CW Interiors |
Smart Design | December 2013

Recreating Royalty

Architect Kunal Pakhar and interior designer Shaukat Mukhi recreate the palatial architecture of Rajasthan at the Indana Palace Hotel, Jodhpur.

What concept can lure a tourist in Rajasthan better than a palace hotel? Architecture that fuses with the surroundings, offers a taste of royalty, helps combat the climate and reflects the culture of the area is certainly the best configuration for any hotel design here.

And Architect Kunal Pakhar, from Mumbai-based firm Designers who has designed the Indana Palace Hotel in Jodhpur to reflect the Rajasthani architecture of the 16th century, has created just such a delightful facility.

Marwar touch
Intricate column designs and arches, domes, carvings and jaali work, massive spans with open courtyards and elemental chattries mark the grandeur of this hotel. "The basic idea was to reflect the essence of Marwar in the architecture of the building and create an astonishing structure, thus making it look like a heritage hotel," says Pakhar, who has retro-fitted a heritage piece of art in the scenario without hampering the urban fabric. Grand entry The experience begins from the entrance itself, where the architect has provided a massive dome that is a separate entity from the building. The main building is designed keeping the climate of the city in mind. The reception, restaurants and rooms are all designed around a central courtyard to ensure cross ventilation and spectacular views from the rooms as well as the restaurants. Since the building is huge, care is taken to ensure that the guests donot get tired or frustrated crossing from end to end. The passages around the courtyard help reduce fatigue, and small sit-outs are designed at transitional points of the passages for those who would like to take a break or simply relax and enjoy the outside view.

In the detail
Since the courtyard is of such large proportions, the architects felt the need to balance the hardscape and softscape.

They have introduced the concept of a stage within the courtyard with channelled water bodies in a manner that it visually creates a centre stage for performance and eventually balances the landscaping and designing internally.

Throughout the hotel, intricate designs of the jaali and the patterned designs borrowed from Rajasthani architecture lend an authentic Marwar touch, while the intricately designed capitals of the columns and the carved chattri give the building an ornateness that is appropriate for the era the hotel tries to recreate. The beautifully carved jharokha over the sit-out areas and the window openings add to the authentic touch.

Arts and craft
The interiors, designed by Interior Designer Shaukat Mukhi, are equally impressive. Arts and crafts of the region dot the rooms, while paintings done by a Jaipur-based artist adorn the walls. These paintings depict the lifestyle of the Royals of that era, along with their collection of paintings of vintage automobiles and aircrafts. Traditional Phad painting is also extensively used. These are paintings done with natural dyes on cotton looms. For this, special artisans were employed and large works of art were commissioned. "Extensive use of tikri glass and mirror mosaic along with stained glass work is also seen in the hotel premises", shares Mukhi.

Regal chambers
The guest rooms flaunt traditional Rajasthani design elements and aesthetics, even as they come equipped with modern amenities and facilities, making the accommodations a perfect mix of heritage and modern luxury. Four-poster beds, freestanding bathtubs, gold polished bathware, rich drapes and tapestry and period-looking furniture give the rooms an opulence associated with royalty. To ensure maximum comfort and suppress the noise that comes from the takeoff and landing of aircrafts at the airport nearby, the architects have used double-layered glass windows and double-layered insulated walls that not just keep out the sound but also help maintain a balanced temperature within the rooms.

Recreating the past from scratch is a difficult process, fraught with many pitfalls and cost issues. The architect and designer duo have managed to navigate these with skill and have built a hotel that combines the aesthetics of the past with the comforts of the present in a manner that will please any tourist!

Total Area: 1,24,000 sq ft
Total Cost: Rs 60 crore
Text: Sumisha Gilotra

Material chart
Civil work: Locally procured Rajasthan marble and stone such as Udaipur Green, Jaisalmer and Makrana white were used. Also used were vitrified tiles, Italian marble and composite marble. Decorative wood design: Teak wood was used substantially for grill work, decorative moldings and trims.
Washrooms: American Standard and Grohe.

Shaukat Mukhi Architect & Design Consultant, 02, Ocean Side,
Chimbai Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai 400 050.
Tel: 022-2640 4368.
Designers, Tel: 022-28551372.

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