KOCHI: Young architects Abrar Ali and Ujwal J M landed their first project, when they were in the third year of their college. The youngsters started off with a residential project which comprised a partially constructed, nine-year-old structure in Mannanthala. The duo reiterated on doing a complete overhaul of the layout.
The end result left the owners in awe. A 3,400-sqft six-bedroom house in tropical contemporary style, designed specifically to ensure ample airflow and natural light, stood oozing grandeur and elegance.
“The focus was on efficient spatial utilisation, good ventilation and natural lighting while also ensuring an aesthetic design.
When we first spoke about changing the entire layout, the owners were a little anxious. But gradually they gained confidence seeing how the spatial quality was enhanced,” says Abrar. The duo remodelled the backyard into a party-cum-dining area. “Backyards are considered useless spots by many. We saw immense possibilities. A verandah and garden area was created. One of residents play Veena, so we set up an idyllic spot there, replete with plants et al,” chips in Ujwal. The project was completed in 2015, when they were in their fourth year of college.
Christened UrbanAnts, Abrar and Ujwal’s architect firm operates out of Vazhuthacaud. “Ants figure among creatures that have evolved with the urbanisation, adapting their dwelling space according to changing times. That is precisely what we do too. Hence the name,” says Ujwal. “The space you interact with defines you and affects your psych realm too. We focus on creating nourishing spaces,” says Ujwal.
The architects are keen on changing people’s perception about design. According to them, adherence to green concepts is mandatory. “It is something all architects should follow, including focusing on reducing the carbon footprint. Elements used for construction should not have an adverse impact on the environment,” says Abrar. That is precisely why the focus was given to upcycling when they refurbished the interior of an ice-cream joint. “We used jute sacks for wall treatment; old, ornamental gate as design elements and roofing sheet for front facade. With upcycled items, we are trying to give a new dimension,” says Abrar.
They spend good amount of time with the clients before finalising the design. “Once the design is perfectly carried out, the execution is much easier and saves a lot of time and money,”says Ujwal.“It is all a repetition of the contemporary style crafted in the 1930s. What people identify with contemporary includes a few design elements such as use of white paint, pergola, concrete boxes and such. It is this notion we are breaking,” adds Ujwal.