'Manjadi' - the house of the Bead tree
This contextually designed Kerala home takes its design cues from an existing tree on site, adding nostalgia and warmth to the interiors
A climatically efficient home rooted in the cultural context of India, Manjadi is the result of several iterations and explorations through a continuous design process by NO Architects Designers and Social Artists. The house is built on a West facing site, with a remarkable old Bead tree, commonly called ‘Manjadi’, right at the entrance. This leguminous tree with a rough textured bark, bright polished red seeds and vibrant green leaves inspired the design.
Anyone who has spent their childhood roaming the green and verdant landscape of rural Kerala would have fond memories of collecting the seeds of Manjadi tree that resembles rubies. The wild beauty of these seeds, combined with their relative rarity made them coveted objects to kids. This tree also forms an integral part of the cultural landscape of India depicted in many folktales and stories.
The house has an open plan with freely flowing spaces and connected volumes to overcome the limitations of a linear foot print. Passive cooling is ensured by the green court and water garden that act as an open to sky, family space protected from the harsh tropical weather.The interior of the house is defined by an interplay of light, darkness and colours.
On the first floor, the master bedroom opens to a linear balcony with a slidable wooden partition, for protection from the afternoon heat. It also has a weathered steel jali on the outer façade, with an intricate water cut pattern, that filters the twilight sun. It resembles a lantern at night, paying homage to the rich craft heritage of India. The kitchen is a more utilitarian version of a traditional Asian kitchen, in pastel shades.
The colour palette displays a sharp contrast of earthen tones with different hues of blue, accentuated by a combination of warm and white lighting. Both the exteriors and interiors show hints of the magical blue, in varying shades. The landscape design for this house introduces varying colours and textures to the native lush green flora of the tropics. The subtle addition of nature-inspired aesthetics has transformed a contemporary utilitarian house into a tropical living space, with a unique Indian identity.
Clients: Sini Jayachandran and Jayachandran.G
Architects: NO Architects Designers and Social Artists
Design Team: Harikrishnan Sasidharan, Neenu Elizabeth, Akhila Menon, Babin Babu, Robin Joseph, Mayuresh Muley, Jasmin Khatun, Sonali Nath
Engineering: Abhilash Rajan, Structural Design
Landscape: NO Architects Designers and Social Artists
Consultants: Varun Baby, Educe Consultants
Collaborators: Suresh Palayan(Chief Mason), Sudheep Kumar(Stone and Tile Laying), Shaji.M.S (Structural Contractor), Kumar Natarajan(Fabrication Works) , Sanju Mohan(Painting Contractor)
Photography: lal @redzphotography