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

Makaan by Tahir Sultan is filled with 200-year-old urns and other rare curiosities

The store is as whimsical as the objects that inhabit it. Old rusted sewage pipes—found and saved several years ago—masquerade as art installations beside artisanal clay pots of Sultan’s own design. Cardboard boxes and bamboo laddersdisplay artwork and vases. Old boxes of incense find new life as pedestals. “People come to Makaan for the experience,” reflects Sultan, who refreshed the aesthetic lexicon last year to reveal its most soigné identity yet: think triple-height ceilings, black stone b...

[Print] Mumbai: It's a Shore Thing!

The thing about sea-facing abodes, as some designers might argue, is that attempting to equal or exceed the view is a rather impractical folly. So impractical, that when it came to designing a coastal aerie in Mumbai’s Lower Parel, architects Anand Deshmukh and Chetan Lahoti of Pune-based multidisciplinary practice Mind Manifestation Design decided to simply opt out of said zero sum game by extending the view indoors. “We imagined the interior as a sun-warmed beach, like something the tide could have washed ashore,” says Anand.

Inside a 340-Square-Foot NYC Apartment Full of Secret Storage

The architect Andrew Magnes likes to think he knows his neighbors, but it took him a soup-to-nuts home remodel for a long-time friend—a whole neighborhood away—to realize he might not know some as well as others. “Or not at all,” says the founder and principal of his Brooklyn-based architecture firm (AMA). “When it was time to bid out the project [to a general contractor], we came across Petro Benedyk from Stroybat. I had never met Petro, and I remember receiving his proposal and seeing that the...

AD Small Spaces: This 900-square-foot Mumbai apartment is an escape from bustle of the city

Metros everywhere are plagued by common laments, laments that can often disappoint or discourage those from smaller towns from switching to a cloistered Mumbai apartment or a flat in Delhi. How Mumbai-based Neha Prasad and Shantanu Gupta remained immune to said phenomenon is a mystery even to them. The couple (they're both senior professionals at ed tech company upGrad), who had moved to Mumbai some years ago, had grown familiar with the perils of an urban existence, which they deemed exhausting...

[Print] Makaan by Tahir Sultan

The best things in life happen when you least expect them. So maintains Tahir Sultan, the Jaipur-based designer who brought to life a concept store, Makaan, on the very heels of COVID. “I didn’t have a vision when I started,” reflects the Kuwait-born entrepreneur, who put down roots in the Pink City during the lockdown. “I wanted to open a store, but I didn't know where. One day, a friend of my mother’s suggested a house nearby, and said the owner would be happy to rent it to me. But the place had seen better days, and there was just something about it that seemed improbable,” recalls Sultan, before taking a breath, “but not so improbable that I couldn’t make it work.”

[Print] Bindoo: Through the Looking Glass

What’s the next best thing to owning a Ferrari? If you ask architects Bhavana Kumar and Nicola La Noce of Indo-Italian design practice Kumar La Noce, it’s owning a mirror—or three. The pair’s most recent labour of love, a trifecta of geometric mirrors christened Bindoo, created in collaboration with Italian high-end aluminium furniture company altreforme (an offshoot of Fontana Group, the producer of avant-garde aluminium parts for such luxury car brands as Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Jaguar), is born from the same know-how and technology, and sculpted from the same aluminium, as said automobiles and even shares with them a production facility.

AD Small Spaces: This 900-square-foot apartment in Bengaluru is a Japandi-chic oasis

Saurin Shah is a stickler for perfection. “He is rather particular,” concedes his wife, Jimi, who was witness to said perfectionism, for better or worse, during the making of the couple’s first apartment in Bengaluru in Whitefield. The brief was simple. What wasn't was the expectation, which, as Jimi tells it, specified “a simple, minimalist, and highly accessible design with all sorts of storage, from small cubbies for paper bags to big compartments for suitcases. All in minimum occupied space,...

Inside a Century-Old LA Home Where the Sun Never Seems to Set

If there’s one thing Alex Anderson and Aaron Kravitz swear by, it’s the power of instinct. Ask the couple how they came to be Angelenos and they explain that it was thanks to a stroke of serendipity. “We never meant to move,” says Alex, who works in the creative field. “We started our home search here for fun after feeling priced out in San Francisco.” All virtually, mind you.

Step Inside an Oasis in Todos Santos, Mexico, Where Bold Colors and a Playful Spirit Rule the Day

Interior designer Faith Blakeney doesn’t believe in always doing things by the book. What she does believe in is kismet, and the notion that one’s stars, during any turning of the tide, align only briefly. Which explains why, on a trip some years ago to Todos Santos (a town on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula), she had zero qualms about flagging down a semitruck full of handmade furniture in 100-degree weather, mere moments after her client, a Belgian-born, LA-based, Oscar

Vinu Daniel: The architect creating homes out of waste.

