“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls” – Rabindranath Tagore
Mr. Dipen Gada, the principal designer and founder of the firm Dipen Gada & Associates (DGA), holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from M.S University, Vadodara, Gujarat. He always had keen inclination towards planning during his engineering studies. Initially, he aspired for knowledge and exposure which took him on a path of self-learning. His obsession to fulfill fundamental tactile and psychological needs, on the level of practicality and comfort appeared appealing to people.
Since its inception in 1993, DGA has evolved from an exclusive interior design firm to a civil and architectural planning firm and has attained the position as one of the most respectable and admired firms of India. Intense travelling, study and seminars have helped Gada to create a boutique identity of his practice. The focus of the firm has always been to put the best-foot-forward and create a space that would be recognized for its innovation, experience, architectural expression and timeless design.
Classic minimalism is followed and maintained in each project with a remarkable combination of architecture, art and design. DGA aims to leave an influence on the globe through responsive and responsible architecture. Special emphasis is given to design with respect to climate, contextual solutions, use of design fundamentals and appropriate use of materials. There is a constant search of exploring the uncharted and concluding beyond the conventional. At the end, Gada believes, any design effort should rejoice the essence of being human.
Recently in 2016, DGA has been recognised as one of the most influential names in Indian Architecture and Design by AD50, Architect & Interiors India Magazine as well as Construction & Architecture Update Magazine. The practice has won accolades from many eminent affiliations like IIID, A+D Spectrum foundation Architecture Awards, VM&RD Awards, Artist in Concrete Awards, Good homes Awards and many such others. Dipen Gada also headed as the Chairperson of IIID, Vadodara Chapter from the year 2006-2008.
Dipen shares with Gallopper, DGA’s project NIRAANT which is situated near a riverbank and is planned on Kotar (natural curved land) and later filled to achieve a desired terrain so that it weaves itself with its natural environment. Creation of an environment that would surrender to nature and remove one from the worries of the world, has been the design inspiration for this project.
The brief of the project was a retreat home with programmatic requirements of 2 bedrooms with a home theatre, a pool and a space to relax, mediate and get away from the routine. The concept of a single level home seemed appropriate as per the spread of the site and program of the farmhouse. This linear entity of a retreat house is designed keeping in the mind the concept of bold minimalism. The site is located in a place with extreme hot dry climate with average daytime temperatures of around 45 °C. It was therefore necessary to have a house, which offers a mild and pleasant climatic condition.
Dipen adds, “As one enters in the house, the glimpse of the entire linear house is visible. The living room with a view of the pool is furnished in vibrant colors and motifs. Next to it, the dining room and small compact kitchen are designed with unconventional interiors. Both the spaces are filled with lamps and lots of artwork, elevating the level of sophistication. A large sliding door in the home theatre provides a great view to the entire site and seamlessly extends the house into the outdoors. While the area around the swimming pool shows an inclination of being an introvert by disconnecting from the outside. Thus the house offers two contradicted environments that can be used as per the mood”.
Dipen asserts that, “The hot winds and sunlight of this region’s soaring summers on south-west facing plot was really a big challenge for the team”. The huge blank cavity wall facing the southwest is created for the purpose for protection of heat. This walls acts like a spine of the house. Narrow punchers on the western side welcomes the southwest fast flowing wind and air vents on skylights at the eastern corner while acting like an escape for the hot air. Thus the effective channeled air movement cools down the indoors. Adding to this, are green landscapes on the terrace that provides a buffer for the house. This passive-green building strategy gives a guarantee of a low-impact and low-maintenance structure. Thus the cavity wall offers a varied scenario to its outdoors as well as the indoors.
The wall also proposes a dialogue between open spaces and built up area by making a backdrop for art installation of human figures in different postures such as lying on an odd shaped cut-out, sitting on the slab, relaxing on the wooden deck, talking with nature or praising the weather depicting a feeling of relaxation. Dipen endures that these postures will surely draw one away from their worries and give them an enthusiasm for a happier life. The other art works in the entire house conveys a story and increases the charm of the space. The house with its bold minimalist expression stands firmly and praises this amalgamation of art and architecture.
Gada points out that the topography and the nature of the land of the surrounding was a big challenge to deal with. The clay was too soft to hold the structure. The structure had to be designed very carefully for stability.
The material usage is minimal and subtle with lots of experimentation. The color palette gives a right punch to the created atmosphere. Overall the house offers contemporary interiors with an Indian vernacular twist, which is a delight!