Penthouse Apartment which Amalgamates Contemporary With Tradition | KN Associates

Penthouse Apartment Which Amalgamates Contemporary With Tradition | KN Associates

The primary idea was to amalgamate contemporary with tradition”, says Mr. Narendra Joshi, The chief designer at KN Associates. Having established himself in the parallels of designing and photography, Joshi always works with a strong vision for the given space in his head. The residential project in question is a space owned by Mr. Prashant Shah and Mrs. Meena Shah, one of Joshi’s long-time friends in Vadodara, who approached KN associates for the designing. Having known the family of three and their respective choices very well, Mr. Narendra had a strong take on the space making and wanted to inculcate the best of the design principles and ideas to achieve the aesthetic standards he envisioned for the project.

The design team acquired the project right in its construction phase so as to make the civil alterations at the very commencing stage according to the requirements. Located in the suburban area of the Vadodara city, maintaining the expression of free-flowing and openness was a key point in altering the array of spaces in the penthouse.

The dimensional and contiguous hierarchy right from the foyer to the living room translating into dining space and later leading to the private areas adds a unique experience in one’s movement inside the residence. Designer Narendra Joshi has a unique approach to each of his projects, which is mostly derived from the micro observations of the personality of its users lending a discreet quality to each of his designs. For this residence, he wanted to bring out the intangibles in the form of vivid materials, panoramic vistas, simplicity, and spatial grandeur. The entire house is like a poetic paradox that has been consciously created by the design team on board.

The entire pent house spreads over an area of 4500 sq. ft. and has two different levels within. Being the connoisseurs of ethnic accents themselves, the Shah family envisioned their new house to be a frolicsome cocoon of art and comfort. The designers perhaps came up with the concept of a modern-ethnic house with statement contemporary furniture details enveloped in conventional wall claddings and indigenous materials. The subtle warm palette used throughout the dwelling gives a very welcoming effect resonating with the personality of the dwellers. The house strikes the right chords of eccentricity and cosiness.

Living spaces:

The foyer in any house is important congregational spaces especially when we talk about Indian context. This is the first space encountered by anyone entering the house and it certainly leaves an impression on them. Moreover, the habit of seeing our guests off, waving at them until they disappear out of sight is what we all fondly do. Keeping the same emotion in mind, the spacious foyer has been designed to accommodate all the farewells as well as greeting emotions. Some statement wooden furniture pieces with intricate details make up for perfect accessories for such corners and ambient light guides your way through the door even in the darkest hour.

Adding to the indigenous aesthetic of the house, Joshi placed his signature favorite terracotta masks customised to downplay the white volume of the wall. You will see such little artistic details playing peek-a-boo in the entire residence. The foyer smoothly flows into the main living area of the house, which actually is the focal point of the design. The contemporary loungers set amidst the background of ethnic details in the form of brick walls and wooden jali doors create a mindful fusion of modern and traditional. Mrs. Shah, who happens to be a fashion designer herself, got involved in the process landing some valuable suggestions in detailing out the tapestries.

The basic white linen curtains with alluring block prints added a dreamy touch to the entire space. However, the show-stopping detail in the living room has to be the vintage jharokha that has been scored and refurbished by the design team. The old window was repainted with small figurines and minute details by an artist on the team and was added right above the diwan adding grandeur in the space.

The colour scheme is warm punctuated by neutral hues that come in the form of tapestries and flooring strikes the right balance. The sleek stand-alone steel staircase, a signature design element of Joshi’s work, has been cladded in exposed brick to mark its importance in the hierarchy of spaces. According to the designer, the staircase cabin is much more than just a transitional space. He metaphorically treats this element as a mood board for the space giving it a definition of its own. In the penthouse, the staircase acts as a spine and has been treated with equal proportions of classy and quirky. The ambient lighting from the chic long hanging fixtures creates a majestic frame.

