As a botanical garden converted into a resort, The Gateway Resort Damdama Lake, Gurgaon, is India´s first Gateway branded resort. Designed with the urban nomad as the target customer, the nature resort is conceptualised by Delhi-based Rajeev Agarwal Architects as a weekend retreat. The design is reflective of the resort´s natural setting, with a lake nearby and the Aravali range of mountains surrounding it.
With 1790 full-grown trees on the existing site, all of which have been retained, the resort lends the feeling of walking in a garden. ¨The resort´s design is a contemporary interpretation of natural designs. The idea is to help guests escape the confines of urban life and rejuvenate in the natural surroundings of the resort,¨ shares Rajeev Agarwal, Principal Architect, Rajeev Agarwal Architects.
The main block with all the public areas is organised in a linear form. The courtyards that comprise the main block have trees puncturing the building´s slab. These courtyards are enclosed in clear-frameless glass to get an uninterrupted inside-outside connection.
The rooms are organised in villas, with four rooms per villa. These have been scattered in a random pattern located within the interstitial spaces between the trees and other thick plantation. Four painted-craft forms, namely Kalamkari, Gond, Mata-ni-Pacheri and Phad, are used as artworks in the rooms. All of these are hand-painted on fabric using either mineral and stone colours or vegetable dyes.
Strong, nature-inspired elements are used within the interior spaces to celebrate nature. A large light installation suspended in the 9-meter high reception cuboid is symbolic of a banyan tree. Large appliquT panels hand-crafted by rural women are suspended in the reception lobby depicting nature in its myriad colours and forms. The restaurants are subdivided by a doubly curved partition, inspired by the geometry of a snail and the profile of tree branches covering a pathway, results in a multi dimensional element. Water reflections and ripples inspire the pre-function lobby ceiling and banquet carpets respectively. The signage has Warli-inspired graphics, which are hand carved on rough stone obelisks.
Larger than life scrap-metal sculptures, sourced from bike engines, spoons, metal rods and the like, placed throughout the landscape are reminiscent of the erstwhile village life. ¨Conceptualised by artist Gopal Namjoshi, the underlying idea of the artwork emerged from the architecture of the resort revealing the methodical process of craft and construction conceived in the form of flora and fauna, such as buffaloes, cows, goats, pelicans, birds and insects,¨ says Agarwal.
A raw touch
The materials used are in their natural and unprocessed form. Raw, quarried Jodhpur stone is used for exterior finishing. Landscape walls are made with local Delhi quartzite with random rubble stone masonry. Various sandstones and lime-stones are used for flooring and wall cladding throughout the resort with their natural textures intact. The exposed structural steel forms an important part of the design vocabulary. Large sheets of frameless clear glass are used to enclose the interior spaces providing invisible walls.
A short drive from the capital, this resort is sure to become one of the most sought after weekend destination for Delhiites.
Total Area: 20 acres site / 1,18,000 sq ft built-up
Total Cost: Rs.105 crore
photos: Kedar Malegaonkar / Dioxide Photography
Meet the architect
Firm: Rajeev Agarwal Architects founded in1990.
Firm specialisation: Gated leisure developments.
Design philosophy: Architecture is an embodiment of a way of life and the values that determine its path. A successful work of architectural design has simplicity and clarity with crystallisation of design thought and moves to a degree that the design is simple, almost austere.
Favourite architect/Designer: Joseph Allen Stein and Tadao Ando.
CONTACT Rajeev Agarwal, J-1963, Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi - 110 019. Tel: 011- 2627 4271, 2627 1576. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org