filmmakers, live a nontraditional, un-domesticated lifestyle that has come to include the natural environment, from the strategically located slit windows, the use of local materials, recycled and salvaged wood, cast-in situ terrazzo and rainwater harvesting through drains that channelize water directed to a planter box in the living room. The house has built-in furniture and stone beds, an air of being outdoors in an exclusive forest resort. The residents even grow food in their kitchen garden.

But this house was built for more than an organic existence; it was built as a narrative in expectation.The house, with its built-in unpredictability was designed for the unborn child of the couple. Suspense is an important building block in a child’s development, stimulating her to question, to be bolder, equipping her with the ability to deal with the obscurity and the uncertainty of the future. The poetics of the Delhi quartzite stone, the light and shadow play that immerses a rare fictional story-telling quality into the curving corridors and rising steps, elevates the child’s and indeed the family’s extraversion and openness.