Over 600 Origami Birds Guide Visitors Through This Immersive Sales Gallery In Gurgaon

  • 8 Dec '23
  • 11:36 am by Beverly Pereira

Comprising low-rise residences nestled in a verdant enclave in the heart of DLF City, The Grove is an exclusive and luxurious real estate project in every sense of the word. The gated residences are, after all, set in a green pocket surrounded by leafy glades frequented by migratory birds. When Iram Sultan of the eponymous design studio was roped in to design the sales gallery of DLF’s latest project, the designer quite naturally drew from her practice of infusing every project with a delicate balance of textures and tones and cleverly applied context. 

Setting foot inside the DLF Grove sales gallery in Gurgaon is a literal breath of fresh air— like the apartments in this luxury real estate project. The sales gallery is a lofty, light-filled space with soaring ceilings and an incredibly sunny disposition. A flock of origami birds in flight guides visitors through the space—a poetic parallelism to birds flying through a grove of trees to their nests at the day’s end. 

The vaulted ceiling brings a sense of softness to the angularity of the lofty sales gallery, as do the diaphanous drapes. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala
The site was but a bare shell, an empty hall with yet-to-be-planned services. It came with an impressive ceiling height and large openings that flooded the space with light. “The first thing I noticed was the quality of light that came streaming in through the large glazings,” says Sultan, who had no intention of restricting the entry of light. The outcome of Sultan’s plan resulted in a vaulted ceiling that maximised the height and volume of the gallery. The vaulted ceiling was employed to soften the angularity of the gallery, says the designer. Further, small tweaks to the façade expanded the potential to harness the ever-changing play of light and shadows on the gallery’s walls and floor through floor-to-ceiling glazing.  

The 14,000 sq ft DLF Grove sales gallery comprises seating in various configurations, a coffee bar in the middle, and private meeting rooms tucked away at the back of the L-shaped space. The gallery carries a clean design that relies on a palette of colours and materials, gently infusing the space with a beautiful balance between warm and cool and hard and soft. 

Also read: On Paper: Indian Artists Who Transcend The Medium

At the far end of the gallery, a wall-mounted shelving unit in the shape of the map of DLF 5, the project’s location, is a delightfully contextual design element. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

Mirroring the project’s show flat, instantly establishing a sense of ultimate luxury, the sales gallery is decked in cool grey marble. The idea behind the ample use of Figured Eucalyptus veneer panelling, then, balances out the cool tones of this natural stone by lending the eye a definitive sense of warmth. Indeed, surfaces, from entire walls right up to the chimney at the cafe and eatery, are generously clad in Eucalyptus veneer sourced from Coast To Coast. “We didn’t want to use dark wood, and the mellow warmth of Eucalyptus was just perfect to bring in that little ray of sunshine,” says Sultan.

Bronze metal detailing introduces a plush touch that sits well in contrast with the ample use of an earthy Figured Eucalyptus veneer panelling. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

With natural light harnessed at the very get-go of this project, Sultan sought to further the sunny disposition of the gallery through the inclusion of even more tonality and textures. Sofas and armchair clusters furnished in sunshine yellows, autumnal oranges and neutral shades of greige serve as the only real infusion of colour, as do carpets in aquas and greens. While the furniture was sourced from Sunday Design, the exquisite carpets are from Jaipur Rugs

Towering trees, a flock of hundreds of birds in flight and Eucalyptus veneer panels all tie in with the return to nature. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

Metal detailing such as bronze joinery on the Eucalyptus panelling is meticulously employed throughout the space, binding the design together and imparting a sense of richness. Then there’s the welcome desk near the entryway and a coffee bar nearby, both softened by gentle curves and clad in a soft brushed bronze finish. A vaulted ceiling was employed to soften the angularity of the gallery, says Sultan.  

Towering trees, albeit artificial yet immensely striking, are design elements that yet again contextualise the project by symbolising the grove, as it were. “DLF has undertaken a lot of plantations. I felt it was important to bring this aspect into the space,” says Sultan. 

Also read: A Unique Biophilic Home In The Outskirts Of Kochi Brings Nature Inside

The flock of birds guides potential homeowners through the gallery and into the depths of the space that holds private meeting rooms. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

As many as 630 origami-inspired birds flying through this grove of trees to their nests at the end of the day alluded to the heartwarming metaphor for ‘home’. Sultan roped in origami artist Ankon Mitra to bring this custom installation to life. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together; the artist had previously worked with Sultan on a very different style of abstraction.

We studied patterns of flocks of migratory birds (as they fly south for the winter), and we created movement patterns of swerves, swoops, dips and syncopations to express the dynamism of hundreds of birds flying in tandem,” says Mitra. “It was as if a camera had clicked a picture (but it was an AI-enabled 3D camera) and had frozen a moment in time – converting the kinetic movement of the birds into a static 3D diorama we could walk into and immerse ourselves in.”. 

Mitra and his team used white polypropylene, aluminium wire and nylon string to bring the birds to life. The polypropylene was cut (Kirigami) and hand-folded (Origami). 

Thanks to Iram’s design, the space is blessed with large, beautiful windows with sunlight streaming into the space. The Kirigami cutwork catches the sunlight. Moreover, white polypropylene glows when it is backlit by the sunlight. From certain viewpoints, the pristine white forms look like black silhouettes against the blue sky of windows,” Mitra continues. 

By evening, the origami-inspired birds cast dramatic shadows on the gallery’s walls and floor. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

If the gallery is enlivened by the delicate dapple of light during the day, by evening it is magnificently lit by ceiling lights and soft pools of light emitted by lamps sourced from Atelier Lumys. The lighting design, carefully considered, veered towards the idea of creating a shadow play. The shadows and outlines of the birds on the floor and walls are a dramatic sight with the birds casting evocative shadows on the floor. “There’s never a dull moment in this space, even for those who never look up,” says Iram Sultan . 

Meeting rooms in the depths of this sales gallery exude a light, airy feel. Image Credit: Ishita Sitwala

The flock of a total of 630 birds gracefully guides visitors from the entrance through the gallery’s public meeting spaces and cafe. The flight path of these birds eventually winds through luminous meeting rooms intended for private interactions. Furthermore, the shadow play of Mitra’s flock of birds creates a secondary path on the floor. Like the light-filled gallery outside, the enclosed meeting rooms exude an airy feel with a sense of lightness and spaciousness, thanks to the clever application of fabric sandwiched curved glass. 

Like birds that make their way home to roost every evening, the DLF Grove Sales Gallery’s poetic yet functional design gracefully enunciates the idea of finding one’s way to a place they can call home.