An Intimate Wedding Venue In Bangalore With Geoffrey Bawa-esque Villas Offers Respite From Convention
- 8 Dec '23
- 11:38 am by Beverly Pereira
A garden lush with native plants, trees, and water bodies sets the tone for a new wedding venue in the heart of Bangalore’s JP Nagar. A departure from the stodgy conventions of the typical single lawn approach, the 2-acre venue Sumatra is a literal breath of fresh air. It also comes with two Balinese-inspired villas designed by the Chennai-based Auburn Studio. Aside from serving as comfortable spaces to stay and get ready ahead of wedding parties, these suites offer a chic setting for fantastic indoor shots.
Once a plant nursery, the client’s family property now aligns with the surge in demand for outdoor wedding venues that are intimate and unique. Except for a simple brief to revamp the site into a luxurious venue that incorporates the beauty of nature and a unique design, the clients were otherwise welcoming of ideas presented by the Auburn Studio. Drawing inspiration from lush gardens like Bawa’s iconic Lunuganga, this outdoor wedding venue can accommodate a floating crowd of 1000 guests.
“The transformation began on the site of an old nursery, where we endeavoured to preserve much of the existing landscapes, allowing nature to play a central role. The result is a carefully cultivated ‘civilized wilderness’, where the site retains an organic charm,” says Sushmitha Ramesh, founder and principal architect of the Auburn Studio.
Opening out into lush gardens that serve as a wedding venue, both villas mirror the bounties of their natural surroundings. Allusions to Geoffrey Bawa’s philosophy of tropical modernism are aplenty even as the venue and its sites carry a unique charm. For one, the design of the villas embraces clean lines and a palette of natural materials and neutral colours. Sustainable construction methods and materials, an emphasis on local craftsmanship, and maximizing natural light and ventilation further reinforce this thoughtfully executed project.
“The influence of Bawa’s tropical modernism philosophy on this project has been profound and deeply inspiring,” says Ramesh, whose time during an internship in Sri Lanka was marked by explorations of the late, great Sri Lankan architectural wonders that left a lasting impression. “Places like the Gallery Cafe in Colombo with its minimal yet inviting ambience resonated with me. Drawing from this source of inspiration, we aimed to dissolve the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor spaces, much like Bawa‘s designs,” says the designer.
“Beyond the layout, the design and décor of the two master and guest bedrooms are remarkably uniform. Each villa serves as a mirror image of the other in terms of layout, and this symmetry extends to the aesthetic aspects. The design and décor elements are more or less identical, ensuring a harmonious and consistent visual experience throughout both spaces,” says Ramesh about the symmetrical nature of the villas.
Each villa flanked by two bedrooms, has a central living room and kitchen. Large sliding glass windows maintain a seamless visual connection with the serene outdoors and waterbodies; the thatched bamboo ceilings, an outstanding feature of both villas, are yet another nod to tropical architecture. Wooden rafters adorned with bamboo mats meticulously handcrafted in Assam emphasise the villas’ high-pitched ceilings and add a sense of rustic luxury that also aids in maintaining cool interior temperatures.
Among this palette of locally available materials, regionally sourced in-situ concrete lies at the heart of these villas. Aside from concrete walls and floors, accent walls highlighted with indigenous rubble sit beautifully amid otherwise modern elements of the suites, celebrating craftsmanship and natural beauty.
The bespoke nature of precisely designed furniture pieces paired with natural soft furnishings that exude a lived-in feel contribute to the villa’s pared-back aesthetic. Rich but subtle details inform every décor and design element.
Ramesh admits that the project presented its fair share of challenges. “Given our insistence on a high level of craftsmanship in various specialised trades, assembling the right team proved to be a time-consuming endeavour. Instead of entrusting the entire project to a single contractor, we meticulously sourced individual vendors and materials from diverse locations,” she explains, adding that a team from Pondicherry was summoned to execute the cement finish floors and walls. “This intricate process demanded patience and a discerning eye for detail, but the result justified our approach.”
The villas’ master suites are luxurious spaces fitted with ample and easy-to-access storage. A dressing table and reading nook provide moments of relaxation, whether one is readying themselves for the evening or unwinding with a book in hand the day after. The warmth of bespoke teak wood furniture crafted by local carpenters offsets the starkness of concrete elements exquisitely, as do all sorts of lighting fixtures sourced from The Purple Turtles.
Designed to offer a sense of comfort and cosiness, the second bedroom ties in with the clean, natural aesthetic of the villas. By the bed, a pair of Coco Flower drop-down chandeliers by the Purple Turtles feature a beautiful blend of hand-sculpted banana paper and pinewood teak. Again, everything was made from scratch—from the organic-shaped mirrors to the louvered bathroom doors.
While the glazed facade of the villas exudes a sense of muted luxury, even appearing unassuming, it is exactly this decidedly pared-back aesthetic that contributes to the enchanting mood and charm of Sumatra as a venue for an intimate wedding.
The rental charges of Sumatra start at INR 5,00,000 plus tax.