Abode street entry. Photograph by Anushree Gavas courtesy of Serendipity

ABODE BOMBAY
A soft landing

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Abode Bombay is the city's first real boutique hotel. The interior concept draws completely from the Bombay context, with the idea being that the space should provide a soft landing for travellers arriving in this wildly busy and overpopulated megalopolis. The property was originally built in 1910 by Opium trader and businessman David Sassoon. Over the years it's features were lost, so the conceptual design process drew on uncovering the history of the building and the also the city itself. The history of Bombay was divided into four parts- the once luscious coconut grove and fisherman’s village, the British Raj era, Art Deco Bombay and the hectic, plastic filled Mumbai of today. Like in the city itself each of these layers were to overlap each other within the building itself, providing the user with an experience and narrative of the city whilst remaining a calm and restorative space.

The hotel’s heritage wooden and iron façade has been fully restored and now features acoustic glazing and thermal insulation. At ground level the floors are laid with hand made cement tiles by local manufacturer Bharat Tiles, while upstairs reclaimed Burma teak salvaged from demolished houses has been used as flooring.


A neon lighting installation at the entrance celebrates the urban facade of air conditioning units with a quote from Bombay native Rudyard Kipling.



Existing tiled floors on the staircase landing, with hand made 'hotel' light box.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



On the staircase is the shrine to the ancient goddess of the city Mumbadevi, designed by Jo Chapman and painted by local truck painters.



Detail of the shrine with malas (prayer beads), coconuts, religious deities, food offerings and incense. Pooja's (prayers) are performed daily by the staff.



The entry and lobby which does away with the traditional reception desk idea completely, with the space becoming more like a cafe. Vintage and local market sourced fittings have also been used throughout and the lobby features the buildings original 19th Century chandelier.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Much of the design happened during the building- when the plaster walls in the lobby uncovered the beautiful original brickwork below we decided to keep the bricks exposed and painted white. The bronze mirrored wall, booths and vintage lights are inspired by the art deco heritage buildings found throughout Bombay.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



We thought of the lobby as a rare public space in this the ‘Maximum City’- somewhere clean and calm that still retains Bombay’s charm. Somewhere you can sit, relax and have a chat with other travellers and locals over a cup of chai, a home away from home.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The original lobby space was completely landlocked, so a round steel window was created, echoing the shape of the original iron girders that are scattered across the building, opening the lobby up to natural light that came in through the lift shaft.
Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.



The ParleG biscuit shelf is for guests to take and give to homeless children on the streets of Mumbai. And it has also just for guests to snack on!
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The morning breakfast buffet in the lobby on the Collapsable table wall.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The morning breakfast buffet in the lobby on the Collapsable table wall.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The clocks are unintentionally set at slightly different times. Honestly it happened that way naturally. And they definitely don't tell the correct time.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Next to the lobby is an existing cozier, low height space that we converted into library.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The library was inspired by the old book sellers in the nearby area of Fort, with their tiny spaces jam packed and stacked with books that can be bought by the kilo.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Artwork by European photographer Anja Bohnhof decorates the lobby walls. The fabrics used for soft furnishings have been sourced from vintage saris, local markets or handwoven by charitable organization WomenWeave.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



All of the environmental graphics and signage were hand painted by local truck painters.
Photograph by Anushree Gavas courtesy of Serendipity.



The main feature of the lobby and the interior generally is most certainly the hand made cement tiles that have been used throughout the entire ground floor. They were manufactured bespoke for Abode from a local source who has provided tiles for many of Bombay’s most beautiful buildings for the past 100 years. The tiles of the public spaces in a neutral black and white palette. Here a very tradition pattern found across the city has been subverted to create a contemporary zigzag look.
Photograph by Anushree Gavas courtesy of Serendipity.



Room numbers have been hand painted in both english and the local language Marathi.



Bedroom light fittings and bed side stands have been designed in house by Young Citizens, inspired by local street hawker stands. In this way the design hopes to engage the user with city and invite a depth of understanding of the local culture. Photographs of Bombay have been collected from friends and travellers to the city, as well as from local vintage markets.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.


Reverse osmosis copper water jugs are refilled for guests daily. The world's most delicious beds keep guests indoors even on gloriously warm days.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



The rockstar suite. Each of the 12 bedrooms downstairs have a different combination of tile colours. In this way a guest can come and stay at the hotel repeatedly and have a different experience each time, with each room having a different ambiance.
Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.



The four luxury rooms that have free standing bathtubs- a rare treat in the city. Locally mad chik blinds as used in the Raj era are used throughout the rooms.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.


Free standing bath tubs with black powdercoated taps fittings.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Most of the furniture was market sourced and restored raj-era wicker furniture. We even used vintage electrical switches and second hand sari’s for some of the fabrics. This took months of us scouring markets in the outer suburbs of the city, a task made easier due to the fact that for many years the client had worked in antiques which allowed us access to the most back alley of the city's warehouses.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



20th Century colonial and art deco hardwood and wicker furniture has been sourced from Bombay’s second hand markets and lovingly restored. Upholstery and seat cushions have been made by local Indian designers.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.


Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.


The standing lamps were designed and made bespoke for Abode by Young Citizens, furnished with block printed fabrics by Delhi designer Cottons and Satin.
Photograph by Anushree Gavas courtesy of Serendipity.


Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.


Cosy bedrooms with vintage light fittings, collected images of the city of Bombay and rare double height spaces.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.


Each room has a different colour of hand made cement tiled flooring, giving every room a different ambiance.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Bathroom walls were lined with Indian Patent Stone (IPS) giving a contemporary concrete feel.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Showers were lined with hand made 'patla' slatted timber floors which gave warmth to space.
Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.



Neon lights were made bespoke for Abode shaped to correspond with the graphic design logo which was inspired by Kolam rangoli patterns.
Photos courtesy of robertomichel.com.



India, the land of million gods. The staircase upstairs leads to the budget rooms and is lined with vintage images of the various gurus and gods so often found in the homes of Bombay.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



While collecting books for the library we found so many beautiful front covers that we decided to frame them as artwork for the walls.
Photographs by Anushree Gavas courtesy of Serendipity.


The vintage hindi books truly have the most amazing cover artwork.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.


Budget rooms are attic like and sit amongst the old iron beams. They have the same vintage furniture and beautiful beds as the luxury rooms.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



Reclaimed Burma Teak wood floors have been used in the budget rooms, left unfinished and raw. Hand crafted butler trays and lights are used, with all budget rooms featuring tiled shower rooms and shared WC facilities.
Photo by Prarthna Singh courtesy of Abode.



PROCESS:

The entire concept of the hotel was based on the layering within the city of several historical periods



The ground floor has been layed with traditional hand made cement tiles, in contemporary colour palettes



From designing the colour palette, creating the tiles,laying them and polishing, all process are done by hand.



Vintage furniture has been sourced and lovingly restored from Mumbai's second hand markets



Carpenters created everything including Young Citizens designed furniture, including doors
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