BNK Group, one of India’s well established architecture group has collaborated with Actress & Jewellery Designer Neelam Kothari Soni to create a marvel on the 49th floor sky apartment at one of India’s highest residences, One Avighna.
The lavish apartments is the maiden venture of Neelam Kothari Soni in the field of interior design who, from now on, will lent her design expertise for the newly launched company LINK BNK, which showcases celebrity designed spaces. In this special story, SURFACES REPORTER (SR) covers the minute aspects of the latest launched residences and features exclusive conversations with Neelam Kothari Soni and Behzad Kharas.
BNK Group has collaborated with Actress & Jewellery Designer Neelam Kothari Soni to create a marvel on the 49th floor sky apartment at one of India’s highest residences, One Avighna. She will lent her design expertise for the newly launched company LINK BNK, which showcases celebrity designed spaces.
Entry of a Diva
Actress-turned- Jewellry Designer Neelam Kothari Soni started her acting career at the age of 16. She is a successful actress who has done over 40 films. She comes from a lineage that has been into the jewellery business for the past four generations. When she wasn’t shooting for movies, she started her jewellery training under her father’s expertise in her spare time, as becoming a jewellery designer and a business woman is something she always wanted to be. She has been designing jewellery since the past 30 years and has created a niche clientele for her brand ‘Neelam Jewels’. Her clientele consists of Industrialists, Royal Families from the Middle-East and personalities from the film industry. Neelam Jewels is recognized for her great workmanship and high quality gemstones and timeless designer pieces.
Now Neelam has made a comeback with a very popular reality show ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ on Netflix and is currently shooting for Season 2, but her passion will always remain to be designing jewellery.
The Humble Beginning
Behzad Kharas showed his prows for designing from an early age and won numerous awards as an architecture student. Graduating in 2002 he worked with Architects Hafeez Contractor and Pronith Nath. Unfortunately, in 2004 his father suffered a paralytic stroke which led to great financial and emotional stress within the family. Despite of the circumstances around him, he believed that, “the world belonged to the brave” and started his practice from his hometown Nashik and then later shifted base in 2007 to Mumbai. He founded the BNK Group in 2005 as a 2 person architecture and interior design firm. Today, the firm has successfully expanded into a team of 50 in-house designers, project managers and site supervisors making for a strong, dedicated workforce of 300 plus people.
The Collaboration One Avighna
With an obsession to achieve the highest standards in luxury living, BNK Group’s ensemble ranges from lavish residences to intricate architecture and luxe hospitality spaces at the most desirable addresses around the country. Creating luxury homes right from Beaumonde in Mumbai to the Weekend Retreat in Lonavala, redefining hospitality with the Taj and Vivanta in Navi Mumbai to the uber chic restaurants like the Luna Nudo, Luna Gusta and OpaKipos in Mumbai, The BNK Group stands for the finer things in life.
Looking to launch their new company which showcases celebrity designed homes, BNK Group associated with well-known celebrity and jewellery designer Neelam Kothari Soni who lent her expertise, experience and unparalleled eye for beauty to this select residence and made it a masterpiece.
However, bringing Neelam onboard was never easy. Talking about the collaboration, she says, “Wherever we would meet, he would always motivate and push me to pursue interior design. Naturally, when I started thinking about taking interior design seriously, I couldn’t have imagined anyone better to work with than the BNK Group. The BNK Group have successfully been designing some extraordinary luxury spaces with their contemporary designing skills and that is something I personally love and relate to.”
I feel I have an excellent eye to spot details, design elements, shapes and colours and that majorly contributes and helps me in my career as an interior designer. -Neelam Kothari Soni
Resonating the sentiment, Behzad also says, “While Neelam was unwilling to get into interiors, but on my persuasion she agreed to do our first project together to test her feet in the water. Making her understand layouts, the clients’ expectations and materials was overwhelming for her to grasp initially. However, with time she understood and coped up.
Sky Apartment at One Avighna
According to the designers, “This exuberant home reflects the perfect marriage between opulence and contemporary design. Designed for a family of 3 generations, each room reflects the personality of the occupants with its stunning interiors. The living and dining areas are the highlight of this home with the dining area being engulfed with a customised metal screen giving a sense of space and privacy. Bright colours are splashed around in subtle ways to create a sense of vibrancy in a muted colour palette.
