Vaishnavi Nayel Talawadekar is an internationally published architecture, design and art journalist.

Vaishnavi works out of a sunny studio called Mangomonk where she writes for publications big and small.

Latest Articles

An Ode to Gio Ponti: A 1920s Apartment in Milan by David/Nicolas.

Refurbishing a property designed by one architectural icon and redesigned by another can scare even the mightiest of architects. But the Lebanese design duo David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem of their namesake practice David/Nicolas, it seems, are immune to such angst, as evidenced by their latest project, an apartment in Milan dubbed Casa di Fantasia. Not only was the Haussmannian Art Deco-style home, constructed in 1923, designed by Mario Borgaro, it was refurbished by Gio Ponti twenty-nine

Neeta Lulla takes Vogue India inside her couture archive of iconic film costumes

There’s a song in Darr, the 1993 Yash Chopra-produced megahit, where Juhi Chawla peacocks about the pool in a shocking pink swimsuit. The colour, mind you, isn't what’s shocking. “You have to zoom in to find it,” deadpans Neeta Lulla. “I mean, really zoom in.” By “it”, she means her logo, which, at no more than a fingernail large, has taken me twenty attempts and my toddler’s toy microscope to locate. “It was a dare,” continues the 4-time National Award-winning couturier and costume designer, wh

Vinu Daniel: The architect creating homes out of waste.

Vinu Daniel isn’t your average architect. He doesn't own an office. He creates buildings out of earth and litter. And for anything he constructs, he sources materials within a 5-mile radius. Some might call the Dubai-raised, India-based architect a maverick, and if his recent projects are anything to go by, they wouldn't be wrong. The list includes a mountain-shaped abode fashioned from construction debris; a red brick house with shapeshifting walls; and a subterranean home, carved into a rock face, with a foundation comprising four thousand discarded plastic bottles. For a job that takes him all over India and the world, the award-winning architect, who runs Indian architecture practice Wallmakers, has learned to live out of a suitcase: “For now, my home is where my work is.”

This 1,200-square-foot Nagpur home brims with secret storage

There’s little not to love about balconies, especially the one at this Nagpur home; cool winds on hot days, sunset views, or, as in the case of entrepreneurs Mayuri and Vivek Patil, storage space for their 50-pair collection of Air Jordans. “Finding them a home was the top priority,” says architect Saniya Jejani Lohar, one-half of Nashik-based design practice LADLAB (her husband and co-founder, architect Sagar Lohar, makes up the other half). “And, for a home of just 1,200 square feet, the balco

[Print] Mumbai: Palace in the Sky by Essajees Atelier

From the moment they first set foot inside, Ashwin and Bhagyashree Damera knew there was no mistaking the good vibes. “There was just something about the place. And in terms of the space and floor plan, it was everything we were looking for,” says Bhagyashree of the duplex the couple now calls home. But what it enjoyed in proportions, it certainly lacked in personality. And not just any kind, but the kind they'd experienced as children, in the homes of their parents and grandparents, and come to recognise as adults as the hallmark of an abundant home.

Rhinecliff Residence by Post Company

In its previous chapter, Rhinecliff Residence was an outdated dwelling lacking space and light. It was one of the oldest preserved houses in the area, as per records from the local historical society.

The current version of the house steps out of the shadows of its 1860s predecessor, thanks to a luminous overhaul by New York City-based multidisciplinary design practice Post Company. The owners – New York natives who moved overseas in 2020 and purchased Rhinecliff Residence as a secondary base –

Tuerong Farmhouse by Samantha Eisen Interiors

The rural landscape of Tuerong, Victoria, is characterised by rugged farms, rolling vineyards and beaches that extend as far as the horizon.

Tuerong Farmhouse by Samantha Eisen Interiors camouflages into this bucolic locale with a design that is both local and global, demonstrating a rare balance of rustic charm and contemporary elegance. Inspired by French mid-century chateaus, Spanish haciendas and Californian ranch-style properties, Tuerong Farmhouse is a harmony of eclectic styles that stay

Lightness of Being: Mumbai Penthouse by Ashiesh Shah

In the past decade or so, the term ‘wabi-sabi’ has been discussed — and demonstrated — with wild abandon. A dining table with a dent? Wabi-sabi. A chair without a back? Wabi-sabi. A lopsided lamp? If it can’t be straightened, wabi-sabi. As the term has gained currency, more out of convenience than a resolve for cultivation, the Japanese concept, which references a Weltanschauung of finding beauty in imperfections, has been distilled beyond recognition by all but a few. A proud member of that minority is architect-designer extraordinaire Ashiesh Shah, the powerhouse behind the eponymous Mumbai-based atelier, who has long been a standard-bearer of the increasingly du jour concept of minimalist design, reimagining Wabi-sabi as an aesthetic paragon equally inspired by the practical and the poetic.

This 590-Square-Foot Apartment in Poland Is a Midnight Blue Dream

Michal Pacułt has a knack for making the best of a bad bargain. When the Polish entrepreneur bought his first apartment (a 350-square-foot pad on the third floor of a Kraków high-rise), it didn’t matter that it was a tad too low for his liking. He reasoned that it was a matter of time before he moved some place higher (and happier). So when he found a top-floor flat in the same building not long after, he discounted its shortcomings and purchased it anyway.

