Ar Bobby Mukherji, Pallavi Dean, Ar Hiren Patel, Nisha Jamvwal on High-End Residential Projects- Surfaces Reporter Cover Story

Cover Story: High-End Residential Projects- New Market & Needs AFTER COVID

Architects Bobby Mukherji, Hiren Patel, Interior Designers Pallavi Dean, Nisha Jamvwal discuss about luxury homes, how residential properties will change in design, renovation, buying of new building materials and products after COVID pandemic. The demands and new needs....

SURFACES REPORTER (SR) had organised a special LIVE webinar on “Demands and New Needs in HI-END RESIDENCES” to capture the current market changes in the luxury residential market, in conversation with the frontliners of the industry. This webinar received huge viewership of 10,000+ views through various channels of SR. Along with this super lineup of speakers from architecture & design, this discussion had the presence of dignitaries who represented as clients from the top luxury segment – renowned kathak dancer Dr Padmashri Guru Shovana Narayan, Manoj Barthwal, Executive Director from ONGC, and Tushar Aggarwal, Director, Paramount Wires & Cables Ltd. Along with the webinar coverage, here we have added exclusive glimpses of some High-end luxury Houses designed or owned by the architects themselves. To see the entire coverage wait for our next edition.

The ongoing pandemic has hit the economic and social scenario at large. As the world was locked within their living spaces of homes, technology had made it possible to stay connected with the outside world and continue the lives. This situation also brought in light the shortcomings of the current dwellings. With the pandemic hitting hard, not only the prices of the luxury residences are seeing a decline, but the fundamentals of the interiors & spaces are subject to major shifts as well.

Ar Hiren Patel, Hiren Patel Architects, Ahmedabad

The dwellings, that were built to relax and spend quality time with families at the end of a harsh day spent in offices or otherwise, are now striving to be much more. The architectural design of our homes has a huge impact on our well-being during trying times like these, if not otherwise. Hence, understanding the new needs is paramount in order to move forward. There are many changes that need to be done in homes due to the current predicaments of our lives, such as building a dedicated workspace, which is more efficient, self-sufficient kitchens, open-to-sky spaces closed to nature with cross-ventilation in focus.

I think everybody is going to be more conscious about the hygiene, whether it’s a 1 BHK apartment or a private villa and we will look for the spaces that are easy to maintain.

-Ar Hiren Patel.

The concept of “Work From Home” has now become a norm. While there are some areas of work that cannot be done without being physically on site, there are plenty of works that
don’t demand so. Thus, the work-life regime is going to see a huge change. Entertainment, much like a theatre experience, to be included as a part of the living space, is going to see a huge surge in demand. The lavish interiors are taking a more practical approach and also becoming more inclusive. Artificial Intelligence will play a huge role and even the colour scheme will be affected post COVID.

Designed by Hiren Patel Architects, this modern singlefamily residence is situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India


The Mango House by Ar Puran Kumar, Principal at Studio PKA

Ar Puran Kumar, Principal at Studio PKA believes in creating spaces that exude a strong sense of place and identity. The Mango House has been christened ‘Pool’– referring not just to the swims, but to the talent, skills, and most importantly the pool of ideas that people bring in with them. The unwavering desire to allow the house to blend in and become one with the land is accentuated by the earthy tones of exposed brick and concrete that complement the verdant landscape around it.

Home Offices

People have been using their study room mostly for home-offices for working from home, yoga, meditation, exercise, etc. However, having your family around makes concentration on work in a common space, difficult to attain. While, some people may have worked from their bedrooms claiming full attention to work, the practice is alluding and more distractive. Therefore, the need of a dedicated space—if not an entire room—meant only for work with proper work table, internet connection and desk space will be a focal point for designers post-Covid.

Kelly Wearstler, Founder and Principal of Kelly Wearstler is an American Designer . This residence shown above is situated at the Malibu Beach incoming tide, belonging to Kelly Wearstler and her family, signifies a new wave in the designer’s style. The home has a castaway allure with a sunbleached colour palette, consisting of shades of driftwood taupe, misty gray, watery green, and shell pink. The Wave-patterned marble walls evoke the feeling of abstract art and chunky, modernist furniture.

Home Automation

When it comes to automation, kitchen and homeoffices are not the only spaces to be updated. The role of AI in terms of every utility to lessen the contact with surfaces of appliances is going to be huge. Remote-controlled devices are going to be upgraded to voice control more likely.

Malibu Beach House by Kelly Wearstler


Self-help has become the new norm because staff, helps, assistants are all going to be in their own spaces for security purposes. This enhances the need of AI (artificial Intelligence) at home. For instance, I always had a mini robot to help clean up at home because I don’t like to impose on my staff. Currently, I have upgraded the robotic technology in my home so that it becomes not only more hygienic but also more self-reliant.

-Nisha JamVwal, Columnist, Designer, Brand Consultant, Influencer

Hassle-free Interiors and Surfaces

The surfaces of furniture and overall spcaes such as wallpapers, floorings, ply, sunmicas etc. are going to be a serious concern while designing. A conscious choice will have to be made by the designers post lockdown about the surfaces and their qualities. High-maintenance materials are not likely to find a buyer in the near future. Materials such as Premium Wooden floorings, stones, tiles, will be centerstage for their immunity against germs and dust.

