Collage House, Mumbai: Quirky, unusual and yet, supremely artistic

[] Perched atop a hill in Navi Mumbai’s Belapur area, Collage House is an ode to the past that also incorporates designs for a sustainable future

Ever wondered how artistic elegance and architectural innovation can sometimes spring out of old, apparently neglected items and a rather quirky vision? This is perhaps the best way that one can describe Collage House in Mumbai, one of the city’s and India’s most unusual and unique homes. The house in Belapur, Navi Mumbai, is perched atop a hill and is a private home for a family spanning four generations. It has been covered extensively for its unique design, which still manages to captivate onlookers instantly.

You are reading: Collage House, Mumbai: Quirky, unusual and yet, supremely artistic

Picture antique columns of wood, interspersed with vintage windows and doors and metal drain pipes, all combine to create an aesthetic that its architects attribute to the myriad influences from ramshackle homes found in various parts of Mumbai. Designed by well-known S+PS Architects, spearheaded by Pinkish Shah and Shilpa Gore Shah, Collage House is an ode to the past but also a sustainable nod to the future.

Collage House, Mumbai: Architecture and construction

Collage House, Mumbai

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The whole design of the house has been greatly inspired by the adaptability, sustainability, innate resourcefulness and frugal attitudes that characterise Mumbai. The architectural firm has previously talked of how the front façade of Collage House lays down the tone for the interiors, with a special corner of windows that recycle several old doors and windows from demolished homes in Mumbai. These are arranged vertically and horizontally, to create a spellbinding effect.

[] Home is not a one-time sustainable approach: Sonali Rastogi

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The interiors have been crafted with antique textile blocks, fabric waste and old colonial furniture. Collage House is known for its lovely flooring, crafted from ancient Burma teak rafters and purlins alike. The house has several functional aspects, which resemble works of art in their own right. The floating staircase is the home’s signature element, along with the 100-year-old columns from a dismantled Mumbai home, which lend an air of heavy nostalgia to the interiors. There is a lightweight glass and steel pavilion, complete with solar panels, nestled atop the terrace, looking onto the picturesque hills, as well.

Collage House, Mumbai: Features

Collage House Belapur

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The exterior central courtyard stands out almost instantly, from any other zone in the house. Metal drainage pipes are used for crafting the whole wall, replicating the ambience of a secluded bamboo grove in its entirety. These pipes also double-up as collectors for rainwater with sculptures tailored as water sprouts to boot!

The house is sprawled across a conventional Indian design style with its central courtyard to bypass unwanted glances from neighboring structures and is beautifully nestled over the hill. The architects made use of salvaged materials, promoting an alternative and more sustainable approach towards recycling in today’s times. The architecture firm has also talked of how the informal settlements dotting Mumbai cannot be ignored and how these teach several lessons including multi-tasking, adaptability, frugality and ingenuity, along with an overall sense of resourcefulness, giving rise to a design that takes the form of a collage, which is eclectic and patched together aesthetically.

The front, as mentioned, has salvaged windows and doors from demolished Mumbai buildings, fused to create a surface wrapping around two sides of the elegant living room. Many salvaged shutters, windows and doors still have their hinges, enabling them to open smoothly, offering natural ventilation, light and gorgeous views. The bedroom on the upper floor has a balcony crafted from blue glass and this is projected from the home façade itself. The parking area at the street level is neatly paved with an entrance that is lined by bricks and a wall made of carved glass. A puja room is located behind the glazing, offering a serene ambience for conducting daily prayers.

[] Vastu for puja room and temple

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Rooms are occupied at this level and used by the staff members while also housing the service zones and an elevator, neatly wrapped in chain-link fencing. There is also a rainwater harvesting tank of 50,000 litres, surrounded by rocks which were removed during excavation at various sites. Rusted metal plates have been riveted and fused to build a cladding surface on a side of the main courtyard, which also has a planter that is decked with colorful tiles. There is a wall lined with unused stone slivers, which were rescued from the yard of a stone cutter. The architects contrasted reclaimed materials with modern materials, including the frame made of concrete that surrounds the exterior and offers more isolation from neighboring structures. The concrete surfaces have been kept rough externally and smooth internally for enhancing this sense of contrast. The same technique is used inside the dining and living rooms, as well.

Collage House, Mumbai: Interesting facts

Collage House

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  • The individual finish, wood quality and type of glazing, determined which salvaged elements would be integrated in the window wall.
  • Warm timber and fading paintwork help in breaking the huge elevation expanse.
  • Glass of various colours and opacity levels throughout the façade, lend a glowing aura to the home after sunset.
  • The layout looks inwards with huge levels of privacy.
  • Excess water from the lap pool also flows into the rainwater harvesting tank along with water from the tapering roof. This flows through pipes covering the expanse of the courtyard. Rainwater is also used in the toilets across the structure, maintaining a more sustainable approach.
  • The house is dotted with heritage cement tiles, beveled mirrors and carved wooden moldings. All three stories are ultimately united with the concrete envelope mentioned earlier.

Also read: How indigenous architecture can make earth a better place

There is no single word to describe the Collage House, Mumbai. It can be called a heritage structure, energy-efficient, sustainable, quirky, made of salvaged materials, an idiom of recycling and its integration within the elegant contemporary aesthetic and more. What one can say, however, is that this building is a one-off in the true sense of the term.


Where is Collage House located?

Collage House is located in Belapur, Navi Mumbai.

Who are the architects behind Collage House?

Collage House has been designed and put together by S+PS Architects, led by Shilpa Gore Shah and Pinkish Shah.

Is Collage House a private residence?

Collage House is a completely private family home, accommodating four generations of a family.

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Category: Rent

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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