Design

Architecture

Bombay mix— Alibaug

Preface

India’s new elite is investing in architecture that eases gently into its surroundings by using local building traditions and even a bit of ancient science. A weekend retreat from Mumbai, by Bijoy Jain, shows the trend at its modest best.

Bijoy Jain, Bijoy Jain + Associates, Indian Patent Stone, Studio Mumbai, Sundeep Bhatia

“My only brief to the architect was to construct a house based on Vaastu and to make sure it was low-maintenance,” says Sundeep Bhatia. The architect in question was Bijoy Jain from Studio Mumbai who then spent 15 months sketching and planning while adhering to Vaastu, the ancient Indian science of architecture that uses a system of guidelines said to ensure positive energy. And the result of all the deliberations is Utsav House in ­Alibaug, an area roughly an hour from Mumbai that functions as a sort of Indian Hamptons.

The main walls of the 372…

1990 Receives Master of Architecture from Washington University, St Louis

1996 Forms Bijoy Jain + Associates in Mumbai

2005 Founds Studio Mumbai

2007 Completes Palmyra House and Leti 360 Resort, both in India. Leti wins him the Hong Kong Design Center Design for Asia Design Excellence Award

2009 Receives Hong Kong Design Center Design for Asia Design Excellence Award for Palmyra House. Starts on installation for the V&A Museum’s 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces

The easiest (and fastest) way to get to Alibaug is by ferry, from the Gateway of India. Travel takes 45 minutes and air-conditioned ferries are available. Ferry services are closed during the monsoon. By road, it’s two hours from Mumbai.

  1. Bijoy Jain’s studio: The architect lives and works in Alibaug. His studio and home are perfect examples of his aesthetic.

  2. Murud-Janjira: Around 42km from Alibaug, this forbidding sea fortress was never conquered by the Marathas, Dutch or English.

  3. Kulaba Fort: Walk across (or take a boat during the monsoon) to the ruins of Shivaji’s last fort.

  4. Kanakeshwar Temple: You have to climb 700 steps to get to the top of this Shiva temple. The view is worth it.

  5. Sanman Restaurant: Prawns, crabs, oysters, bombil, plump pomfrets – the freshest seafood, cooked Konkan-style.

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