Home Review Magazine - Casa BRIO
‘Casa BRIO’ is a masterpiece of intelligent space usage and clutter-free, multi-purpose interior designing. Space constraint has become as synonymous with Mumbai as vada pav. It has become somewhat of a blessing in disguise for designers and architects too, pushed as they are to re-imagine the limits of their creativity to realise projects in the city. Shefali Balwani and Robert Verrijt of the Mumbai-based firm, Architecture BRIO, came face-to-face with this challenge when designing their 7th floor apartment located amidst the bustle of Bandra.
They had to turn 80 sq m of precious space into their dream home. “The floor plan was a clean slate with only external columns. In that sense we had complete flexibility to rearrange spaces and look at it as a blank canvas. The challenge was really how to connect the apartment with the park in front. We love nature and the outdoors. But how do you connect with the surroundings in an urban setting? You’d like to open up the apartment to the view but at times, you’d also like to isolate yourself from all the noise and dust. It’s something that most people struggle with and we solved it here by designing windows that can completely disappear into the walls when you don’t want them,” say the architects.
Purportedly, the home had to be minimal, classy, and devoid of clutter while of course also accommodating all the essentials. And for the benefit of their young daughter, it also had to be fun, with a bit of colour and whimsy. These are fairly common, reasonably divergent expectations a family demands from a home. Besides the BRIO duo had professional experience to their advantage.
As a result they have used their collective mettle to create a home whose different sections play hide-and-seek with a viewer. As the architects put it themselves, “by opening and closing, sliding and folding it up, the home is restructured, expanded, fragmented, connected or isolated.” The brilliance of the space division here indeed is in the extremely thoughtful detailing.
Practically every wall space, nook and surface have been put to multiple uses. The storage segments double up as partitions, and sliding doors crop up wherever walls’ underbellies have to be covered up to form an unbroken surface. “We liked the idea of designing elements that look different from what they actually are. So, for example, the yellow-stained birch ply bookshelf is actually a wall and it also hides a secret door that leads to the master bathroom. Or, behind the master bedroom, a graphite stained birch plywood wall hides a his-and-her walk-in wardrobe, and even a shaving sink. Or, on a different scale, the electrical points for example don’t appear like the usual white plates with switches but are actually customised with just a metal toggle placed on the timber wall.”Casa BRIO is what all homes should be – warm, spacious, green inside and out, modern, prosperous, and, capable of pulling off magic tricks.