A Japandi-Inspired Home In Pune Exudes Functional And Calming Aesthetics

Clean lines, neutral wall finishes and richly textured fabrics define the minimalist interiors of this home in Pune designed by Salonee and Ayush Gangwal of Alkesh Gangwal & Associates.

  • 17 Jun '24
  • 6:19 pm by Beverly Pereira

In the much-vaunted residential area of Kharadi, an active business and IT hub in Pune sits a 3,000-sq-ft apartment centred on the idea of serenity. Its neutral palette and clutter-free ambience play to the senses, serving as conduits for moments of calm. “Our aim was not to overwhelm the senses, but to provide havens of retreat and tranquillity, shutting out the city’s hustle,” say design leads Salonee and Ayush Gangwal of the Pune– and Aurangabad-based architecture and interior design studio, Alkesh Gangwal & Associates. 

The apartment is accessible via a private lift lobby that offers the first glimpse of the overarching minimalist aesthetic of this home. One is privy to wholesome nature and the potential of Japanese minimalism in the sparsely decorated lobby, clad in Oakwood panelling. The space is a picture of serenity that beckons one to retreat into the privacy of the apartment. The lift lobby holds an interesting mix of décor with clean design at its core, ranging from a black vase from Gulmohar Lane and a chair from Gujarat Handicrafts to a minimalist Comet wall sconce from Hatsu.

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While the lift lobby is sparsely decorated with a minimalist wall sconce from Hatsu and a chair from Gujarat Handicrafts, the foyer holds a customised shoe cabinet with rattan detailing, a table lamp and vases by West Elm, and a glimpse of the client’s ever-growing vinyl collection. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

Clever Colour Infusion 

Upon entering the foyer, one is engulfed by a sense of quiet in the nothingness. Beige textured walls loom at large, allowing for the thoughtful infusion of surface textures and art to make a subtle statement without overwhelming the senses. “The clients had a concept of wanting a ‘Japandi’ home. This aligned very well with our design ethos,” say the designers at Alkesh Gangwal & Associates. 

A large hand-embroidered sliding art panel by Anek Taanka serves as a backdrop to the dining space. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

At this vantage point, amid the neutrality of it all, the eye is instantly drawn to a floor-to-ceiling sliding art panel, hand embroidered in a polychromatic medley of tones by Anek Taanka, an Ahmedabad-based design house specialising in textiles and soft furnishings. This clever detail is intended to designate social spaces—the foyer, living room, dining area and kitchen— from private spaces including a master bedroom, and the child’s room. 

The living room’s bespoke bouclé furniture is by Steeple Furniture & Beyond, the rug is by Kaleen India, the sheer curtains are by Tulio, and the rug is by Kaleen India. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

Minimalism Through Materiality 

At the heart of this four-bedroom apartment sits its social spaces, designed in an open-plan layout to exude a sense of continuity. The living room and dining area appear as one continuous space, despite being staggered in their layout. The sun-drenched living room is bathed in neutral beige with lightly textured walls executed by Kemtex Paints. This minimalist social space becomes the ideal canvas for materiality to shine through. 

A Japanese-meets-Scandinavian aesthetic quietly reveals itself through black-toned accessories like a vase from Gulmohar Lane, lightwood bouclé furniture customised by Steeple Furniture & Beyond, and sheer white curtains by Tulio. Almost every piece of furniture—from the sofa and armchairs to the coffee table—was a bespoke creation by the Aurangabad-based furniture company, Steeple. The rug is a jute composite, custom-sized by Kaleen India. 

The neutrality of beige textured walls in the living room allows for pops of colour and rich textures to stand out like those from Gradient India’s trio of paintings, handwoven cushions by Craft & Kar, the bespoke bouclé furniture by Steeple Furniture & Beyond. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

A dark walnut-stained sculptural side table from West Elm appears like a stack of floating discs. Even the soft glow of the towering Kasa floor lamp by Harshita Jhamtani Designs inspired by Japanese forms adds a poetic touch to this social space. A trio of paintings printed on metal by Gradient India, reminiscent of the colours of the sky at different times of the day. The trio of paintings, earthy hand woven cushions from Craft & Kar, and a terracotta-hued throw from Altrove are the only infusions of colour in this space swathed in neutral tones. 

