His home is as towering as his magnanimous yet humble personality. Managing Director and Founder, Wonderla Holidays Ltd., Arun K. Chittilappilly gives us a peak around his spanking and spacious new home. Son of Sheela and Kochouseph Chittilappilly, who founded V-Guard Industries, and one of the most eligible bachelors of South India, Arun moved to his 6,000 sq ft apartment at Sky Gardens, Bangalore recently. We are totally floored by the play of natural sunlight and sleek and clean minimalistic interiors.
After learning the ropes of the family business in Kochi, Arun set up his own venture on a much larger scale, in Bengaluru, in the name of Wonderla. He has amusement parks not only in Bengaluru and Kochi, but in Hyderabad as well. He has been a key architect of Wonderla Amusement Parks and has been actively involved in strategising and conceptualising the parks and resorts. Arun now has plans to build more large-format amusement parks in the metros of India, with a big project launching in Chennai soon.
Telling us about the idea he had in his mind, when he moved into this house, Arun shares, “I wanted to move to a high-rise apartment which was also spacious. However, I knew that my apartment had to be modified as I felt the bedrooms were small. I knew that this apartment had to be extensively redesigned to suit my needs. And I was game. It took a while, but it’s worth the waiting and effort that we have put in to create this space.”
Ace architect duo Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand of Khosla Associates worked in sync with Arun on this project. No wonder it is seamless in all senses of the word. “My brief to the architect firm was a light and airy space with very modern but minimal furniture. I have always liked Sandeep and Amaresh’s work. I had seen a few houses done by them and felt that they could do a great job with my apartment. Sandeep also liked modern and minimal design, so I felt it was a natural fit. I also wanted to increase space in bedrooms, so we agreed to convert my space into a large three-bedroom house from the original four-bedroom plan,” reveals the proud house owner.
Some of the elements that give this space a distinct touch are its comfortable chic interiors sans any fuss. “I like the fact that we used a mid-century modern theme for the home with a very 21st century twist. It’s a mix of modern and retro but done very tastefully. I like the white marble that gives a real feeling of space in the living areas. A lot of the furniture was custom made and came out really well. The console table near the sky light as soon as you walk into the living area is one of my most favourite spots in the home. I also really like the master bedroom design and the main balcony too,” shares Arun.
Having travelled to Galapagos, Machu Picchu, UK, US, Europe, Canada, Australia and to many other places, Arun is known to have a passion to explore the world in its entirety. On his travels, he has also collected some of the rare pieces that find a prominent place in this abode. “One of the distinctive elements in the home is the lighting. We used a very special chandelier which I bought from New York for the dining room. Another favourite is a pendant lamp by Verner Panton, a very famous Danish designer, besides many other artefacts and such.”
A feeling of freedom is evident in this 6000, sq ft space. The sit outs are truly breathtaking. We loved that part of the home where the living room opens out to the blue skies above and the lush green trees and lawns below. “The home has a large balcony overlooking the beautiful Bangalore city sky line which is one of the highlights. The original design had lawns and space for a large tree. But we decided to convert the space into an outdoor lounge. Sandeep suggested wooden decking and very sleek but comfortable lounge seating and a wooden bar with stools. All the furniture here was custom made in Bangalore. We also used some large ceramic pots with plants to give some warmth to the space. This is one of the most used spaces in the house,” he states, adding, “Sandeep and Amaresh have vast knowledge about design and they helped me a lot in selecting the right pieces to go with the overall design. Also, their extensive experience in the field helped in remodelling of rooms within the constraints of the building.”
Working together for two decades now, Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand like to bounce ideas and stimulate each other’s thought process. Amaresh then takes the lead in the architectural detailing of the project and Sandeep takes the lead on the interiors and styling. Their attitude towards living a balanced and harmonious life is intertwined with the kind of architecture they want to practice that is in harmony with the natural environment.
They have both had very different journeys and of course different mentors who they have encountered in our younger days. Many of their architectural heroes however are the same, and they both admire the work and design philosophy of Geoffrey Bawa, Charles Correa (whom Sandeep worked with), Tadao Ando, Nari Gandhi and David Chipperfield amongst others.
After working with each other for many years, they realised that they have a very good understanding, mutual respect and a complementary skill set; and hence decided to partner with each other. They are both hugely inspired by their journeys across the world and have had some crazy experiences together. Recalling one of them, Sandeep shares, “When we did a project on a remote island in the Maldives, it would take us two days, four flights and one speed boat to get there! On another trip to Austria, we trekked up a mountain in the snow at midnight and then sled down the same!”
Here’s what they have to say about this space. In the words of Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand of Khosla Associates…
The large expanse of polished Brazilian white marble is the omnipresent material in the space that gives the apartment a feeling of lightness and expanse. This is offset against certain highlight walls in crotch mahogany and fluted teakwood. Floral Wallpapers in the dining and three bedrooms bring in an element of whimsy to the space.
Rather than having several doors visible to the bedrooms, we concealed these openings by providing a seamless and frameless ‘L shaped wall’ clad entirely in crotch mahogany veneer. Doors to the bedrooms thus blend into the walls and a storage bar unit is also cleverly concealed within its form.
The balcony is an outdoor space for respite where one can truly connect with the views on the 11th floor overlooking the Garden City. An outdoor bar unit in teak and comfortable seating in a distressed wood complement the space. Cement planters with Dracaena and other species of plants envelope the space. Arun’s energy and our design was at par, as we saw the same vision. We used an intelligent spatial layout, a sumptuous yet appropriate colour and material palette to capture airiness of the space along with uninterrupted views of the city.
The entry lift foyer is ensconced in the warmth of textured wood contrasted with a base of seamless white marble. We defined one wall in elegant fluted teak, while its perpendicular wall is dressed in crotch mahogany veneer. A few chosen elements like an art deco console and a 1900’s chair are highlighted.
The intimacy of this space opens into the large expanse of living and dining is subtly broken into three areas. On entering the living room, an informal seating area is partitioned from the dining by a freestanding teak modernist screen with brass trims. An L wall clad in rich mahogany veneer anchors the main living area to its north. It conceals the door to a bedroom and also houses storage of bar and linen.
There was a conscious decision to use varying species and finishes of wood. There are geometric elements worked into the rugs, the cushions and even the artwork by young contemporary Indian that lift the general colour palette of earth tones with turquoise, garnet and prune.
Light fixtures such as the one over the dining area which has brushed brass, copper and glass components are treated as works of art and asymmetrical quirky floral wallpapers playfully break the geometric elements of the space.
The western periphery of the living area was left intentionally free of any furniture so that there is visual continuity with the expanse of white flooring merging from indoors into the surrounding green cover and sky, and a linear framed skylight on this periphery floods the apartment with natural light.
The master bedroom is a place for refuge, for reading and binge-watching TV shows. The space is muted with filtered eastern light through linen sheers and a bespoke hand finished teak floor. The theme of flowers continues behind the leather bed headboard with another floral wallpaper.
So in this apartment there is a deliberate manipulation of your experience from one space to another; from an intimate ensconced foyer to an expensive and airy living to the calm and refuge of the bedroom.