conceptual landscaping flows into indian residence’s open space

Mumbai-based Kunal Maniar & Associates takes over the landscape design of a Delhi bungalow’s surroundings binding two distinct concrete structures with an ‘elemental’ thread. Ensuring that the landscape blends seamlessly with the built form, the project draws from the four elements of nature to create a conceptual design. Approaching landscaping as storytelling, the plan weaves together three distinct spatial experiences that flow into each other and bind the space into one cohesive whole.

Right outside the living room sits a large concrete monolith that is fondly called ‘The Shanti Bench,’ referencing the bungalow’s name, ‘Shantiniketan’. Its pristine white color encapsulates the ideal of ‘shanti’ or ‘peace,’ and exudes qualities of tranquillity to the space. The minimalist form echoes the subtle curvatures in the Hindu god Shiva’s trident. The area facing the east enjoys plentiful sunlight and is dedicated to meditation or friendly gatherings.

'elemental' landscaping weaves across two concrete monoliths in delhi
the fire pit grants you a beautiful vista of the green lawn at eye level | all images by Kunal Maniar & Associates

design allows the coexistence of the core elements of nature

Coming out of this private zone, the garden room is encountered, enclosed on three sides by a crisp ‘Malpighia’ hedge. For the designer, an important part of the process lies in the connection of space to personal experiences, thus the planning evokes a sense of nostalgia. ‘The confines of the room and the calming sound of the water in the birdbath create an environment conducive to introspection as the bench that can be placed on either side allows users to enjoy the intimate setting’, Kunal Maniar explains. Walking out of the room into the courtyard garden, a sunken seating area adorns the green lawn space forming a nestled gathering zone around the bonfire. The elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air are linked in this area through the intricate design. ‘It’s important to me that my work pays ode to the coexistence of the core elements of nature. I strongly believe that soulful landscape design can reconnect people with these elements’, shares the architect.

'elemental' landscaping weaves across two concrete monoliths in delhi
a sunken seating area adorns the green lawn space forming a nestled gathering zone

'elemental' landscaping weaves across two concrete monoliths in delhi
the fire pit holds the focal point of the courtyard

'elemental' landscaping weaves across two concrete monoliths in delhi
the landscaping binds two distinct concrete structures with an ‘elemental’ thread