For Abdulla Kutty, the legendary Geoffrey Bawa will always remain a favourite – given the timeless nature of his work and his emphasis on contextual designs. But it was his ancestral home that he would visit during childhood vacations, that mesmerised him first. Something about the central open courtyard and the way it captured rain and sun, left him deeply interested in structures and spaces. “That very memory inspired me and led me to architecture,” says the architecture graduate from Bharath University (BIHER), Chennai, where his observation and perception of spaces was refined.
When he started his practice Kaleido Architects in 2011, the goal was to experiment and explore the world of architecture more intensely…but rooted in frequent interaction with the end users. “My objective was to create designs that work on ground and [that] resonate with the people.” With every project, the architect strives to “evoke the pleasure of the senses that goes hand-in-hand with the site context, culture and lifestyle of the end user.” In doing so, he consciously avoids creating “designs with no soul.”
One of Kutty’s significant projects that he aptly describes as “a space with a soul” is The Mere House in Mallapuram, Kerala. This weekend home is a blend of colonial and tropical style, where the built environment is cleverly integrated within the context of its natural surroundings. “This space cannot be defined, it is eccentrically designed to suggest to the viewer to pause and observe, to see what is around. The curved driveway to the house is designed to effectively spark curiosity and to savour the moment,” shares the 34-year-old.
Kutty values contextuality in design above all. “A beautiful design with no sense of context is what I don’t agree with,” he explains. “We should always create sensible designs that are energy efficient and have less impact on the environment.” In order to create such designs, he continues to learn and explore the profession through travel expeditions and design seminars. As for his favourite design tool, it is as simple as it gets – a pencil and paper are all he needs!