The beauty of a resort is in its ambience and what is ambience if it isn’t in harmony with nature or its surroundings? This is the belief that has driven architect N Mahesh of Kerala-based Iyer & Mahesh, a group of architects, interiors designers and engineers.
Amazing Timber Resorts, launched in the city on Monday at the Raj Bhavan, covers the journey of timber and its judicious use through the eyes of Mahesh, who hails from a family of architects – from Tamara in Coorg and The Lalit in Bakel to the Taj Green Cove in Trivandrum and the author’s own home.
Using timber in many illustrious projects, the group has worked with it due to its multiple attributes. “If we are in the midst of nature then the design has to complement it rather than go against it. People come to resorts to be part of such an environment. They have seen enough of steel and glass. In the last 12 to 15 years I have been strategically looking at designing old timber structures. One of the important design attributes of the material is that it can create the concept of height quite effectively,” says Mahesh, who has close to 38 years of experience as an architectural consultant.
He adds, “The design editor Mridula Sharma and the photographers, the famous Balan Madhavan and Amit Pasricha have spent a lot of time in each of the places we have covered in the book.”
The book is also part of Mahesh’s goals that he has set to achieve in the last few years. “One was to start The College of Architecture in Trivandrum as I thought I should give something in return to society, and the other was the book,” he says.
Mahesh says that being an eco-friendly wood, timber forms the core of Kerala architecture. Using the material extensively in many of his projects, his emphasis is on using treated or reforested timber.
However, Mahesh adds that in India, the concept of reforestation is yet to catch up. “In my opinion, countries like Malaysia rely heavily on reforestation. Most of the timber we use is from Malaysia, Burma and sometimes Brazil,” he adds.
The book also highlights the presence of the perunthachans (carpenters) in the past. “In fact, these perunathachans played an important role in the construction of a house. Through this book I wanted to bring their skills back to the fore,” he adds.