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Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Scholar’s Suite at The Mayur is now inhabited and revisiting photos of a once-derelict property always seems to be a useful process at this final stage of the design process. The refurbishment of the 1-bedroom suite in the annexe courtyard adjacent to the original 1930s house went quickly but was split up into 4 phases: Phase 1 – Demolition, Phase 2 – Structure, Phase 3 – Builder’s Works & Services, Phase 4 – Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment. This made sense due to the nature of management of the project, travel requirements and so on. Below are classic ‘Before-After’ shots but also included is a ‘During’ shot for each intended to reveal aspects of the construction process.


Courtyard; Before & After


Courtyard; During


Entrance/Living Room; Before & After


Entrance/Living Room; During


Living Room; Before & After


Living Room; During


Kitchen/Dining; Before & After


Kitchen/Dining; During


Bedroom; Before & After


Bedroom; During


Bathroom; Before & After


Bathroom; During


Front Facade; Before & After


Front Facade; During

The next post about this project will be about the bespoke furniture and repurposed/reclaimed elements within the project.


The design intent of the new suite in the annexe courtyard of The Mayur was to create an experience for travelers/scholars that would heighten the sense of ambiguity at the threshold between home and hotel; echoing the original house and acting as a symbolic portal into the local Avadh region and beyond. As is customary at The Mayur visitors to the suite are likely to engage with the original home and contribute to its story, while simultaneously gaining an introduction to the region, neighboring regions and/or country through the visual queues around them within the suite . Studies of local textiles, architecture, art, festivals and popular culture brought forth the following images which influenced the theory behind the project and fed the design of each space. The images directly below are of the Imambara, Indian miniature painting, chikankari work, Woodblock-printing, mirror work, Ghalib’s haveli, old Bollywood poster from the movie ‘Don’, a blackboard, TV noise and the Indian festival of Holi.


Each of the main rooms and courtyard aim to reflect an aspect of the house’s history through symbolic references and repurposed components, as well as an element of regional art and culture. The courtyard’s swing echoes the swing in the main house; a point of social gathering for inhabitants of the house including domestic staff who use the room to watch TV, the owning family who take their morning tea in the room and guests from the guesthouse who gather throughout the day. Within the same courtyard, the 16 pavers and horse’s head at the main entrance to the suite mimic the chessboard; said to have been invented in India and given great significance in Indian/Mughal miniature paintings.


Courtyard; Section drawing (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The Mughal theme continues in the pastel-hued living room with its contemporary divan constructed from a repurposed window grille and shutter from the original derelict suite. The birds in the shelves are intended to recall the sensual pleasures of the vegetable garden that once existed adjacent to this suite.


Living Room; Photo of model (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The tiled portrait of the original owner in the bedroom is most clearly discernible from outside the window and appears to peer out at those in the courtyard. Hard and soft references to regional textiles including mirror work, chikankari and block printing inform the appearance of the bedroom.


Bedroom; Perspective view (left), Photo of completed work (right)

Blackboard paint on one wall of the kitchen/dining alludes to the many scholars who have stayed at The Mayur and is intended to allow future scholars to leave their trace by writing down their thoughts on the wall and rubbing them off, converting the wall into a sort of fixed palimpsest. Colours derived from old Bollywood posters are applied to the kitchen cabinetry and dining table-constructed out of sewing machine table legs and 2 repurposed window shutters.


Kitchen/Dining; Axonometric view (left), Photo of completed work (right)

The bathroom took on extreme colour seen in so many aspects of Indian life. The composition is a translation of an actual image of ‘TV noise’ into a specific pattern.


Bathroom; Detail Room Elevation (left), Photo of completed work (right)

It is always interesting to me to retrospectively compare sketches, drawings and models (on the left above) to the final product (on the right above). Of course another important comparison is the old ‘before-after’ coming up in my next post.

My latest architectural project is now complete and Part 1 of this series is to serve as an introduction to its history, context and concept. The newly refurbished 1-bedroom suite within the annexe courtyard of The Mayur in Lucknow, India could be seen as a 3-dimensional pictorial interpretation of Indian miniature paintings using as its representational tools a variety of surfaces that trace the history of the house and the region.


Noblewomen playing chess, ca. 1780-1800. Attributed to Nevasi Lal

The 20+ bedroom house, constructed in 1936 fusing together art deco and regional motifs, was originally intended to be an extended family home. Changes to the extended family structure resulted in the house later becoming more viable as a guesthouse. The guesthouse has come to be known as a place for scholars and the like, visiting Lucknow to carry out research.


Front of the 1930s house

The new suite reflects on the history of the house through devices such as portraiture of its original owner as well as drawing on regional art and culture.


Original owner: Brij Chand Sharma

The project works its way from the courtyard all the way into the interiors; fitted out with textiles such as chikankari and block-printed fabric and combined with colour schemes inspired by the Imambara (a Lucknowi monument) and old Bollywood posters.


Inside the Imambara


Old Bollywood poster

Constantly in transition, the property could see a future conversion into a boutique hotel or similar. The owners’ desire to reinvent and renew has resulted in this first foray into the refurbishment of one of its suites.



Scholar’s Suite; Courtyard

Part 2 will go into more detail about the finished project.