In art, it is an age old technique to accentuate the contrast and create a powerful impression in the minds of the beholder. Chiaroscuro, a technique made famous by such artists as Caravaggio, is a stellar example how the playfulness of light standing against the depth of shadow can create masterful works of art. Renaissance architecture also made extensive use of this dramatic interplay of contrasts. At a later date, brutalist architecture sought to incorporate such striking contrasts in the exterior and interior of the buildings.
As Fernand Leger elaborated, “I organise the opposition between colours, lines and curves. I set curves against straight lines, patches of colour against plastic forms, pure colours against subtly nuanced shades of grey.” We love such juxtapositions in the interior of our houses. Perhaps life’s great canvas itself is so permeated with contraries that we feel ourselves to be at home in such a surrounding as this. As you will shortly see Casa Basáltica, one of Grupoarquitectura’s most remarkable creations, uses this technique in a very different way.
Casa Basáltica’s exterior is made up of clean lines, free flowing design, angular pattern and an all grey if not slightly stern look. It stands on a plot of 1600 sq metres. The house is fitted with latest home automation technology. It also uses 100% recycled water, solar panels and sophisticated energy efficient lighting. Except for other regular materials like concrete, it uses walnut in its interior and basaltina stone to decorate its façade.
A short walk across a small garden will take you to the sundeck and then the interior of the house. It is decorated with trees and shrubs and studded with deck chairs to loll on in the balmy evenings.
A narrow terrace, decorated with colourful stools, sofa and simple coffee table, acts as a getaway to the formal living room. It is here that you sense the first hint of contrast. The grey basaltic outfit so strikingly visible from the outside give way to sensuous colours and curvy designs.
The living room is fashionably decorated with modish sectional sofas, leather bound chairs, snug cushions, cosy rug and unusually shaped tables. Basaltic walls are adorned with simple abstract paintings. Broad glass windows replacing one of the walls provide generous views of the outside. Lighting fixtures are unfussy and functional in nature.
The dining parlour occupies one corner of another attractively designed lounge. One of its doors opens towards the garden. It is decorated with stylish furniture, including a comfy sofa with colourful cushions, area rug and storage units. A billiard table standing in the opposite side of the dining parlour indicates that this room doubles as fun zone on suitable occasions.
Casa Basáltica’s kitchen also uses same grey and white tone as seen in the rest of the house so far. The granite floor and shiny countertops offset the matte grey cabinets. This spacious kitchen is stuffed with all the facilities that could be necessary for cooking a bowl full of delicious guacamole or birria.
Casa Basáltica’s small hallway and staircase are cloaked in pitch black granite. With several paintings decorating its walls, the hall acts as a domestic art gallery of sort. Several ceiling mounted spotlights ensure that this space does not look dark and gloomy at any point of time during the day.
A private entertainment room is built on the first floor of the house. Cosily upholstered massive sectional sofa occupies the greater amount of this space. The opposite wall is dedicated to a tv cabinet, storage units and shelves. A handful of photographs and sculptures beautify the already stylish shelves. Wood panelled walls and wooden floor induce a sense of warmth in the area.
Like the rest of the house, the bedroom thrives in polarity as well. The cheeriness of the wooden wall panels and floor is balanced with the calmness of the blue bed furnishing, lavender tone chaise lounge and pale blue rug. Trendy shelves decorate the walls as does a skilful use of ambient and spot lighting fixtures.
The master bedroom suite has separate his and her dressing rooms. Both of these boasts of lavish décor, chic wooden shelves and wardrobes as well as a tactful use of decorative features. Ceiling design and spotlights give it a roomier feel. It has direct access to the respective bathrooms.
Except for subtle differences both the en suite bathrooms look almost identical. Both of them are furnished with latest sanitary fittings, high quality marble flooring, vanity units and mirrors. Potted plants and flowers are used for moisture absorption as well as beautifying the space.
A secondary slightly oblong shaped bedroom has similar wood flooring and walls like the master bedroom. Perhaps to offset the lack of sufficient space, it possesses a minimal décor. Except for a cosy double bed, cosier lounge chairs, a sleek coffee table and minimal cabinets it hardly has any space left to accommodate other elements of décor. The blue area rug is another prominent feature of the room. But the terrace outside, suitably decked up with garden chairs, acts as a powerful embellishment for the entire room.