Transcending the boundaries of space – DCA Architects

DCA Architects, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary design firm, based out of New Delhi, India was founded in 1996. The firm has accomplished architecture and design projects across diverse scales and typologies over the last two decades.

At DCA, a conscious effort is made to use local, sustainable materials and technology, which reinforce traditional crafts and skill-sets of the craftsmen, while minimizing the impact on the environment as far as possible. Each project is therefore not a cookie-cutter solution, but climate-appropriate and designed to meet specific needs and contextual conditions that create an exclusive, yet relevant product. Through its contribution in the realm of Architecture and Interior Design, DCA Architects has made a mark across South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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Spearheading DCA are architects Amit Aurora and Rahul Bansal, who graduated in 1993 from the esteemed School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi. Both the partners, through their individual expertise have contributed towards the firm’s robust image in the design industry, with a special focus on delivering design excellence and innovation. With their dedication towards contextual and sustainable designs, inspiring young talent and nurturing human relations, today, they lead an energized and enthusiastic team of over 40 professionals.

Interestingly they have an implementation arm, DCA Workshop, which was founded in 1997, which executes designs to perfection. Backed by a robust team of Architects, DCA Workshop strives to be a unique, single-window solution for design execution, pan-India by means of a structured collaboration format between clients, spaces and the designers. This collaboration of synergies has resulted in the creation of highly sophisticated design solutions, appreciated both the clients and the general community at large. Besides ensuring cost-effectiveness and quality control by means of an in-house management team, DCA Workshop collaborates with  fabricators, millworkers and experts in and out of the country to provide high-quality, customized solutions that are true to each project.

Here DCA Architects share with Gallopper a residence in Sainik Farms, Delhi inspired by the unconventional artistic taste of the client, embracing varied design sensibilities.

4aIt is not often that a client approaches a designer with a free rein to experiment and fashion an unusual space, far removed from any of the current fads in interior design. When such a rare client does materialise, it can sometimes unsettle the designer if the design intent seems to be veering towards ‘maximalist’ excess. When the team at DCA Architects met their client, a new owner of a residence in posh settlement of Sainik Farms in South Delhi, they had no cause for alarm. They consider themselves fortunate to have worked with this client, who while explaining the idiosyncrasies of his unconventional artistic taste, conferred his complete trust on them to harmonize the finished whole into a comfortable inviting home.

When the team was commissioned to design the interiors, the house was completely built and the owner wanted to make only minimal structural changes. Spread across two floors and a basement, the living, dining and kitchen spaces are on the ground floor along with the mother’s room and a home office/library for the owner with a separate entrance from the front porch. The private spaces including the master and children’s bedrooms are housed on the first floor. The basement is furnished as an entertainment zone including a bar, television lounge, a gym/activity area and a guest bedroom.

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The major challenge faced in the project was to mend the existing false ceiling with the Architect’s design, retaining existing doors and windows.

The bathroom featuring a classic vanity with a huge antique mirror: black granite was used for the counter-top and wash basins.

Another prominent change involved replacing the plain staircase railing with a trendy MS (Mild Steel) sheet railing. The aesthetics of the completed home is a fusion of multiple design elements merged into one space while simultaneously celebrating each object’s individuality. It can be described as a marriage of ideas enhancing and complementing one another which births a unique balance. This approach of embracing varied sensibilities is evident on entering the double heighted entry foyer, where a wall decal with the silhouette of a tree on a grey background looms large against the staircase outfitted with an undulating MS sheet railing. The treads of the stairs are treated with a burnt wood finish, adding to the visual feast that greets the eye.

A large light fixture suspended from the first floor ceiling and descending to multiple heights along the double volume completes the composition. The home abounds with an array of textures, colours and materials. Creative use of MS sheets is made in several locations from the name plate to the staircase railing to the steps fascia and the bar unit.

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The basement and office on the ground floor has a plain cement concrete flooring. Unfinished, raw wood can be seen in most of the furniture pieces in the house. Digital wallpapers with bold patterns feature in the living room, study and daughter’s room.

dining 2Rough textured white paint in the study adds to the vintage ambience of the room. Another eye – catching element is the ceiling – hung carved white wooden frames; faces painted in striking in the TV lounge. Used beer and whisky bottles were recycled to make a screen in the bar area.

Colours were selected according to mood of the space. Retrofitted reading wall lights are provided by the bedside in each bedroom. Chandeliers embellish the decor of the living room and entrance lobby.

Quirky materials and textures such as the book unit in corian and wood in the entrance lobby contribute to the home’s eclectic feel.

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A wall decal with the silhouette of a tree looms large against the staircase outfitted with a trendy MS sheet railing.

In the bar, rusted MS sheets find creative use in the back unit and bar counter. Used beer bottles are recycled to tailor an eye-catching screen. Cleverly designed pendant lights made from lassi glasses with antique gold finish are suspended over the bar counter fitted with backlit onyx ledge. Another attractive element is the ceiling – hung carved white wooden frames in the TV lounge

Graffiti by an artist was commissioned for the basement foyer which also features a compass made in vinyl on the floor.

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The bedrooms on the first floor continue the eclectic theme, with the master bedroom featuring twisted wooden poster and an upholstered fabric headboard in teal against a brown wall. The flooring is made of engineered wood. The daughter’s bedroom is furnished with a wrought – iron bed and includes a book unit with a study table in sawn wood. In the dining room, a blown glass chandelier hangs over a custom – designed dining table with a base made of wooden logs.

To sum up the experience of this striking residence, “It is the cultivation of many thoughts fused to form one story.”