Grand Paintings, Rare Collectibles, And Luxury Design – Step Into This Apartment By Ashiesh Shah
- 13 Sep '21
- 9:36 am by Nuriyah Johar
One of the most overused words in the interior design dictionary, ‘curate’ almost stands to lose all meaning. The word is flung about loosely and far too often in contexts where it doesn’t belong. However, when we say that this Malabar Hill apartment by Ashiesh Shah is a remarkable curation of some truly compelling pieces from all over the world, we mean it in the most literal sense of the word. From Antonio Santin’s hyperrealistic rug art to Ettore Stotas’ Memphis Totem, the home is a treasure trove of art and design collectibles, all of which live in visual harmony with each other. While the home is eclectic, luxurious, and almost larger than life, it doesn’t feel overwhelming in the slightest. Shah’s vision for the home focuses on a balance of colour, texture and geometry; his signature wabi-sabi ethos infuses the space with a meditative calmness. “The Malabar Hill residence is a celebration of craftsmanship and all processes handmade,” says Shah. “The spaces feature elements delicately crafted, rooted in the philosophy of wabi-sabi.”
Setting the tone for what to expect from the interiors, a floating, seemingly fragmented console by Hervé Van der Straeten for Ralph Pucci serves as the visual highlight in the lobby. The prismatic piece offers a sharp contrast to the seamlessly monotoned white onyx and palissandro marble that clad the walls and the floor. Leading to the service area, an alabaster door with a bronze frame serves as a continuation of the lobby’s visual and tactile narrative.
Filled with grand paintings, curios, and luxury furniture, a sprawling living area forms the nucleus of the home which branches into connecting rooms. Here, the pieces of art serve as anchors, marking out the various seating arrangements in the space. “Art is an indispensable part of all my projects and I’m deeply inspired by it,” Shah tells us. “In this case, the clients were very receptive and open to the art pieces that we proposed.”
Shah adopts an overarching palette of neutrals across the home, with colour injected judiciously. A triptych by artist Joseph Tong occupies the spot above a cedar brown sofa by Yasanche, opposite Alberto Pinto’s striking Héraclès armchairs that add a playful circularity to the set up. A resin coffee table by Martha Sturdy sits in the center, atop a muted rug by cc-tapis.
Across this seating arrangement lies yet another one, and here, the ‘Memphis Totem’ by the celebrated Italian architect Ettore Sottsass takes centre stage. “If I had to name one of the most compelling elements of the home for me, it would be the Ettore Sottsass Memphis Totem,” says Shah. Playing off the geometry and vibrancy of this iconic specimen of Memphis design, Shah’s vision for this zone includes colour and curves. Soft beige sofas from Yasanche are placed opposite each other, accessorised with cushions designed by Ashiesh Shah himself, as part of a capsule collection for West Elm. Alberto Pinto’s grey glass stool serves as a compelling addition to the overall textural palette, as does the central bronze panel by Viya Home. Intricately crafted Intersect consoles from Shah’s eponymous atelier rest on either side, with antique silver elephants perched on top. Also from the atelier, Shah’s Rose Garden Chandelier hangs over the space. Rugs by Projekt Merge and cc-tapis delineate this area from the rest of the living room without breaking the overall cohesiveness of the space.
A pair of sliding doors lead into an extension of the living room where a hyperrealistic rug painting by Antonio Santin serves as a striking visual highlight. A darker colour palette takes over this area, characterized by blacks, maroons, and browns. Center tables and floor lamps by Alexander Lamont, armchairs by Alsorg, and small perch tables by Hervé Van der Straeten punctuate the space. A metal fixture by lighting designer Arjun Rathi finds its way onto the ceiling, whereas the rear end of the space features embroidered wood panels crafted by designer Rooshad Shroff.
A pleasant divergence from the neturals, the dining area is swathed in powdery pastel blues. A set of chairs from Alsorg sit around a marble dining table with an artificial alabaster skylight hanging from the ceiling. The walls are finished in hand carved wooden panels, adding warmth and texture to the room.
The interiors open out onto an expansive deck that takes on a design language more informal than the rest of the home. For the furniture, Shah tapped into the neotenic design trend, relying on round, child-like forms and softer structures over rigidity and sharp angularity. Bespoke furniture pieces by Yasanche alongside Roche Bobois’ cocktail tables in shades of cream and white add to the overall lightness of the outdoor space. Indian sandstone laid out in a chevron pattern lines the floor, whereas the walls are finished in textured sandblasted sandstone. Deep pops of blue and black glass accents add a chic, modern edge to the space.
A cohesive narrative of luxury finishes, statement pieces, and neutral colours runs through every bedroom. Highlighly individualistic in their own right, the rooms are underscored by the larger themes that inform the overall design of the home. “The house was designed such that it deferred to requirements of three generations of the family,” says Shah. “The idea of employing a neutral colour palette was very intentional in an attempt to keep the spaces connected, and seamlessly blend into the palette of all three generations. Having said that, pops of colour were added to the space through the introduction of carefully selected pieces of art, wallpapers and soft furnishings; lending a distinct character to the space.”
For the master bedroom, Shah envisioned a statement wall finished in straw marquetry by Alexander Lamont that beautifully contrasts the white palissandro marble floor. To its side, the light grey wardrobe is detailed with striking mother of pearl rod handles. A sleek bed in muted tones atop a cc-tapis rug undercuts the opulence of the finishes and creates a well-balanced interior.
In the second bedroom, a stunning sculpture by Annie Morris adds whimsy and colour, further complemented by designer Patricia Urquiola’s Visoni rug for cc-tapis. Handcrafted on site, a faceted marble panel covers the back wall, against which lies a bespoke bed by Yasanche. At the rear end of the room, an intimate alcove houses two armchairs by Phantom Hands, framed by walut brown curtains.
An homage to the clients’ Rajasthani roots, the third bedroom features a custom bed with an intricate hand carved jali headboard from Manglam Arts. “The jali was sourced from Jaipur, Rajasthan, and although traditional, was finished such that it steered towards a minimal lens with a modern flair celebrating Indian design,” says Shah. A Tapetex linen wallpaper lines the walls, along with a detailed wooden panel crafted on site.
A marriage between indulgence and subtlety, the Malabar Hill Home is ultimately a testament to thoughtful design with a multitude of stories to tell.