Architects: Studio Crypt
Location: Golf Course Extension Road, Gurgaon, India
Area: 6,000 sf
Photographs by: Mandeep Singh Bains
Markat by Studio Crypt
Spread across a splendid 6000 square feet, ‘Markat’, is a serene home designed for a couple at the brink of settling down in their latter half for a peaceful retirement life. The residence skilfuly incorporates indigenous art forms as a part of its architecture and space layout. Responding to the client’s affinity for the exquisite traditional, the choice of materials was bent towards vernacular low maintenance finishes. The brief was simple- Luxury is important, but comfort is key. The idea was to live and maintain a home, not a hotel. Studio Crypt is dedicated to offering integrated sustainable-luxury- exclusive design solutions by minimizing consumption, increasing efficiency, reducing wastage, promoting local arts & craftsmen. Through a series of projects, the team has established the equilibrium of creating versatile statements- and sustainable designs within financial limitations. In terms of planning, the furniture layout & design of spaces depicts simplicity & understated grandeur.
Just like an emerald symbolizes royalty, eloquence, and foresight, the ‘Markat’ residence is an array of distinguished local artisanal craftsmanship. Each embellishment has a story & its purchase is closely associated to the client’s heart. Of the two floors, the lower floor comprises public gathering and guest areas, both formal & informal, overlooking the shaded pool deck. It also has the functional heart i.e. the kitchen, facilitated by an expansive utility pantry. The upper floor consists of private chambers and sunlit balconies.
As one enters ‘Markat’, the wall across the entrance door is adorned in stunning Lippan and Sheesha artwork by a Gujarati artisan. Taking 3 months to come to life, it provides a gleaming & eloquent backdrop to the Radha- Krishna Makrana marble deity, that has lived with the client for over 15 years, sourced on a quaint trip to the famous Jaipur Marble market. The living room is a magnificent double-height space that is humbled by the choice of furniture sizing. The smaller, more comfortable proportions, render the space to be awe inspiringly ‘larger than life’. What beholds the attention of the onlookers is the visually striking Bastar artwork panels adorning the stark white backdrop. An additional inbuilt seating covered in emerald green marble forms a baseline to the artwork. The Bastar art work was commissioned to an artisan family in the Village of Bastar, Chhattisgarh, who spent their spring & summer of ’19 mornings beating metal into figurines and shapes. All of 12 panels, each tells a mythological tale sacrosanct to the hinterland of Bastar. A folklore song is usually narrated describing the story on each panel. Careful curation of reclaimed- refurbished furniture ensures reuse of old otherwise discarded pieces, leading to negligible exploitation of natural resources on the project.
The Dining & Living rooms are segregated by a hallway featuring the study. The table, a period piece, was a lady’s dresser unit and is now equipped with electrical points to make for a compact workstation. Veiling the workstation is the Glazed ceramic jaali partition, forming a picture-perfect frame towards the Bastar artwork in the Living room beyond. A square room profile automatically dictated the dining of six to be circular. The detailed fruit & vegetable carvings on the leg of the reclaimed table are highlighted by a Golden embossed dome light (reminiscent from a production line for a temple). The table doubles up for Poker & cards every autumn for Diwali. Hiding shelves of pantry goodies, the Kitchen shutters behold a riot of colors. The architects gave out each shutter panel to different artisans from Jodhpur, giving a standard instruction of painting florals. Since there was no restriction on colors, one sees peculiar tones of olive, fuschia and teal together on the strangely comforting Kitchen canvas.
Further on, a small prayer & meditation room can be seen in a niche under the staircase. It is cordoned off from the main passage with a metal door encasing stained glass, adding a colorful aura in the enclosed sanctum. The private chambers on the upper floor are awe-inspiring spaces, exuding both grace & extravagance. Upon entering the master bedroom, one views themselves in a Regal- Rani mirror. The eyes further move towards the Maharaja four-poster bed, which frames and draws focus to three intricate Madhubani art pieces on the wall. Sure of stone, a hardy limestone was laid out as flooring in its raw buffed form, leaving the natural veins & embedded fossils to stand out. The children’s rooms continue to explore the Vernacular Palette, with floorings in bright colors of IPS, executed by skilled craftsmen. An element of interest is reflected in the skirtings which are machine cut 2D ceramic glazed tiles running in contrast to the colors of the floor. The rooms are adorned with handicraft leather lamps & Madhubani paintings. The lounge, essentially meant for relaxation, is finished in limestone flooring as well, adding to the comfortable vibe. All washrooms are appropriately sized with complementing fitting, and are uniformly clad in matt- finish- neutral color tiles, ornate mirrors & glimmering lights.
All rooms are naturally lit, with large glazing looking onto individual balconies. In order to retain the actual scale & height of spaces, no false ceilings were added. Energy efficiency being key, all private spaces have conventional LED fixtures in place. Design lights were provided only in the Public areas- both Living & Dining. The circulation galleries on both floors overlook an internal courtyard, highlighted with black metal French balconies, initially added for protection, and also double up to hold planters.
Elaborating on the color scheme of the residence, the intentional plaintiff white walls are a background to many dying glorious arts. The color Markat (or Emerald green in Sanskrit, symbolizing harmony, balance with nature, and also the owner’s birthstone) makes a constant yet discreet presence around various elements of the interiors. The dark green color can be seen on the double-height background wall of the Baithak Living room and the glazed jaali that segregates spaces. Emerald is also the factory finish color of the Low-E material board used to make all inbuilt cupboards and cabinets. It is also the omnipresent color of the limestone complemented by tones of ochre fossils, & bright primaries of Red & Yellow in the IPS flooring. The fabrics around the house are lightweight single layer florals on neutrals and an exalting rhubarb on customized muslin, contrasting the green tones across the living room.
‘Markat’ adds indescribable magic to the sunset and moonrise when viewed from the almost fort-like appeal of the master bedroom. The natural greens are judiciously allowed to flow carefully into the house on black steel hangers, keeping intact the glistening preciousness, exquisiteness, and sparkle of the Markat especially at its peak in the vivid North Indian Monsoon. The life-size openings allow the inhabitants to acquire any private corner and be delighted to have exceptional green views on both the east compound grounds and the west pool deck.
With its traditional design and visually-stunning aesthetics, Markat dazzles & shines incessantly, just like the gem it’s named after.
-Project description and images by Studio Crypt