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

Vaishnavi runs a sunny content studio called Mangomonk where she writes for brands and publications, big and small.

Latest Articles

A 110-year-old Portuguese bungalow in Bandra gets a new lease of life

In the bylanes of Bandra, around the corner from the suburb’s bustling beachfront and scintillating fashion streets, is a home that dwells in the past—in 1910, to be precise. By the time the owners inherited the ground floor of the Portuguese-style bungalow a few years ago, it had already travelled down three generations. But the 110-year-old structure was now weathered and old and the couple desperately needed help to bring it back to life. After casting their net deep into the design seas, the

This 645-Square-Foot Rome Apartment Is a Maximalist’s Dream

Italian interior architect Mirta Ottaviani and her partner, construction entrepreneur Augusto Carchella, hadn’t always expected to rent an apartment, much less one in Rome’s Parioli district. “The plan was always to buy a place, but we needed somewhere to stay while we searched for our dream home,” says Mirta, who worked at several interior design studios in Italy and France before setting up her own firm in Rome in 2021. Plan B was leasing an apartment in Piazza Venezia, Rome’s historical city

[Print] Touch Wood

For Saurabh Dakshini, childhood memories bring the best inspiration. His latest hardwood furniture collection, titled ‘Alpha & Beta’ is an embodiment of this nostalgia, harking back to a time when objects were thoughtfully handcrafted to stand the test of time. “There’s something special about hardwood furniture. Most often, changing the finish or making some minor repairs is all it takes to bring them back to life,” says Dakshini, founder and principal of AD100 firm Studio Organon.

[Print] Drawn to Clay

As a child growing up in Germany's Black Forest, Kai Zimmermann would fashion sculptures out of pine cones, twigs, and stones scavenged from the nearby woodlands. "It became my medium of personal expression," recalls the New York-based designer and founder of ceramics atelier Makepeace United. After art school in Stuttgart (where he studied graphic design), Zimmermann embarked on a career in advertising and design across Rotterdam, New York, Paris, and New Delhi. Then on a whim, one day in Paris about sixteen years ago, he decided to make a foray into clay.

[Print] Return of a Favourite

Since its inception in 1912, Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau has produced designs that have far outlived its makers. Its 2023 Pleasures Collection, unveiled at Salone del Mobile 2023, held a candle to this legacy, with the re-edition of the brand’s historic “Dezza” armchair, designed by late Italian architect Gio Ponti and named after the Milanese Street where he once worked and lived. Dezza’s latest avatar—which joins present variants Dezza 12, Dezza 48, and Dezza 24—is the result of meticulous archival research of Ponti’s wide-ranging oeuvre, conducted using insights from the Archivio Gio Ponti database.

A Roman Ruin Turned Family Home in Granada by Ignacio Quemada, John Hoyland & Victor Cadene.

For Celia Muñoz, the prospect of purchasing a holiday home in her birthland of Granada posed a head-versus-heart conundrum. The London-based fashion designer and founder of kidswear label, La Coqueta, was a frequent holidayer in the Andalusia region, but every time she visited with her husband and their brood of five, she’d always board with family. So naturally, the idea of staying in a home of her own, even and especially with her folks so close by, was a bit of a doozy.

The more she let the

At India’s G20 meet in Bhubaneswar, designer Ashiesh Shah unveiled 21 celestial pillars

Vedic scriptures make several mentions of the stambha: pillars that connect the celestial and terrestrial, serving as a bridge between the cosmos and material creation. And yet, many of the stories behind these otherworldly totems, as seen in ancient temples and edifices around the country, remain untold. On 14th May, some found a voice when Ashiesh Shah, founder and principal of his eponymous multidisciplinary collective, Atelier Ashiesh Shah, unveiled a collection of 21 divine columns in a thr

Sunshine and Scallops Inspire Whimsy in This Massachusetts Kitchen

As the daughter of a general contractor, Loi Sessions Goulet grew up around still-under-construction buildings, and could never shake the feeling that she’d one day move into a home with project potential herself. So it felt like fate when she and her husband, Jon—along with their then toddler—chanced upon a 1930s build in Wellesley, Massachusetts, some years ago. “We were mesmerized by its front porch. We knew the house needed work, but with a small kid, it made sense to move in now and renovat

Nostalgia is what inspired Saurabh Dakshini to craft timeless furniture

For Saurabh Dakshini, memories are the best inspirations. His latest hardwood furniture collection, titled “Alpha & Beta”, is the embodiment of this nostalgia, harking back to a time when objects were thoughtfully handcrafted to stand the test of time. “There’s something special about hardwood furniture. Most often, changing the finish or making some minor repairs is all it takes to bring them back to life,” says Dakshini, founder and principal architect of AD100 firm Studio Organon.

The collec

Past Meets Present Meets Future: A Clothing Boutique in Guangzhou by TOMO Design.

In Guangzhou, China is a clothing boutique that channels Dr. Who—minus the spaceship. The retail space—the first physical destination of vintage clothing brand MASONPRINCE, conceived by TOMO Design—transports visitors through transcendental realms of space and time, spurring the clock back and forth (and back again) and blurring the line(s) between past, present and future.

