Fresh air in the morning: Now that’s a dream

Mathew Mathen, a fashion photographer, has built his home in Muhamma around two of his beloved trees without chopping them off.

KOCHI: When he decided he would have a house of his own close to his ancestral home at Muhamma, Mathew Mathen made it a habit to sit quietly, letting his mind fly. A photographer, he does not find it hard to visualise a frame or conceive an idea by doing so, but here he was having it a little too tough.
The jamun and mango tree, the two preferred destinations of him and four brothers during their childhood days, stood right in the middle of his plot of land. The very thought of chopping them made Mathen sad and he started incorporating them into his sketch. What eventually came out was an innovative design, one that could be emulated by all who love to preserve the trees in their land while building a house.

Mathen has devoted space, as much as the size of a normal bedroom, to each tree inside his house, allowing them to stretch their branches through the roof and skywards, and enabling natural light to enter inside. His two children dance and take bath in the rain, tiny birds fly in and out of the tree while Mathen leans back in his chair, feeling happy about his decision and thanking his wife Renju for supporting it.
“I feel the tree is a symbol and through its growth, nature tells and teaches us a lot of things,” said Mathen, 38, who takes a break every year to do trekking, with the Himalayas being his favourite.

Views from inside the house; (right) Mathew Mathen
Views from inside the house; (right) Mathew Mathen

Son of a doctor, it was his father’s love for acting and sense of aesthetics that influenced Mathen more as a young boy. And when he expressed his interest to learn visual communication, he was given the nod. Though he also worked in movies more than a decade ago, he later started focusing fully on fashion photography, in which he has made a name for himself. He runs the ‘Mathew Mathen’ firm at Panampilly Nagar in Kochi and has some of the major business establishments among his clients.

“I didn’t somehow like continuing in films back then. But I find a lot of freshness in the themes and making of many new ones. I’m listening to a few new projects and would take up the offer if I find them interesting,” said Mathen, who is also a designer of boutique resorts and houseboats.Asked about those fields, he said, “The modern technology helps you do good business in tourism and wellness industry without disturbing our earth and surroundings. You only need a love towards nature,” said Mathen, an admirer of Steve Jobs.

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The New Indian Express