Michal soon discovered surprises he h

Inside a 1940s ancestral haveli in Rajasthan, the past and present effortlessly intertwine

Reincarnating the haveli in Rajasthan didn’t mean reversing its past, not in Shah's mind anyway. And he was mindful about entrusting the remodel to someone who would honour its history. That someone was designer Virti Vora of Ahmedabad-based design practice Indetales, to whom Shah was introduced via mutual acquaintances. He gave her carte blanche over the design process because as he puts a finer point on the subject, “it was already a challenging task given the age of the building and the limit

Palm Beach Spanish Revival by Sarah Sherman Samuel

In the village of Wellington, in Florida’s Palm Beach, is a home that could belong in a storybook. Larger-than-life windows overlook a mirror-like lake, while great blue herons prance around its periphery. Palm Beach Spanish Revival, designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel, is an atmospheric abode where experiences unfold on either side of the threshold.

A few years ago, the home now known as Palm Beach Spanish Revival was a smorgasbord of extravagant embellishments, faded millwork and palatial fixtur

At this 10,000-square-foot sea-view home in Mumbai, the horizon takes centre stage

Its bones may be contemporary but its spirit is not, at least not all the way, for this sea-view home in Mumbai. The puja room cuts a decidedly India Modern figure with traditional inscriptions, statues and reliefs, but it’s the floor, Talati reveals, that is the real star. “It breathes life into this room,” he says, referencing the floral leitmotifs that suggest the experience of natural mogras being thrown onto the floor. Composed of four tones, the mother-of-pearl flooring lends an opalescent

Casa Amal by The Stella Collective

Casa Amal’s aesthetic is informed by the Arabian architectural renaissance of the 1970s. The custom clay arched breeze blocks on the facade, for example, are a modernist reimagination of traditional mashrabiya, the wooden lattice screens found in traditional Arabic architecture. They provide ventilation and views while projecting an ever-changing mosaic of sunlight and shadows throughout the day. Other nods to mashrabiya include the perforated travertine wall behind the staircase and the honeyco

The Forever Bottle by Thankyou

Enter award-winning Auckland-based brand design agency Marx Design and Melbourne industrial designer PerCapita Studio, which collaborated with Thankyou to create an iconic new glass bottle for its personal care, cleaning and deodorant ranges. “Being unique as a brand and concept is something that’s mission-critical to us, as well as offering products both in and outside of supermarkets, to allow us to effectively engage consumers to play a role in helping us achieve our mission of ending extreme

All Eyes Up: An Apartment in Poznan by Paradowski Studio.

A high ceiling can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which way you look at it. Just ask Zuza and Piotr Paradowski of Krakow-based design office Paradowski Studio, whose latest project, a 250-square-metre apartment in Poznan (a former Prussian medieval city situated on the banks of the Warta River), and more specifically, its five-metre ceiling, was a little bit of both. It was good, because it was, after all, a nice little hat-tip to the country’s postmodern past. It was bad because,

Cowes Primary School Gymnasium by Project 12

The architecture is underpinned by a simple rationale. A single- storey volume, housing a kitchen, entry and changing rooms, stands to the north, and nearby, in the music room, a raised platform provides a stage for performing arts, presentations, assemblies and school events. The pool serves as an interlude between nature and the built form, acting as a placid antidote to the expansive double-height court flanking the bushland. Completing the indoor-outdoor experience is an external teaching sp

This 968-Square-Foot Seaside Home in Poland Is Full of Colorful Surprises

Owning a summer home on the Polish coast had always been high on Agnes Berchem’s wishlist. But the Poland-raised, Luxembourg–based art collector and curator, who runs art gallery Galerie 39 alongside her husband, Remy, was wary of committing to just anything. (“Seaside or nothing” was her motto.) So when she found something by the sea in the northern Polish town of Puck, with room for the couple’s art at that, she took it as a sign (or two) from the universe. “It seemed perfect,” recalls Agnes.

Skygarden by Architecture Architecture

By the same token, the 132-square-metre home is overarched by three pigmented light shafts – each respectively emblazoned with handmade Moroccan tiles in pink, blue and green – which summon sunlight deep inside. These skylights are rooted in a plural sense of purpose. In addition to diffusing colourful waves of light, they also connect the two levels, promoting natural light and cross ventilation across both the vertical and horizontal axes. “In the course of a day, each of the shafts passes thr

One Prospect Park West by Workstead

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The precinct of New York’s Grand Army Plaza is considered the bastion of pre-war Brooklyn style. After all, the history-rich, heritage-stamped neighbourhood is home to the triumphal Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch and a number of other pre-war relics, each with a past more storied than the last. One example is the circa 1925 residential building, One Prospect Park West. Original

