The ultimate test: designing a first home as new partners in business and marriage.
Working within a 25 year old apartment to create a contemporary studio flat on a shoe-string budget was a challenge to begin with. Especially since the earlier planning conformed to a time when several aspects that we take for granted today, didn’t seem so important.
The spatial planning was arrived at from an understanding of both the existing structure and services. A pragmatic approach to the space led to the dismantling of walls and the creation of an open plan that would embrace the multi layered brief.
The essence of designing our home was to create an exciting urban retreat, one that would allow a youthful lifestyle to coexist within the chaos of the metropolis. A space that could transform and multi-task, giving exceptional value for money without compromising on the atmospherics.
We are a ‘couple’ of clichés.
Met at architecture school, worlds apart, pursued a secret romance, had two weddings on the same day – one in a church and one in a temple. Set up a home in Bangalore, and quite predictably, a studio together called 1Leapingfrog
As soon as ILEAPINGFROG was born, the clichés ended.
We soon realised, as in life and love, the pratice of architecture as a couple is riddled by complexities of the mind, heart and the ego. In all these endeavours , we must take great risks if we are to fall and remainin love with each other and our work. At times the risk can seem too great, almost insurmountable, but the joy of overcoming them only fortifies our bond.
On our very first project, we were caught in the strange situations that deign decisions and site throw at you. Only this time we dealt with them collectively. Theoretically that should be easier… not at all. It was anything but. As our collective ideas, experience or the lack of, and insecurities collided, it became abundantly clear that thedynamics of a personal relationship and a professional one are very different. By the time we finished our home, we had more heated debates, negotiations, decisions, internal turmoil and doubts than life had thrown at us in our few years of togetherness – and we absolutely loved it. The outcome was a home that was truly us, a space that encompassed our desires and demons, our joys and despair. The young frog had grown though leaps and bounds. We were so much more aware of each other, so much more sensitive. As the line between the personal and professional blurred we leant to respect each others’ creative territory.
‘Space’ remains a magical notion for us. We try to treat it without bias, giving each idea a chance to evolve into something larger than who we are. We bring to each project our collective consciousness – poetry, music, food, movies, art, travel, love, loss, memories, friendships and life itself. These have been our inspirations, especially in those moments of turmoil that haunt any designer, young and old alike.
We would like to be known as people who come up with good ideas and then oversee execution to perfection, be it for a building or a city, a living room or the backyard, or just about anything. That is after all, the underlying thread that connects us all – the seduction of a good idea! We only hope we don’t stop making mistakes, taking risks and living with doubt. In the few projects that we have finished we have tried to be brave, bold, young and most of all, honest. Of course, the burden of practice is upon us all, but we have tried to shed this weight.
Our projects reiterate these intentions and beliefs.
Our design process is always firmly grounded as well as intuitive. We try to balance the functional aspects of the brief with the intangible and Work with a conscious restraint. A deliberate attempt is made to work with varying levels of abstractness and ambiguity. With a lot of our brain-storming happening on site, the process itself is very organic and we constantly improvise as the space evolves.
We Work with very passionate carpenters and contractors, and the space finally achieved its atmosphere through their level of commitment and dedication. Our discourse with the client is also integral to negotiating both the brief and the site. As a rule we allow as many inputs as possible to enrich the design experience, after all, you never know where the next big idea may come from.