Could a building in a tight space provide a solid transparency at the entrance and yet make you think it melts into the sky? The most talked about architecture in 2009 has been ITC's Gardenia in Bangalore
. I its appropriation both of Mies Vad der Rohe's exquisite transparency and the corporate rationalism of 'responsible luxury' the hotel creates a language that is novel.
Create by the same architect who wove together the idea of green buildings with ITC Green Centre at Gurgaon in Delhi, Gardenia unravels as a serene composition that weaves art, architecture and the city of Bangalore into an aesthetic experience. Interestingly architect Rajinder Kumar at Corbusier of hotels in India is anything but a doctrinaire designer or a dogmatic personality. His hotels, ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad, Leela Kempenski Mumbai and Taj Lucknow have all stood as statements in a period of time. His houses, parks and other buildings have over the years been executed in a relatively broad stylistic range, reflecting his subtle hand mooring tradition with an eye for modernity: a candid yet cautious curiosity. However, Both in the terms of context and place and the diverse tastes of his clients he is one of those students of Delhi's school of Planning and Architecture who believes that the drawing on the board must leap at you.
Indeed, the elegant restraint of the building reflects an ultra-modern suit at every turn. The entrance has a crisp and clean blast-resistant glass facade, which is reflective and open yet functions as a sophisticated shield against the climate as well as invites the outside in. What ensures is a luxurious but restrained lining. The building's form, with "shoulders" to either side of a raised central section, allows the creation of multiple balconies;with, glazed shafts bringinglight into the heart of the various floors, with glimpses of vegetation and greenery in the Patrick Blanc vertical gardens. Rajinder Kumar's talent to take an empty space, extract a city's historic essence to create something new and aesthetically urban. "Design over the years has changed in form and function," he says." It jas been absorved by everyday culture. And we have to keep those constants in mind." He has always been more interested in forms that have already become part of our culture.
Tall glass wall spell ultra modern chic:it appears transparent when viewed from in front but, as you move around, the verticals seem to meld into a continuos surface, as if the site of forms, though that makes this structure significant and marks it as a turning point for ITC's corporate philosophy of 'sustaining design and reponsible luxury'. "This is the way in which we construe this concept of sustainability in our plan, in our services and in every little detail of what we do," sats Nakul Anand, Chief of ITC Hotels.
"I think the best example of this commitment is in how we take responsibility for the impact of our activities on the environment, no matter how big or small. Also, it's about shouldering this responsibility and making an effort to find a common rhythm between man and nature."
Patrick Blanc's Vertical Gardens
Forget art, forget textured walls-the idea of reflection upon a vertical wall of plants in different hues of green is an idea that seems soothing to the eye and mind in an age of image overload. Patrick Blanc's verticacl gardens that run through the entire wall of the hotel has become a statement in the marriage of science and art. This wall is Darwin's delight- and the Mur vegetal introduces the best example of saving space and creating a wall that befits sustainability.
Botanist, Patrick Blanc the French genius took his lessons from rainforests. He focused his attention on the ability and adapt and adaptability of plants that vie for sunlight in the rainforests. Once the needs of water and soil are looked after they exist in happiness. Blanc used this to create his thriving gardens. The 1500 species od Philodendrons were brought from the Nilgiris. Looking at it from the Gardenia's coffee shop it looks like a varietals garden which inpired surreal insights. Gardenia becomes the pilot of projecting a national image of sophistication and cultural engagement, and integration into local context, at the same time ensuring the protection of those who work within and around it. Working in concrete, cement, wood and glass, Rajinder creates a crisp, colourful ensemble that celebrates the hotel's new public role while solidly marking its past.
by UMA NAIR