Carpets are likely to become just another piece to be art and treated as an extravaganza. Although, Ar Hiren Patel presented the hope that carpet companies might come up with a solution for that soon. “Every product designers will be working in terms of making their products easy to maintain, having better life and free from germs,” he said.

Payal Kapoor, Principal Designer, Visions, New Delhi
Payal Kapoor’s own home has a classic contemporary feeling. The pieces of art have been collected over a period of time, during the designer’s travel across the globe. The Venetian mirrors, Art by masters like Raza, MF Hussain, Satish Gujral or Ramachandran or KIRAN Mohindra - all are collected over the years.

Hygiene Must

As the Covid stroked, the entire world became conscious about dust, germs and hygiene in general, way more than it used to be. In luxury homes and villas, inevitably with the presence of a large number of staf working round the clock for various purposes, maintaining hygiene becomes even more important.

“Now people will become conscious of the hygiene, and as designers we will be making places that are more hygienic for even the people working in the house. Even from the owner’s perspective that request will surely arise,” says Ar Hiren Patel. He strongly feels that the servants’ quarters will be paid much more attention while designing than that of pre-Covid.

"I think designer will focus more on creating work spaces at homes even if it’s small apartment or studio. Space for household help becomes very important because you want them to stay-at-home like a family member, protected from the outside world in order to protect your family from the outside infection."

-Ar Bobby Mukherji

Ar Bobby Mukherji also feels, “Space for household help becomes very important because you want them to stay-at-home like a family member, protected from the outside world in order to protect your family from the outside infection. The less they go out, the safer for you feel from them. So you need to create a comfortable space for them. It is your responsibility to take care of these things. These will also be a must-have in a luxury home in the coming time.”

In terms of hygiene, a lot of value engineering is also going to be included in the future spaces. Pallavi Dean, Roar, Dubai, shared her experience with SR, “We have been working on a spa, where the filtration system used is super expensive, which was for value engineering. Likewise, the antimicrobial paints we were using, we thought it was a good-to-have but now it is a must-have.”

She further added, “So, I think when we consider luxury, it has to be some long-term solutions. Filtration systems, air purification, decompression zones in your own home and things in general that has longevity are going to be more important than ever.”

Multifunctional and Acoustically aligned Spaces

“I think that we always want to look for an agile space that is multifunctional, adoptable, can cater to different needs”, says Pallavi Dean, Roar, Dubai. She also shared that the kind of
modern open architecture we were going for previously may see a major change due to acoustic flows.

The designs of the dwellings are needed to do more than only de-cluttering. The lockdown will entail a spatial reconfiguration towards more open spaces for the needs such as exercise and family gatherings or just to be able to be in a same place as your family and friends keeping social distance in mind (or to be able to be in your own zone even being in common space with others).

“Our home is very modern, with an open plan. All the spaces flow into each other. So the acoustics are nightmare, which I never noticed before. I can hear my kids, my dog, everyone while working. It made me think that maybe I would go for more traditional closed spaces,” Pallavi added.

Adding to the need of multifunctional spaces at homes, Ar Hiren Patel also said, “We have to actually become very sensitive in totality and instead of adding unconsciously, we
have to see how we make multiple uses.”

He also feels that the spatial approach needs to be changed and your work doesn’t need to be generated from a restraint of space, especially when you work from home. Giving a
glimpse of a change, he shared, “In India, people are more informal, compared to companies abroad, like Dubai or so. In our office we sit down on the floor and do the meetings. Most of our clients, say they would sit for that kind of floor meetings only. So you have to break the spatial approach and as long as you are good at the design, the result of work is all that matters.”

Need for Privacy

Too much proximity also becomes the enemy of love. This phenomenon is much applied in the current scenario. As the entire family with different age groups spends all their time under a single roof, the need for some privacy to conduct their own means of living becomes undeniable. “Privacy has become a big issue”, says Nisha Jamwval, “My clients are reaching out to ask how can we create space for themselves because, you don’t want to be interacting all the time, how much ever you love your people. You want that sense of space to do your own things.”

She further added, “I had seen a trend since a year ago where builders have started creating not one, but two master bedrooms, to avoid any difference between the couple over bringing work to bedroom.”

This trend along with the rising stress and anxiety is sure to be picked up by a large number of people.

Ar Nitin Killawala, Director, 67 Architects and Planners, Mumbai
The residence of Ar Nitin Killawala at Mumbai, ‘Smriti 57’ is located on a small plot. Steel as a construction material of the residence offers tremendous flexibility in planning, speed of construction as well as an opportunity in expressing ‘structural aesthetics’.

Moving out from Cities

The pandemic has made people crave for a break from crowded cities and reach back to nature. While it is not possible for every socio-economic group of the society, for those who can afford, a second home, or even a permanent home outside the city will be an optimum option.

“The idea is that the suburb living spaces should not be too far away from the main working places, like a metro city so that too much time will not be wasted in commuting.The trend of moving in the suburbs has already been seen in many developed countries. People have been working this way since many years,” says Bobby Mukherji.