While each room is different certain common materials like the floor and wall textures flow into each space to create a sense of connection and oneness. Inspired by influences that are firmly rooted in both Indian culture and Universal Art Deco styles, this residence showcases both heritage and contemporary craftsmanship at its finest. From wood work by local artisans to modern brass furniture and mirror installations which play with natural light to amplify both the interiors and the stunning vistas of the Mumbai Skyline. The collaboration brings a seamless blend of Neelam’s design sensibilities coupled with the contemporary architecture of BNK Group.” This project will also be featured in the upcoming season of Neelam Kothari’s Netflix show, The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, showcasing her day, shooting at her first interior project.
- The smartly designed private and chic dining area
- The blend of opulence with splashes of colour
- Eye-catching sculpture on the main deck and art from upcoming local artists
- Niche area dedicated to the puja room which brings about a sense of tranquillity
- Impeccable balconies with every bedroom to showcase the personality of the occupant
Neelam Kothari says, “This collaboration is a seamless blend of my design aesthetics, coupled with the contemporary architecture of BNK Group. Creating this luxury residence into a home, as a team has been hard work and a gratifying experience.”
Adds Behzad Kharas, “The amalgamation of our design aesthetic, imagination and hard work, resulted in a beautiful space. When the mind and heart are in synchrony, the outcome is for all to see!”
Interior design is an extension to my passion for design and collaborating with Behzad and BNK group was the perfect start to this new journey. - Neelam Kothari Soni
Here are the excerpts of SURFACES REPORTER’s exclusive Tete-e-tete session with the designers.
NEELAM KOTHARI SONI
After spending decades as a jewellery designer, what led you to think about entering the interior design?
Neelam: Design is something I love and was always keen on exploring different areas of design. Coincidentally, Behzad was a good common friend who also encouraged me to take a step ahead into the interior design field. Interior design is an extension to my passion for design and collaborating with Behzad and BNK group was the perfect start to this new journey.
How is your experience as a jewellery designer contributing to interior design?
Neelam: All designers think alike, it’s not just the design but the details, that shape, the look and feel of the project be it jewellery or interiors. Having come from the jewellery design background, I feel I have an excellent eye to spot details, design elements, shapes and colours and that majorly contributes and helps me in my career as an interior designer.
Associations happen when several dots join. What led to your association with BNK?
Neelam: Behzad and I have a lot of common friends and wherever we would meet, he would always motivate and push me to pursue interior design. When I finally started giving it a thought, I knew I wanted to give it my best and I firmly believe in giving my 100% to the task I take up. Naturally, when I started I couldn’t have imagined anyone better to work with than the BNK Group. The BNK Group have successfully been designing some extraordinary luxury spaces with their contemporary designing skills and that is something I personally love and relate to.
Having said that, it has been a fulfilling process of seeing a space come alive with different textures, shapes and colours. I truly enjoyed the experience and it was an honour to associate with Behzad and the BNK Group.
We have been seeing the good work of BNK. How are the projects by LINK BNK going to be different?
Behzad: LINK BNK features the confluence of BNK’s contemporary designs along with Neelam’s fine taste for design. Neelam gives her creative inputs for design which are then layered over BNK’S design concept.
Tell us about your 1st collaborative project, Avighna One, with Neelam Kothari Soni.
Behzad: While Neelam was unwilling to get into interiors, but on my persuasion she agreed to do our first project together to test her feet in the water. Making her understand layouts, the clients’ expectations and materials was overwhelming for her to grasp initially. However, with time she understood and coped up.
The biggest challenge for us was whether to have the metal screen between the dining and living areas. This debate between the clients and us was a constant battle and finally on the day the screen was installed the clients said wow to Neelam!
Any other projects in the pipeline?
Behzad: We are doing three apartments at the Trump Towers followed by one at the World Towers and few more in the pipeline but all in Mumbai.
In one line what does this association mean to you?
Behzad: The synergy of two passionate individuals with an eye for detail.
To celebrate this iconic collaboration, Neelam Kothari and Behzad Kharas of the BNK group hosted a select evening to celebrate the partnership and the completion of their first project. Mingling over cocktails and a lavish Greek dinner were friends such as Raveena Tandon, Ekta Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Farah khan, Simone Arora, Sanjay Kapoor, Alvira Agnihotri, Deanne Pandey, Chunky Panday, Amrita and Rahul Raichand, Sawari and Sameer Nair, Sujata Assomull, Avantika Kilachand, Gayatri Shah, Nitasha Nanda, Ana Singh, Pragya Kapoor, Seema Khan, Sameer Soni, Monisha Jaising, Karan Singh Grover, Aarti Singh, Sussanne and Arslan Goni, Akansha Agarwal, Krishika Lulla, Shabina Khan, Mehr Jessia, Aarti Surendranath, etc. The guests had a fun evening with dancing and the Greek tradition of breaking plates at Opa Kipos which is also designed by BNK.