Architect Phillippe Fouché Reveals How He Designed Virat Kohli And Anushka Sharma’s Alibaug Villa

Architect Phillippe Fouché Reveals How He Designed Virat Kohli And Anushka Sharma’s Alibaug Villa

The key elements were discussed to make the space a reflection of the owners' personalities

Oshin FernandesUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 08:28 PM IST
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Ace Indian cricketer Virat Kohli, is the proud owner of his second home located in the coastal city of Maharashtra, Alibaug. The luxurious villa is a part of the real estate property Avās Living, founded by Aditya Kilachand. Virat’s abode has been designed by Phillippe Fouché, who is the principal professional architect at SAOTA. In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal, Phillippe gets candid about Virat and his actor-wife Anushka Sharma’s vision for the house and the key elements that were discussed to make this space a reflection of their personalities.

Excerpts from the interview:

With a space that is away from the chaos of the city, what challenges did you encounter while putting together the elements of the villa?

Talib Chitalwala

During my first visit, I felt as if I had stumbled upon a tranquil tropical oasis, a visceral departure from the vibrant, yet frenetic, urban environment of Mumbai. The design aims to celebrate this tranquility and the connection with nature through expansive gardens and the integration of generous pockets of greenery within the villa. One of the challenges was to ensure the visibility of the lush garden from every part of the villa and integrate the landscape even on the upper floors to allow nature to, in areas, reclaim the building. Framing distant views is one of the key elements of the design, and for this villa, we have incorporated generous outdoor spaces on the upper levels to enjoy these views. The context evokes a spirit of barefoot luxury, the design aims to establish a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere through using robust, unpretentious finishes. The climate naturally lends itself to outdoor living, a luxury often scarce in urban environments. It was important for us to craft a villa that embraces these opportunities by utilising the full extent of the site for landscaping, ranging from outdoor ‘rooms’, to inviting courtyards, and expansive terraces.

Does the villa have eco-friendly / sustainable elements or more of a futuristic touch?

We always approach our designs through the lens of sustainability, which starts with ‘first principles’ such as incorporating appropriate shading elements and allowing for large roof overhangs that in this case not only shield the building from the sun but also protect it during the monsoon season. Another important aspect was sourcing local materials that are easily accessible and available through collaboration with the local Avās team to limit import costs and minimise the carbon footprint of the building.

Does the house reflect Virat and Anushka’s personalities — one being a cricketer the other an actor?

The couple values health, well-being, and family, which is why the design of the house prioritises natural ventilation, and ample natural light and creates calm spaces for reflection and rituals that are aligned with their vision of wellness. The open layout and generously proportioned spaces cater to the couple’ demanding careers, allowing for a comfortable and spacious environment that encourages family gatherings. Being their holiday home, it was important to capture the idea of a tropical oasis that emphasises relaxation through using natural timber ceilings, water features, lush gardens, plants spilling over the edges of the balconies, vibrant marble colours and patterns that echo the unique environment of Alibaug.

Is the house Vaastu compliant?

The Vaastu principles were key drivers of the layout, with the kitchen positioned in the south-eastern corner, the staircase in the southern corner, the family lounge in the centre of the house with flowing light and air, and the water-bodies positioned in the northeast.

Which part of the house did you spend more hours or thoughts working on and why?

The central double-volume living space is the heart of the house and includes the lounge, dining, and open-plan kitchen, which opens generously to the garden. We wanted to ensure a balance between intimacy and generosity of space by working on a scale that can accommodate a large group but also be a comfortable space for only two people.

There’s tons of greenery in the house — can it be easily incorporated and maintained?

We work all over the globe and India is one of the places where vegetation flourishes. It was important for us to take advantage of this by having the vegetation play a key part in the design. Greenery is vital to the character of the building, and the intention is for it to become an integral part of the whole development's character. A simple irrigation system, fed by underground sources is used to maintain the greenery and the planters have been designed to be easily accessible on both the ground and upper floors for maintenance.

What are the design trends for 2024?

Phillippe Fouché and Aditya Kilachand

Phillippe Fouché and Aditya Kilachand |

Looking ahead to 2024, we anticipate a continuation of the trend towards sustainability and the integration of green elements and landscaping in architecture and interiors. Flexibility and adaptability in spatial design will remain important, responding to the evolving needs of modern living. An intriguing juxtaposition of artisanal craftsmanship and clean, sophisticated design is expected to gain momentum. Natural, imperfect materials and handmade elements, such as artistically crafted tiles and accessories, will become key features. Additional trends include the interplay of curves meeting straight lines, the integration of high-tech lighting to enhance mood and ambiance, and experimentation with new alternative, but sustainable building materials.

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