Visit Tania and Sandeep Khosla’s Eclectic Bengaluru Villa
After beating the morning Bengaluru traffic, my car cruises swiftly over the Old Airport Road and, passing the HAL police station, stops at the brown wooden gates leading to Epsilon Villas. Driving through the quiet gated community, I alight outside Tania and Sandeep Khosla’s home and walk through the well-maintained pathway to its main door — scarcely seconds after I ring the bell, I’m welcomed into its interiors.
Tania, founder and design director, tsk Design, makes her appearance, dressed for a day at work. Sandeep, founder and principal, Khosla Associates, is away for work in Goa. Our detailed interaction over their home left for later when I can catch them both, I take a walk through the different airy spaces.
Their professional interests have shaped their home. Both Sandeep and Tania exhibit a fascination for spaces, colours and lines. The former was more inclined towards the arts in school and, chancing upon architectural history classes while studying at a liberal arts college in America, decided to pursue architecture as a career. About setting up practice in Bengaluru, he says, “I just stumbled into this world. I enjoyed interiors, felt I had a flair for them and there has been no turning back since.”
Tania’s creative instincts can be attributed to her background — her mother is a glass sculptor so an inclination towards the arts was natural — and her education. “I studied in a small liberal arts college (Mount Holyoke College) in the US where I thought I’d major in economics or math. But once I entered the art studios, I got sucked right in! I experimented with many different mediums — sculpture, painting and graphic arts — and majored in studio art.” And after an internship at the design and publishing department at the Guggenheim Museum, she decided that her calling was in graphics and completed her MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University’s School of Art.
Their home exudes a sense of peace and calm and they say with pride that it is the perfect abode for them and their children — Mahika and Aryaman — and their dog Flash. From concept to finish, the house took around three years to build and the Khoslas have been living here for six years now. On its creation, Tania says, “We are both strong-headed designers with our individual sensibilities, so it wasn’t easy at first, but as we went along we understood each other’s needs and it ultimately became a great collaboration.”
Interestingly, the C-shaped home enables its residents to be in sync with the outdoors even if they are within its walls. From all the living areas of the home, the residents can see the well-maintained patch of green, which is surrounded by a patio and an outdoor entertaining area. The home exemplifies an interesting ‘inside-outside’ concept — and is completely private as no one from the road can see into its inner spaces. Tania says, “There is a comfortable relationship between the built form and the garden. There is a blurring of boundaries, and a harmony between the architecture, the interior and the landscape.”
Sandeep adds, “We oriented the home towards the east so that it would be bathed in a gentle morning light as we woke up each day. The single deep verandah is the pivot. All the main functions open onto it. And the fact that each of these rooms completely opens to the outdoors gives a feeling of constant connectedness between the indoors and outdoors.”
The colour scheme of their home enhances its attractiveness. Tania states, “The expanse of grey Kota flooring and exposed concrete walls demand a use of vibrant colours in our spaces. While the basic palette is of earth tones, accents of chrome yellow, purple and deep red bring in the required energy.” And bold architectural moves make their home beautiful. Sandeep states, “We love the Kota stone that is offset by teak wood, walls in exposed concrete and one exterior wall clad entirely in copper sheets. The orthogonal spaces are broken by hand-picked pieces that tell a story.”
They both remember their childhood homes in Kolkata with fondness. Sandeep lived in a colonial bungalow with high ceilings, exposed steel girders, black-and-white chequered marble floors, some rooms in a beautiful red oxide, and louvred wooden shutters on French windows. He recalls, “My parents were house-proud and had a lovely sensibility, filling the house with eclectic objects from their travels.” Tania grew up in a bungalow with a garden. She states, “I remember spending a lot of time outdoors. My parents were very innovative with the space we had. My father had a real eye for design and loved Scandinavian furniture. Our living room was quite cool and retro with a bold striped carpet, an Eames lounge chair and modern mid-century furniture. Ours was quite different from most other classic homes.”
Tania was always interested in her personal space and infused it with her own personality. Laughingly she states, “When my sister and I were kids, we painted our room completely blue — it was ghastly! But we loved it. I believe that a space, like your clothes, is a reflection of who you are — your style and your journey. When Sandeep and I first moved to Bengaluru and lived in an apartment, he wanted white walls because his is a clean sensibility and I wanted textured coloured walls. Over the years our tastes have rubbed off on each other and today our home reflects both our personalities.”
Works by several artists like Jitish Kallat, G. R. Iranna, Atul Dodiya, Venkat Bothsa, Riyas Komu, Sunil Gawde, Paresh Maity, Antonio E. Costa, Adip Dutta and Nitish Bhattacharjee are seen in various spots in their home. Both Tania and Sandeep are intrepid globetrotters and love New York for its sheer exuberant energy, Goa for its mix of people, Cape Town for its unique location and East Berlin for its edge. Tania says, “While in Cape Town, we chanced upon a beautiful (and rather large) light fixture made out of coloured plastic waste. We sought out the designer, went to his studio and finally bought the fixture, only to realise that it was too big to carry back with us to India! But somehow we managed to lug it all the way back and it’s been so worth the effort.”
The other installation is near the workspace off the hall. She rewinds, “On a trip to Amsterdam, we came across a light fixture made of bottles suspended with numerous wires and circuits and decided to bring it back home. We were continuously stopped at airport security and frisked as the item looked suspicious. Now it has become a talking point in our home.”
When I ask them what their favourite spot at home is, they are in agreement: “Our light staircase which is crafted in steel and timber and floats within a double-height volume, with exposed concrete walls and a sharp slit of skylight. The volume is dotted with artworks and sculptures. Even though this is a transitionary space, we move through it several times a day and it is always a pleasurable experience.”
Their home is clearly a labour of love. On its lovely aura, they say, “We believe that our house is rooted firmly in our context. The design was inspired by the aangan, the courtyard which was traditionally the hub of activity and energy in Indian households. Our courtyard garden provides a similar energy, with all rooms on the ground and first floors looking into it. Our interpretation of this traditional concept is of course wholly contemporary.”
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