The store occupies a Western-style residential structure that harks to centuries past. But there’s nothing historic about

[Print] Bangalore: The Window Seat

Most weekends when they’re there, Aprameya Radhakrishna and Parinita Narain can be found on the katte (Kannada for ‘bench’) in the courtyard, sometimes with a friendly neighbour, always with some piping hot filter coffee. For the couple, such weekend sojourns are a regular occurrence—the happy result of a long-ago manifesto to escape the city more often, albeit on their own terms. “A weekend home was the obvious solution,” says Shalini Chandrashekar, principal and director of Bangalore-based architecture and design practice Taliesyn (co-founded with architect Mahaboob Basha in 2007), who was tapped by the couple to breathe life into their recently acquired 3,800-square-foot plot in Bengaluru.

[Print] Cover Story // New Delhi: Sunshine on Her Shoulders

In New Delhi's Friends Colony, is a home that unfolds in phases. Each angle presents a different view, beckoning you to venture ever closer to uncover what lies within. And contrary to the ease with which this home navigates various vistas, its kaleidoscopic avatar is hardly happenstance. With interior designer Vaishali Kamdar at the helm, a volume with multiple vignettes was always a certainty. What was not was the sheer magic behind each. “I’ve always been fascinated by what you see when you’re looking at a home from the outside. I wanted glimmers of art, light and furniture to peep through and evoke moments of curiosity,” says Vaishali who is Founder and Principal of her eponymous Gurugram-based design studio. She was tapped by the homeowners, a couple with two teenage boys, to transform their newly built 6,500 sq ft New Delhi residence into an elegant, understated and inviting home.

Kunal Nayyar and Neha Kapur’s Delhi home is a love letter to India

It’s just past 10am when I reach Kunal Nayyar and Neha Kapur’s housing enclave in South Delhi, but the guard at the gate has no intention of letting me in. No cabs allowed, I’m told, although he is unwilling to commit how far I have to leg it. With half an hour to go (my meeting is scheduled for 10.30am), I convince myself that it can’t be that far. So I pop on my sunhat and slip through the gate, in search of the magic number I have sprawled on my palm. Only, several mistaken turns later, I sti

House of Masaba’s Bandra store is a meditative sanctum

Colour creeps in here and there, bashfully doffing its hat to the brand’s vibrant spirit—and its bindi-embellished logo. At the entrance, a sculptural mosaic bindi, made out of scarlet tile chips, masquerades as the main door handle, while inside, four-foot-tall aerial installations hold a mirror to the circular leitmotif.

“For me, that bindi is not just a circle. It’s a centre of consciousness. It serves as both a nazar ka tika as well as something that can immediately ground you,” avers Gupta

Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar’s Mumbai apartment is designed without doors

In nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar and Himalayan trekker and entrepreneur Gaurav Punj’s Mumbai apartment, the bedrooms don’t come with doors. It’s not that they were forgotten, or that they broke free and went on their way. It’s that they were never intended in the first place. “The interior evokes a monospace, where loose thresholds merely suggest realms for various activities,” says Krishna Mistry, co-founder and principal of Surat-based multidisciplpinary collective DOT, who along with his co-founder and fellow principal, Anand Jariwala, was invited by the couple to transform their Bandra home into a calming retreat. The architects collaborated with Mortar Construction, Vishwakarma Furniture and Nashwin Electric for the build, furniture and electrical blueprints, respectively.

This Thane apartment plays out like a black-and-white movie

Unlike many of us during the pandemic, Shraddha Shah wasn’t baking banana bread or figuring out the perfect milk-to-water ratio for her Dalgona whipped coffee. Instead, she was feverishly working on design concepts that she hoped to put into practice when the pandemic blew over. One of those was a sailor's den—with earthy tones, floral prints and lots of reclaimed wood. “I imagined it as the home of a sailor who was always travelling, either for work or with his partner,” recalls the co-founder and principal of Mumbai-based interior design firm Olive Roof. Some years later, she found her sailor. And his partner. (In reality, they found her on Instagram.) Their names were Andreaz D'souza and Reema Christian and they had a lot in common with the make-believe seafarers she had dreamed up in her head.

Dance Meets Design: A Spiral Apartment in Madrid by Raúl Almenara.

Raúl Almenara isn’t just an architect. He’s also an artist and innovator and choreographer—if his latest project in Madrid’s El Rastro neighbourhood is anything to go by. Designed like a spiral monospace, the home revels in pirouetting forms, with dazzling curves demarcating one space from the next. Make no mistake, the dancerly flourishes are far from incidental: as the home of dancer, choreographer and director of the National Ballet of Spain, Antonio Najarro, the design was conceived to hold

This architect’s home in Karachi, Pakistan is an oasis of peace and calm

In a megalopolis like Karachi, colour and chaos are par for the course, and the pursuit of calm is an ongoing quest for most. Architect Aleeya Khan is the exception. Her home, situated on a 2,000-square-yard lot in one of the city’s prime neighbourhoods, is a sanctum where Japandi style meets minimalist flourishes, and everything is governed by a signal sense of order. “In Karachi, homes with ornamentation and maximalist palettes are the norm. Ours upends convention,” admits the founder and principal of Karachi-based multidisciplinary firm ALEEYA. design studio, who built the residence as a peaceful escape for herself and her husband, and their future family, while also positioning it as a model home for her firm’s growing design portfolio.

Assembly Label’s New Chermside Store by IF Architecture

Assembly Label was conceived in 2011 by Damien Horan and Daniel Oliver in response to a growing need for simple and sensitive sartorial expression. The clothing label’s latest outpost in Chermside, Queensland, designed by architecture and interior design practice IF Architecture, holds a mirror to its down-to-earth ethos, employing muted tones, textures and materials that display a visual equilibrium.

Assembly Label is synonymous with capsule wardrobes, offering a range of versatile staples tha
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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