Architect Vinu Daniel doesn’t work from an office. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s conviction that the ideal house should be made with material sourced within a five-mile radius, the founder of award-winning practice Wallmakers instead works wherever his next project happens to be. In the past, this has taken him to southern India, where he built a mountain-shaped home from local construction debris; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where he mad

Shorebird by Those Architects

Enclosed by buildings yet open to the elements, Shorebird by Those Architects defies its suburban Sydney setting. Although nestled between neighbouring homes, the beachside dwelling maximises light, air and privacy through an array of thoughtfully designed architectural interventions. Offering uninterrupted vistas of Bate Bay, Shorebird establishes a dialogue with its immediate surroundings by embracing nature. Co-founder and director Ben Mitchell explains that the location set the stage for the

Palinda Kannangara turns this 5-storey house in Colombo into a calming oasis

Those who know Colombo, deeply and intimately, can confirm two things to be true: that time here likes to stop for nobody, and that it's just as easy to get lost in the colours as in the clamour. “It's a vibrant place,” says Palinda Kannangara—so vibrant that its effect, evidently, seems to have worn off on the celebrated Colombo-based architect. That is, if his latest residential project is anything to go by. Situated in the heart of the Sri Lankan capital, just strides away from the Cinnamon Gardens and the candy cane-striped Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, the dwelling, designed as a white column that rises towards the sky, is a quiet antithesis to the surrounding smorgasbord of colour.

This glorious heritage hotel in Udaipur basks in the glow of the City Palace

When Kapoor stepped in for the redesign, there was, as she explains, “nothing terribly wrong with the place.” At first, anyway. “But then we noticed water from the lake had seeped through in places, and of course, some of the layouts needed optimising,” reflects the founder and principal of Mumbai-based Noorein Kapoor Design, who was entrusted to revitalise the lower level of the restaurant, the al fresco patio and bar, as well as the rooms by rotation. What didn’t need optimising, mind you, was

[Print] Mumbai: 'Tis the Season by Chestnut Storeys

How do you maximise the views in a sea-facing home? You minimise everything else. At least that’s what conventional wisdom will have you believe. But if you know a thing or two about Farah Agarwal, you know the word conventional isn’t part of her vocabulary. When the Chennai-based interior designer and founder of multidisciplinary design practice Chestnut Storeys was entrusted to design a three-level penthouse by the sea, the first thing she did was dial up the colour. “Not all the way, mind you—just enough to rival the views and fulfil the clients’ caveat of no neutrals,” continues the designer, who is widely known for her minimalist signature. “The real question, then, was how much colour was too much colour?”

This Eclectic London Home Nods to Its Owner’s Greek Heritage

James Arkoulis doesn’t take no for an answer, at least not in matters regarding his home. When the London-based interior designer and cofounder of interior design studio Howark Design couldn’t find a bathtub to his satisfaction, he decided to design one himself, lying supine day after day in an attempt to paint on the perfect floral details. The bathtub, of course, is merely a metaphor for his mind. He admits he never tires of reinventing, as was the case during the remodel of his and his husban

Exclusive: Bharti Kher dedicates her most extensive UK presentation to the female body

Over the course of her 30-year career, the artist became famous for her use of snake-shaped bindis in and as art. Kher’s philosophy is this: Art by any other name is still art; no matter the object from which it is created. Take Ancestor, an 18-foot-tall patinated bronze sculpture from her Intermediaries series. Portraying a mythical mother figure, the installation features 23 small heads, each salvaged from a broken clay figurine (it was displayed at New York’s Central Park between 2022 and 202

Hidden House by Studio mkn and Eliza Blair Architecture

Characterised by a combination of highlights and shadows, a distinguishing feature of the design is the glazed facade, which is defined by custom timber slat screens. These innovative screens serve as aesthetic interludes between indoors and outdoors while also affording privacy and shielding the lounge from the unrelenting western sun. “The lounge serves to immerse occupants in the lush greenery of the surrounding garden. Positioned to cantilever into the outdoor space, it offers a seamless con

Pole Pass Retreat by Olson Kundig

Site constraints prompted Olson Kundig to minimise walls, not only to project a sense of volume, but also to eliminate sightlines between the site and its surroundings. As design principal Tom Kundig, explains, “the intent was to create an expansive indoor-outdoor living space with spectacular views.” The home unfolds in a series of imperceptible layers. This is most evident in the living room, where a mechanical wheel connected to a system of gears and chains, akin to those in a bicycle, govern

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
Load More

AD Visits

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