Beachwood Canyon Treehouse in Los Angeles by Studio Keeta

Located in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, Beachwood Canyon Treehouse is every bit as theatrical as its location. The mid-century home, redesigned by Studio Keeta, is a kaleidoscope of playful colours, whimsical furniture, vintage finds and thoughtfully sourced staples from local makers and emerging artists. Situated on a serene lot at the end of a long driveway, Beachwood Canyon Treehouse is a sanctuary that sloughs off the stridency of the city. With the Griffith Observatory and San Gabrie

This 753-Square-Foot Apartment in Rome Is a Mediterranean Oasis

Italian interior designer Mirta Ottaviani is all for bringing a home into the present, but not at the cost of undoing its past, especially if said past includes framed vintage Vogue covers and a floor of entirely pink Portuguese marble. “Those are honestly the first things I noticed,” says Mirta of the 753-square-foot 1960s apartment in Rome’s Farnesina district she was recently entrusted to redesign, admitting, “I just couldn’t take my eyes off them.” As she later learned, she didn’t need to. T

Mount Alexander College by Kosloff Architecture - Issue 14 Feature

Mount Alexander College has had many lives. Founded in 1858 as Flemington National School and rechristened twice since, the secondary school has been reimagined once again by Kosloff Architecture in response to a surge in enrolments.

The new building, spread across five levels and 5,150 square metres, interacts with the surroundings through learning environments that keep nature close. The school’s compact, inner-city site served as the point of departure for the design, which was developed ver

Step Inside a 1920s Seattle Abode Reborn as a Soothing Sanctuary

Sometimes it’s a home’s past, rather than its present, that inspires a family to make it their own. Jaison and Jamie Robinson would be the first to agree. When the real estate entrepreneur and the founder of Electing Women Seattle (a network committed to engaging women in the political process and electing more women Democrats) first set foot inside this 1920s Seattle home, originally designed by architect Elizabeth Ayer—one of the first female graduates of the University of Washington’s archite
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AD Visits: Diipa Büller-Khosla's canal house in Amsterdam is a postcard from 1614

Even from 6,000 kilometres away, Diipa Büller-Khosla’s energy is palpable through the screen. It’s morning where she is, and she and her husband and business partner, Dutch former diplomat, Oleg Büller-Khosla (the couple legally adopted each other's last names when they married in 2018) are perched in the kitchen of their Amsterdam home, in the company of their pet pooches, Kubii and Bimbo.

By their own admission, it’s a scene that just a few years ago, was a figment of their imagination. “We'd

AD Visits: Ishaan Khatter’s Mumbai apartment is a sunset sanctuary

When he isn't busy filming or promoting or air-dashing off to exotic locales, Ishaan Khatter likes to appreciate the little things in life. “On Sunday mornings, when time permits, I slip off for a bike ride. In the evenings, I like to watch the sunset with some music and coffee,” says the actor, who was last seen in supernatural comedy Phone Bhoot, alongside Katrina Kaif and Siddhant Chaturvedi. So when he moved in a three-bedroom apartment along the Bandra sea face, naturally, his first priorit

AD Visits: Actor Aahana Kumra’s Mumbai apartment is a pretty-in-pink princess pad

In a building full of identical brown doors, Aahana Kumra's entrance is the only non-brown curiosity. "I absolutely love pink. It's my all-time favourite colour—that's why it's right at the front," she laughs, holding open the candyfloss-coloured opuscule as she ushers me inside. For Kumra, the home is a manifestation twenty years in the making, and one that nods equally to her Lucknowi roots and her life in Mumbai. "There are whiffs of Kashmir, London and Delhi too. It's a collection of all my

AD Visits: Actor Aparshakti Khurana’s Mumbai home displays drama in the details

Even before they had finalised their house, or decided who would design it, actor Aparshakti Khurana and his wife, events entrepreneur Aakriti Ahuja, had a chandelier picked out and stowed away in storage. "I had spotted it some years ago in Delhi and just knew I had to buy it," laughs Aakriti, and Aparshakti chimes in, "We had no idea what our future house would look like. Nothing was set in stone, except this big, blue bhaisahab." The bhaisahab in question now occupies a corner of their living

AD Visits: Singer Armaan Malik’s Mumbai home is halfway between London and Los Angeles

At 10 AM on a Sunday, the last thing you'd expect is for Armaan Malik to be crisping the edges of a frittata. And yet, that's exactly the sight that greets me as I step into his kitchen, a California-cool bolthole with a London-esque edge. "I love making breakfast and treating myself to a good spread," he says, drizzling butter on bruschettas. Dressed in a casual button-up and chinos, he looks like a laid-back version of his on-screen alter ego, who, as fans of The Voice (on which Armaan appears

AD Visits: Actors Aditya Seal and Anushka Ranjan’s newlywed nest is a storybook come to life

At the door of actors (and newlyweds) Aditya Seal and Anushka Ranjan Seal's new Mumbai duplex, the nameplate is conspicuous by its absence. What is not is the cheery (LED) baby seal that takes its place, animating the wall and nodding to its namesake owners. “It's fun to watch people guess," says Anushka. "Those who get it, get it. And it makes for a great conversation-starter." But the unlikely sea creature isn’t the only thing setting the entryway apart—because if the peach-toned front door (a