Common spaces:

The dining space has been kept clear and minimal keeping in mind the elaborate festivities and dining practices of Gujarati families. The combination of wooden cladding alongside white walls brings a rather inviting charm to space and keeping it neat and less fussy makes it more functional. The very Indian design of the chairs maintains the design language lingering around the space.  Mr. Narendra Joshi who also has an inclination towards photography has decorated the space with a couple of photos clicked by himself around the city.

The kitchen has been kept minimal and functional with darker hues to avoid staining. The ‘Less is More’ approach is the key to designing the functional spaces in a house. Also, the idea of adding micro dining in the kitchen seems super-efficient during breakfast and mini-meals.

Assembling spaces:

The residence is like a hive with a strong hierarchy and succession of spaces considering its function and its character. It is as if the family’s private nest is gradually coming out of its corner and opening up into its natural surroundings. This is where some buffer spaces like balconies play a pivotal role in secluding the cosy penthouse from its otherwise noisy neighborhood.

The balcony, which is like an oasis in the desert on the floor above, can be accessed through the sleek staircase. A step inside and space teleports you to a quieter world, close to nature. Inviting and cosy, this balcony makes up the most perfect spot for an evening chai, a friends’ reunion, a private party, an intimate family rendezvous or even a private book reading indulgence. The beautiful sight of the little plants and shrubs carefully grown all around relaxes the eyes. Blurring the boundaries of inside and outside, this little green pocket is manifested in a way that allows the family members to soak in nature while still enjoying the comforts of being indoors.

The vertical garden has been created keeping in mind the urban surroundings and the need to have a green cover around us. In addition, the client Mrs. Meena Shah shares her passion for gardening and Bonsai, which can be expressed bountifully here. Accentuated by the antique jhula, the balcony puts you at peace. The little artistic details in terms of a refurbished antique door and a couple of handpicked sculptures and side tables are evident in every corner of the Shah abode.

Private spaces:

The balance of rustic and modern materials in every bedroom is a testimony of the designer’s vast experience and knowledge in understanding his clients and fulfilling their requirements. “While designing a residing space for a nuclear family of three from varied age-groups, it’s always a good idea to mix things up”, says Joshi. The classic combination of white walls, wooden furniture, and matte materials can never go wrong. The chic contemporary beds in warm tones are well offset by intricate headboards and soft details creating an elegant and fuss-free ambiance inside the bedrooms. The lighter tones of the furnishings bring about a relaxed aura.


Architects : K.N. Associates.

Location : Vadodara, Gujarat , India.

Category : Residential  Interiors.

Lead Architects : Narendra Joshi , Vivek Gandhi.

Area :  4500 sq.ft.

Project Year : 2019

Photographs :  Tejas Shah

Text : Tanvi Thakkar

Narendra Joshi


Founder and principal designer of the firm, Narendra Joshi rose from humble beginnings. With a degree in Civil Engineering, he studied at M.S University and worked with some prestigious architects of Baroda like Ar. Karan Grover, Ar. Percy Pithawala and Ar. Moni Phukan, who became the pioneers that helped him immeasurably in expanding his vision and imagination.

KNA started as an unpretentious firm in 2007, but steered to an unprecedented and exponential success in a short span of time. For some time now, KNA has made its mark in the city with a distinguished portfolio of projects in architecture, interior, landscape and furniture/product design in various scales and typology. Mr. Joshi strongly believes that it’s the process that goes behind a design which is worthy of all the drama. His priority has been building strong relations with the clients, understanding their needs, and delivering an outcome which is not just aesthetically pleasing but is functional and appropriate in that context. As a practice, we believe in collaborating with people who share the same design ideology as us. We are sensitive and vigilant enough to know where to intervene and where to give freedom to the artisans to ensure better results from the process. We believe in transformation of existing into the unimaginable, with focus on scale, character, spatial and visual impact, use of material, construction techniques and project aesthetics along the way.

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