Curating Heritage of Rajasthan

Project: Hotel Devi Ratn, Jaipur

Architects: Designers Group, Mumbai

Boasting of a backdrop of stunning Aravalli hills, the project spans over an area of 20 acres. The renovation of this architectural marvel was assigned to the architects, as the client was on the verge of launching a new boutique brand called ‘SeleQtion’ by IHCL. Although the architecture of this hotel was remarkable, the interior grammar did not comply well with the overall envelope, exactly where architects came in.

Keeping in mind the prominence of Devi Ratn as an individual brand, the client was not in favour of diluting the brand, and Ratn was kept as the core concept for the comprehensive design scheme. Hence, with a brief guideline from the authorities, the design team decided to work around the ‘Ratn’ theme while justifying the eminence of Taj as a brand; keeping intact the nobility of both the brands. The major challenge was the short time span provided for this extensive project.

At the entrance is a porch that is recreated with glistening ceiling design and lighting elements. The area is further accentuated by elements including operational auto- rickshaw and a royal chariot that forms to be a prepossessing canvas for Jaipur art to give the guests a tour of the entire premises. One enters the hotel through the airlock lobby featuring a modish furniture setup exemplary of the local craftsmanship. Delving inside the main lobby, the existing flooring in red chevron pattern was retained, emerging a major challenge where the entire sphere became a red monotone due to the red GRC architectural envelope. In order to wipe out the impact of red, the lobby was turned into an assortment of colourful hues through the composition of vibrant décor items, furniture configurations, lighting elements and customized soft furnishings enthused with peacock and butterflies from the Bharatpur sanctuary as a theme of the waiting area and the community seating. Each chair is customized with a unique set of prints and style. Chandeliers break the volume of the tunnel-like interiors, transforming the aura into a palatial feel. A showpiece imitating a bowing horse structure is installed here in commemoration of Maharaja Jai Singh who was the Hindu Rajput ruler. Reception pods are designed in such a way that an existing Haveli Darwaza serves as the backdrop with mirror embroidery, reflecting the Rajasthani culture. These pods were made out of Indian stones with minimalistic design details. Small handicrafts emulating trucks, cartwheels and elephants add to be the focal facets of the regime. Each component infused in this composition has some reference with the art and crafts of Jaipur.

The public areas were interlinked with a connecting corridor with sparkling lighting design and landscaping stimulated by Mughal architecture. The design meanders the patrons to a ramp that goes into the all-day dining.

The all-day dining called ‘Vyom’ has a rib vault framework. A variety of seating spaces were created with a clear view of Aravalli hills. Vyom also caters to the guests with a segregated private fragment incorporating community dining table, library units, artefacts and other décor elements. The wall of the buffet area inculcates ‘henna art’ laid out on the tiles in an idiosyncratic blue pattern.

In the bar area known as Mandala, a new acoustic system was set out to retain the ceiling done in mirror. The white curtains draped around the seating cluster are reflected on the ceiling. The hard flooring was replaced with a customized carpet. With minimum changes transpired, the complete aura of the bar was recreated while accentuating the substandard acoustical treatment.

The existing hotel was a complete suite property. With a lavish architecture and scale, the rooms were divided into four categories where the most compact room rolled over 550sq ft. The existing flooring laid out in a mosaic chevron pattern devised with charcoal grey and white was retained. The headboard walls were envisaged with digital Indian art wall coverings encompassing the concept of Ratn (an Indian motif of jewellery). Some replica jewellery pieces were framed on this wall highlighting the vitality of Jaipur’s heritage. The bedside lamps also granted a mirage of semi precious stones which Jaipur is popular for fabricating. The luxurious details incorporated in the form of bedside table handles in antique brass finish were inspired by the jewellery manufactured in Jaipur. The rooms consisted of fairly large wooden windows which were inspired from the strong geometry and filigree work of the building envelope in a parametric format. The flooring subsuming predominant character with black and white colours was balanced; assimilating soft furnishings including multi-coloured rugs, cushions, fabric and curtains with other accessories galvanized from regal pheta and kalgi of Maharaja Sahib of Jaipur while resonating with the glocal spirit. Indigenous wooden accessories like trucks and rickshaws modelled into small scale were also integrated in the design, reflecting the Indian art and culture.

FACTFILE

Client: Taj Hotels

Typology: Boutique Hotel

Consultants: Lightbook (Lighting); Techno Group (MEP); Know Designs (Landscape)

Area: 20 Acres

Year of completion: 2019