Architect ColumnFeature

Of Shimmers and Symmetry

Text by Jahanara Tariq

When we think of the aesthetics emitting from the “Local meets Global” cult in design, the scene is associated with Boho-Chic in street-fashion and rustic polishes and rough finishes in interior and architecture. The Modern Cave, designed to perfection by Architect Chowdhury Farah Zaki and her friend Architect Imran Hasan however subverts all our expectations and makes an excellent entrance in the world of sustainability not through designs dipped in alternative waves or folkloric tones but that which is bathed in an unabashed sense of allure and indulgence; yet being etched through and through with the quintessential elegance of mid-century modernism.

Spanned over 1200 sq. ft. of space, this lounge contains a drawn-out and asymmetrical settee, a tall table finished with bar stools, a square shaped divan covered in a mass of handsome black leather and a couple of conventional armchairs – all sewn together atop a mix of tiled and wooden floor to create a nous of symmetrical harmony.

In conversation about the materials used in carving out the spirit of the cave, Zaki talked about the expectations of the client, mentioning that they desired a family living space that is not carved out of superficiality or sense of deluxe but one that was painted in shades of pastoral. Even though upon first glance, this may seem to be contradictory to the aesthetic of lounge, examining the materials and their origins gives one the idea that the designer really stuck to earthy tones and local textures to give a more countrified finishing to the whole set up. Zaki talks of her use of copper as a “friendly metal” to construct the magnificent showpieces adorning the walls of the room. She further mentions how the team had to take a sojourn to Nawabpur in order to collect the paraphernalia and then trip back to Bhatara to get it all molded into the avant-garde tour de forces. This anecdote even adds a seam of storytelling to the project; that of tradition and one’s roots peering through in their art. Though the straight cut lines, angular edges and minimal décor exudes a sense of erudite élan— the use of caramel hued wood, shades of brown and beige and the monochromatic tones add the perfect sense of deep calm and ends up grounding the whole place, as well.

The star of the whole setup however definitely has to be the aforementioned table. In a sea of alabaster and raven, the structure is the pop of color – being a shade of lemon green neon. It not only brings the rightful doze of zany exuberance to the space but also just the right amount of adventure. Another brilliant aspect of the lounge is the assortment of lights. Zaki avoided using harsh lights and instead resorted to using warm shades of yellow to illuminate the den. What was truly praiseworthy and added a youthful quirk to the room, was the studded roofs and walls from which bright light flew in in powdery shimmer.

This shenanigan of romantic luminescence and the neon laced table truly captures the marveling versatility of the artiste.

The designer talked to us about the room being an extension of the allure of the primitive cave – a family “den” so to speak. Though this may not be instantaneously visible when it comes to structure, in the displays of urbane ornamentation, the concept however may be seen to be strewn across the various details of the place; starting from the starry light formations, the use of earthy colors and bucolic schemes. If form follows function, Zaki’s composition of course follows function but perhaps, bows down to no isms but that of the aesthetics.

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