Take a tour of architect Bijoy Jain’s work - Hindustan Times
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Take a tour of architect Bijoy Jain’s work

ByNatasha Rego
Apr 19, 2024 03:47 PM IST

In his two decades of practising architecture, he has designed homes, studios and hotels around the world. As a show in Paris draws to a close, a quick tour.

Bijoy Jain, 59, moved into his current home-and-studio in Mumbai’s Byculla in 2015. Housed in an old warehouse that is both open and intimate, punctuated by verandahs and courtyards, Jain designed it as a haven awash in sunlight and greenery. Seven studio-homes of varying sizes, of which Jain’s is one, are connected by a long narrow open space that acts as a “street”.

The home-and-studio in Byculla. (Courtesy Studio Mumbai / Fondation Cartier) PREMIUM
The home-and-studio in Byculla. (Courtesy Studio Mumbai / Fondation Cartier)

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Exhibits on display in Paris. (Marc Domage / Fondation Cartier)
Exhibits on display in Paris. (Marc Domage / Fondation Cartier)

Everything was crafted by hand. But for Jain, the hand is merely a medium of expression. “It is the movement of the hand synchronised with the movement of our breath that gives notation and form to what is being expressed,” he says.

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The winery. (Giacomo Monari)
The winery. (Giacomo Monari)

Among the projects that Jain is currently working on is the restoration of Château de Beaucastel, a winery in the South of France. It is surrounded by 100 hectares of hills planted with vines, 100-year-old olive trees and truffle oaks. He started work on it in 2019. It is now nearing completion.

“For me, working on the winery holds the possibility of influencing the way the taste of the wine evolves,” Jain says. From the use of natural light to deciding where barrels and bottles will sit, and how the air will move around them, “learning is part of discovery”.

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Palmyra House. (Hélène Binet)
Palmyra House. (Hélène Binet)

Bijoy Jain has designed several luxury homes in India. Among them is Palmyra House in Nandgaon, in coastal Maharashtra. The two-storey timber structure is a sea-facing weekend retreat that sits within an extensive coconut grove. It is fitted with folding doors that open up to a narrow pool in the centre. The project was shortlisted for the 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

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The Hermès table. (Studio des Fleurs / Hermès)
The Hermès table. (Studio des Fleurs / Hermès)

In 2021, Bijoy Jain became the first Indian architect to collaborate with the luxury brand Hermès. He designed a small collection of furniture – comprising a papier-mâché armchair and a stone table – for Hermès, that was unveiled at that year’s Milan Design Week. The table was crafted by a stonecutter in Burgundy and currently sells for about $50,000 ( 4.2 lakh).

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The hotel library. (Bijoy Jain / Lantern Onomichi Garden)
The hotel library. (Bijoy Jain / Lantern Onomichi Garden)

One of Jain’s first international projects was the Lantern Onomichi Garden hotel, built within an avant-garde mountainside apartment block on the slopes of Mount Senkoji in Hiroshima, Japan. Among Jain’s materials of choice for this project was Japanese washi paper, which lines the walls of the hotel’s library, lending the room a soft, light texture.

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