Chikankari jaali for Lucknow hotel
Photographers: Sebastian + Ira
Mumbai-based Hiral Jobalia Studio and Ahmedabad-based Beyond Green has designed the Hotel Levana Suites in Lucknow, which was to refurbish an existing building and transform it into a stylish boutique hotel.
The first thought was to change the compartment-like character of the existing building and break the monotony of linearity. Its dense residential surrounding and lack of views from external surroundings necessitated a design solution to articulate the hotel as an inward-looking entity that seemed to converge at one point via an interesting facade treatment.
Two factors determined the elevation detailing functionally and aesthetically; attention to guest comfort and staying away from the ‘picture window’ concept popular for hotel rooms. The architects used the city’s celebrated and delicate chikankari embroidery to create a beautiful and contemporary jaali. Customized in local stone, its thickness was altered to create interesting self design and perforation. The upper and the larger part of the façade was sheathed in bands of louvered brise soleil, each one divided into three equal parts that could each be orientated differently to cast self-shadows and make the building feel like an origami creation.
The porte-cochere was extended along the entire length of the hotel to give a sense of arrival to the entrance plaza. Since the space was tight for landscaping, a terrace balcony with plumeria served the dual purpose of softening the building and adding the much-needed green. Two existing trees at the site were retained, and a corner tree became the starting point for a series of complexly-crafted sculptural metal trees standing against the backdrop of stone. These also served as a light installation: one with copper inserts to light up the driveway, and the other with magnifying glasses that form elliptical leaf-shaped patterns at night for the metal trees.