Giving an example of this trend, he added, “We designed a large weekend condominium Complex on the outskirts Bombay in Mud Island for the Raheja’s called Raheja’s Exotica. We had designed that entire environment with a resort like development meant only for weekend use. But after 15 years when you actually see the statistics, you realise that 30% of these apartments and villas are permanently occupied. People have moved in there for good. They have houses in cities but they like to be in the outskirts, due to clean air and environment”.

Hiren Patel also concluded on this concern saying, “There are a lot of courageous people who would like to go outskirts including many youngsters will do that. In Europe, there are people who live in small towns and journey to the main city for work once a week. I believe that similar system will soon happen in India as well.”

Efficiency of Work

As the pandemic created a labour unrest and a sudden break from the ongoing practices, coming back to the norm is going to take special efforts and while we are at it, keeping work efficiency in mind will be paramount. With most workers already headed to their home villages, the construction in the cities becomes costlier.

“In terms of building materials with the short supply of construction workers, now I can see that people are going to be very conscious because the labour costs are going to be going up, at least for some time till we find the solution to this issue”, shared Bobby Mukherji.

This unrest will make a trend in terms of choosing materials. He believes,“The building materials that require least amount of labour in terms of man hours will become more attractive for instance flooring that can done in halfa-day. Such solutions will take the centerstage.”

Bobby pointed out the efficiency of construction abroad and feels that India needs to adopt certain traits at earliest. “The time taken for construction in UAE is one third or one fourth than that of India. They are following the best practices from the US and Europe and they are able to produce projects in a very short period of time”.

This level of efficiency only can be achieved with proper planning and materials, that can allow the construction process to move in a faster pace.

Ar Dipen Gada, Principal Designer, Dipen Gada & Associates, Vadodara
The residence of Ar Dipen Gada in Vadodara, Gujarat, is designed keeping in the mind the concept of bold minimalism. The Green Landscape on the terrace seems a great buffer for the house.

Made in India

India is going through a shift to cultivate a strong home grown supply system for the past few years and after the lockdown this shift will be more apparent. Furnishing homes with products collected from around the world is going to see a stiff decline. Products available in India will improve many folds as well will cater to the world-class population that India holds today.

The building materials that require least amount of labour in terms of man hours will become more attractive for instance flooring that can done in half-a-day. Such solutions will take the centerstage.

Advocating for the Indian Artisans, Hiren Patel said, “We are a country of great heritage, artists with excellent crafts. We have so many skilled artisans and designers, it is our duty and
responsibility to take care of these people. We have to find a system.”

Agreeing with the notion, Bobby Mukherji added, “The last handful people left of the karigars will cease to exist if not taken care of. Then we would have to import people to work from outside countries like Philippines, Cambodia etc. So we should protect them”.

Amita Kulkarni & Vikrant Tike Founders, Studio Amita Vikrant, Goa

Sun House by SAV studio


“The basic shell of your house should get ready at site and the rest of this decoration stuff from the home-grown artisans can come in from outside (from their villages). It is the most efficient way of creating or buying a home now.”

Malibu Beach House by Kelly Wearstler

Advocating for the Indian Artisans, Hiren Patel said, “We are a country of great heritage, artists with excellent crafts. We have so many skilled artisans and designers, it is our duty and responsibility to take care of these people. We have to find a system.”

Sun House by SAV studio

Agreeing with the notion, Bobby Mukherji added, “The last handful people left of the karigars will cease to exist if not taken care of. Then we would have to import people to work from outside countries like Philippines, Cambodia etc. So we should protect them”.



Manoj Barthwal, Executive Director & Head Academy, ONGC

Mr Barthwal has shared his beautiful home in Dehradun filled with plants and flowers where he is living with his wife. His message to the architecture fraternity was:

“It’s my humble request to the learned architects that while designing luxury houses for the high end clients, let’s start to reproduce materials and design ideas that are cost-effective and can get one a home at a very competitive price for those who are not fortunate enough.”

Padmashri Guru, Dr. Shovana Narayan, Renowned Kathak Dancer

“Be very sensitive, caring and respectable to all the artisans, while using the great creativity of Indian people. I urge architects and others to create opportunities for artists in their projects. Among the change that classical artisist studio needs after COVID, we have had this home Studio created and realised what a nightmare for an artist to have mirrors everywhere. Having mirrors all around the studio doesn’t help to shoot or go online and they are certainly not camera friendly. So we need to design spaces that are both camera friendly and can have mirrors to view our performances.”

Tushar Aggarwal, Director, Paramount Wires & Cables Ltd.

“My first requirement post COVID is a decent home office which can be seamless in its function and gives me the peace-of-mind with the feeling of work environment. With the notion of work from home happening right now, we should rely on artificial intelligence more and decrease our reliance on human helps. We need to create an ecosystem so that people can work from homes.”


P.S: Some images are taken from Google.

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Surfaces Reporter is India’s 1st magazine specialized on “products & materials” for architecture & Interiors! The prime objective of Surfaces Reporter magazine is to contribute positively to the Indian material industry, with unbiased information & awareness initiatives.

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