“What inspired us today has changed to what inspired us yesterday”, says Simeen. With the collective professional experience that encompasses a wide array of design types, Riyaz Quraishi and Simeen Quraishi, the designer couple, have been behind fulfilling the dreams of many demanding clients.
“We travel extensively; and have been fortunate to see some of the works by masters like Frank Gehry and Norman Foster. Such works consciously inspire us with the sheer scale of the projects, the deft handling of the internal spaces, the over-lapping of the forms and the precision in execution. However, at a sub-conscious level, what lingers on and inspires, are the ordinarily beautiful things and quirky situations that we usually see on a day-to day basis”, she adds.
The villa is on a sea-facing plot in Bahrain. The client, who often entertained high profile guests at home, wanted to maximize the sea views. Cooking was a passion with the client and they wanted all extra kitchens and dining areas to be planned on the top most level, for an uninterrupted view of the Persian Gulf. The Master suite had to be a well-equipped, multi-functional, multi-spatial area, with the best view of the water. The architecture and interior spaces had to be modern, technologically advanced and seamless; privacy from neighbors and roads was a priority.
This home is designed on a linear plot, in the tony neighbourhood of Amwaj in Bahrain. The home had to be designed within the constraints of imposing boundary walls on two sides of the plot.. The two longer sides (south and north boundary walls) could thus have no windows and ventilation. Taking this as a challenge, the entire layout was directed towards views of the Persian Gulf. Cubical volumes were used randomly and intersected with cutouts, water bodies, courtyards and skylights; unsuspended within these two boundary walls.
The internal layout was planned with unhindered circulation. This way, every room is ensured a view of the sea, great light and ventilation. There are three floors with bedrooms for family and friends, a lavish lounge and a dining area.
The villa is planned and divided into three levels. It has two entrances, leading to the same level with car parking around landscaped gardens; and a formal lounge. Kitchen and dining are the main areas on the ground floor. A swimming pool with Jacuzzi and wooden deck are on the rear side of the villa facing the sea. The first floor has two bedrooms. A passage connects the two lavish master suites with a personal plunge pool, bathtub, lounge area with pantry and a large opening towards the water. The second floor consists of two bedrooms, a lounge area along with a bar and dining area.
The kitchen consists of cabinets along with a customized move able chimney, a tepanyaki projecting from a wall and seating arrangement at the terrace. All three levels are connected by means of a staircase and a lift. The focal point of this villa is the sea view from all the levels. Specks of colors are used in customized furniture and artifacts; keeping the basic canvas neutral in a combination of grey and white. One side of the walls is cladded with natural grey stone in shades of brown whereas the ceiling is pristine white and accented with wood in parts. Every room has visual and physical access to the outside. The furniture is Italian; rugs and lamps have been carefully handpicked. Old Bahrain street imagery is used as art on walls.
The emphasis has been on scale, proportions and integration; rather than on decoration.
Simeen adds, “Earlier our inspiration came from people, projects and places. Today the context of a situation in our lives inspire us. Perhaps tomorrow there will be very few things which will not inspire us.”