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Minimal and functional additions like a curved wall in the living room that seamlessly integrates a television and a hand-embroidered sliding wall in the dining room that functions as a gateway to two bedrooms tie in with the home’s Japandi aesthetic. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

A Focus On Functional Interiors 

A well-executed inclusion in the living room is a minimal but functional curved TV wall that integrates a television and speaker system, strategically concealing any dangling wires from plain sight. Further, a 100-year-old 14-foot-reclaimed teak wood log console retained in its raw form with live edges seamlessly fits into the TV wall. This piece was sourced from Amra Homes

“The curved wall, which incorporates a Bose home theatre system, was particularly challenging. The heavy electrical requirements of the system, along with their cable length limitations, had to be cleverly integrated within the TV wall to avoid any exposed wires and switchboards, especially since there was no traditional ‘console-cum-storage under the TV,” say the designers. 

The L-shaped wall panelling in the dining area integrates a bar, conceals the kitchen door, and creates a niche to hold a trio of Ikai Asai vases. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

In the dining room, a six-seater table is paired with chairs customised to size by Steeple Furniture & Beyond, carrying forward the apartment’s minimalist aesthetic through simple and clean lines. A sleek Linear Tier pendant lamp by Olie works beautifully over the dining table to ensconce this cosy social space in a warm, welcoming glow.  

The bedroom of the client’s mother features a table lamp from West Elm, a bedside reading lamp by Case Goods, richly textured fabrics by Altrove, a beautiful Obeetee rug, and a painting by Calcuttan. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

An Invocation Of Warmth 

A bedroom tailored to suit the needs and aesthetic of the client’s mother sits across the dining room. Earthy tones and rich textures work in tandem with textured wall paint by Kemtex Paints to warm up this otherwise neutral and minimal bedroom. A hand-embroidered oblong ivory cushion from Altrove works in delightful tandem with Obeetee’s Varu handwoven wool and jute rug. 

Again, the furniture—from the bed to the side tables was customised by Steeple Furniture & Beyond. The highlight of this room is an open pooja with brass inlay work done in situ by artisans from Udaipur. The prayer nook also integrates concealed storage in the form of a drawer that seamlessly blends in with the textured wall of the bedroom

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Handwoven cushions and linen by Atrove pair beautifully with rattan furniture customised by Steeple Furniture & Beyond. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

At the entrance adjacent to the foyer is a bedroom intended to serve as a study and guest room. Here, an indoor potted plant and a painting by Calcuttan are the only pops of colour which brighten up the space. A foldable bed with a terracotta-toned headboard is sandwiched by a library and storage space crafted from natural cane rattan. The warmth of the furniture and Oakwood flooring pairs beautifully with textured cushions and handwoven lines by Altrove to offset any starkness.   

A set of charcoal furniture by Dtale Modern is beautifully juxtaposed with the light Oakwood flooring and wall panelling by Jalaram Timber. Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi

Cosy With A Side Of Zen

Back in the dining, cleverly concealed behind the embroidered sliding art panels, is the clients’ master bedroom and a room for their toddler. Like the other two bedrooms, the master features Oakwood flooring and wall cladding by Jalaram Timber and textured walls by Kemtex Paints. A charcoal bed with matching nightstands and bench, both sourced from Dtale Modern, brings a bold touch to the largely neutral space, as does the striking blue rug from Obeetee. A duo of Kanso pendant lights from Length Breadth Height completes this Zen-like, cosy wood-clad space, while Altrove’s handloom cushions featuring Gujarat’s traditional Bhujodi geometric stitching and fringed trimmings add a traditional and grounded element. 

The slight tonal differences in the living room and bedroom wall finishes subtly break the monotony while maintaining the neutral beige palette of this apartment. (Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi)

The designers at Alkesh Gangwal & Associates went on to add a chic touch to the master bedroom with a custom-made curved sofa, ottoman, and table made to measure by Steeple Furniture & Beyond. These pieces are complemented by a navy throw from OMA and an organic rug from Jaipur Rugs. The floor lamp was sourced from IKEA and the painting is from Calcuttan. 

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The open matted floor of the toddler’s room allows for the one-year-old to explore freely. Image Credit: Yadnyesh Joshi

The toddler’s room features an integrated storage unit with handles customised for a touch of playfulness and colour. The unit seamlessly integrates a pegboard wall with open shelves fabricated in metal, while a handpainted lamp by Harshita Jhamtani Designs brings a pop of colour to this largely muted space. 

By playing with space to create spacious, clutter-free rooms, the designers at Alkesh Gangwal & Associates have effectively given the family a warm and cosy home and a dwelling that’s far from ostentatiously adorned. It is, in fact, a home that is intended to be layered with collectables, memorabilia, art, and books collected over time.