Personalised, Engineered Creativity | In a conversation with BN Architects

Twenty years of experience in designing and creating beautiful buildings in and around Bangalore, has taught Arjun Nambisan and Arun Balan of BN Architectcs the value of being in the garden city, being authentic and appreciating spaces.

Arjun is an alumni of Architecture from BMS college of Engineering. BNA was born in 1999 and today, they have 25 master planners and an expert team of designers that has backed their 200 plus projects over the last 17 years, making them one of the foremost architects and designers in the city. 

Arjun speaks of BNA’s current projects, his opinions of sustaining designs for building today, and the trends he observes that will last.

About BNA and the team 

At BNA, our philosophy of creation rests on three pillars, Personalised, Engineered Creativity.

“We understand architecture needs to work around the environment, physical, social and mental contexts. That’s summarised in the three principles that our philosophy revolves around,” says Arjun.

Arun is a poet at heart and creates symmetry and visionary aesthetics in his designs. He is the creative inspiration for the brand. Travel and photography drive his creativity. Arjun is the act master of BNA, and a footballer by passion. He has been awarded 'Architect of the Year' awards of 2012 and the team is acclaimed as one of the best architects that Bangalore has.

Some Path breaking projects 

BNA is working on a 10 lakh sq. ft. development project called SKAB Life, in north Bangalore. It is a lifestyle based housing product aimed at people who appreciate the Old  Bangalorean lifestyle. It is designed to bring a sense of sport and entertainment that is easily accessible in the living space. It has been designed with lots of green spaces, and is being offered as a weekend home for outdoor aficionados- cyclists, athletes who want to be active during weekends. With a 5 acre forest at the centre, over 1 lakh sq. ft. club house, state of the art sporting facilities, right inside the city limits, the project is about community living and enjoying sports. “It’s not just about developing or designing  physical spaces or about  the building, we are also creating a program for functioning of the community- looking to create sporting communities, even if only over the weekend, for now. This would definitely become a home, even though it is not a luxury product, it’s very affordable, large and airy, with all these concepts,” says Arjun.

Another project is Samsaara, a senior-living lifestyle product, and is in two parts- a sports village and senior living. “It is  a place where seniors can enjoy a healthy life in a community environment. This is about our philosophy of designing spaces where the program focuses on designs for community living.”

The project also has the concept of shared spaces, much like how the Indian social structure works- friends dropping in, every now and then. All the unutilised personal spaces are used for sharing this way. "What I enjoy", says Arjun, "is being a part of developing the brief, so that our philosophies can permeate in the designs, with the client’s buy in.”

Some other high profile projects BNA has done are- Azim Premji’s personal buildings, Rahul Dravid’s home and redesigning his parents’ home in Indira Nagar. “We've done over 200 plus projects, if not more. Each one has its own speciality…each of them has something that excites us", Arjun says.

What has been the pet project?

SPESCROFT, was an old English bungalow, over a hundred years old. BNA turned it into a contemporary living space, by retaining some of the old structure- the thick walls- and gave it a very vernacular south Indian look. Separated by a courtyard called  'The transition courtyard', because it essentially divides it into two worlds- one of colonial and dated South Indian, and the other of contemporary  styles-  large glass panels, high ceilings, slat roofs and swimming pools. "My inspiration was from old Bangalore- the time when we used to drive down MG road, and could see the old lovely buildings with  taller modern structures behind them; the study in contrast was truly inspirational,” says Arjun.

  

  

  

  

   

   

Unique ideas in design 

The famous pub, TOIT was designed by BNA, and is a very popular spot now. “We are doing some buildings in Indiranagar 100 ft road, but what’s important is, there is paucity of parking space. When we  take up  ground level for parking, it's a waste of premium real estate. So our idea is to create value in basement floors- vitalise them. That’s what we are working on now, and perhaps the first time anyone is doing that in Bangalore,” he adds.

Latest market trends 

There will always be a market for palatial homes, but as economy changes and domestic help gets difficult to find, people look at smaller units, says Arjun. It’s all about managing spaces, and the kitchen is becoming the centre of family activity. “There’s another trend- less walls and more open planning,” he adds, “This has evolved over the last ten years. Also, we are seeing a huge demand for exclusive home theatres.” 

Another interesting trend he sees is of vertical gardens, “and that’s going to stay,” he adds,” even in smaller office spaces, a vertical garden and a water body adds life.”

BNA’s signature style

“Very good ventilation and a lot of green, that is our speciality,” says Arjun.”We work a lot with Vastu and a lot of our homes are environmentally friendly, and inspired from climatology which is actually what Vastu is about.”

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