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Creative instincts - India Today

Posted on 18 February, 2017 by Martha T. Duty
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A sunny road dressed with dust and dry shrubs with that odd cow or dog walking on it leads you to the Modi House. Located in the heart of south Delhi, it is home to artist Surbhi Modi. The large doors open to reveal a verdant vista, where concrete and glass, found in equal measure, give shape and form to the farmhouse. Step inside and you find art in every nook and corner, some by Modi, some by greats such as MF Hussain and Paresh Maity. With a keen eye for design, Modi's home is always ready for the season. "There is a definite difference in the colour palette of furnishings in the summer and winter. I am constantly fighting routine and boredom and take pleasure in moving things around," says Modi.

STEP BY STEP: Large sculptures and paintings dot the staricase next to the foyer; artist Surbhi Modi stands next to her artworks, a chair and sculpture in the formal living room Photographs by RAJWANT RAWAT

She also entertains a lot. "I love hosting friends and family. In winter, food is richer and the palettes are darker. I like the idea of large sculptural pieces, often my own sculptures and objects, mixed with other pieces from our collection to form an installation on the table," says Modi, adding, "In our personal space, darker tone, heavier fabrics such as velvets, silks and voiles for our bedspreads and cushions help celebrate this happy seasonal transition."

The house was constructed in 2004 and renovated in 2014 with Modi overseeing the design. The idea was to have the public areas upfront and most of the private areas tucked away. So, the ground floor hosts the public areas which also happen to be where most of the natural light falls. "I wanted to experiment with the way natural light bathed the interiors. Art forms the second focal point," she adds. Further, since it was a large farmhouse, Modi was able to play with scale. So, there are high ceilings and large glass windows across the home. "The design aesthetic is largely post-modernist with minimalist elements mixed in with some brutalist accents," says the artist.

The bathroom attached to the studio has beendesigned by Modi. Photograph courtesy WWW.STUDIOSURBHIMODI.COM

A solid wood and brass inlay artwork calledBageshwara by Modi. Photograph courtesy WWW.STUDIOSURBHIMODI.COM

Informal living area. Photograph courtesy WWW.STUDIOSURBHIMODI.COM

However, one of the most interesting spaces in her home is her studio, separated by a large gallery from the main house. Sculptural art works by Modi, comfortable seating and a beautiful powder room give it a relaxed vibe. "Studio Surbhi Modi tries to marry the conceptual and aesthetic into one incongruous whole. I want to bring my own take to objects and functional art, which is eccentric and eclectic," she says. Her artworks are not just kept in the studio, but can be found in the living room, by the staircase, even in her bathroom. Take for instance the sculpture called Duolith that finds pride of place in the formal drawing room. Crafted from Carrara marble and fibreglass with gold engraving, it was inspired by her travels to Japan.

It took several years for this house to blossom into Modi's art and design oasis. But the same boundless creativity that inspired this place is what may prompt her to change the design again one day.

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