The Goan landscape holds multitudes, so as I drove from Panaji towards Aldona, I watched the horizon shift, from the colourful architecture in Fontainhas to old churches, to bustling beachfronts and finally the backwaters. When I arrived at Aldona, there was silence and peace; a different kind of language.
The Glass Villa is the architectural embodiment of this experience. At first glance, it was undeniably visually arresting, the frame of wood was minimal and looked as though it was an artist’s initial draft on a canvas.
The place feels like an abstract concept, a marrying of various ideas and philosophies. A space where nature meets design and sustainability. But it isn’t just modern, it is a homage to our past, an exploration of a deeply meditative experience. A seamless integration, it points to possibilities in designs for the future, not standing in opposition to nature, but blending with it effortlessly.
When I entered The Glass Villa, I was immediately transfixed in the open courtyard. Much like ancestral homes of our past, teak trees stood tall against a clear view of a blue sky. A soft tune was floating in, of chimes and soothing music and I felt a sense of connectedness wash over me. Aditya Gupta, the founder of The Rug Republic, who has acquired the property, had a well curated playlist. As we spoke he told me why he was instinctively drawn to the property. “This is for a different experience of Goa”, he said, “Away from the beaches and the parties.” He was right, this was about oneness and introspection, and Aditya goes an extra mile in bringing the feeling that he shares with the villa into the pieces he collects for the property.
Starting with two large restored antique windows that have been transformed into mirrors guarding a staircase that leads to the upstairs floor, to the large Turkish rug which hangs in the sitting space at the corner of the property.
I found the unexpected at The Glass Villa. The pieces of furniture around were mostly restored pieces, and as an added bonus, several of these such as two massive cupboards in the hall, the cabinets in the rooms, were gorgeous art deco pieces. Aditya introduced me to Shujaouddin, a local furniture restorer in Aldona who he sources several of these from. Shujaoddun has a workshop nearby the property. “I just go to his workshop, pick up the pieces I want and he does an incredible job of restoring them.” Aditya said.
Shujaouddin himself is humble and a man of few words, but he smiled proudly as he showed me the dinner seating arrangement by the pool that he restored for the Glass Villa. I learnt that Shujaouddin does a variety of work, including brightly coloured pieces of wooden furniture, stunning four poster beds, cane woven wooden chairs and dividers. Even the artwork around the property are pieces picked up locally by Aditya during his travels. Aditya explained how this contributed to a sustainable lifestyle and how he didn’t believe in mass manufacturing.
These old collectibles told a story and almost every nook and corner of the property was echoing it.
There are four rooms, and out of these three have small private garden spaces, and accessible nooks of nature you can just walk out into. These small corners of nature were full of lush creepers, peace lilies, with the occasional vibrant bird of paradise and dracaena. Somehow the essence of the entire villa was encapsulated within the room itself.
The design of this open space was deliberate, the courtyard and these nooks invite nature into the villa, so when it rains or when there is a wind, it feels like it’s passing through the space and in some ways an integral part of it. Upstairs the master bedroom has a quiet workspace and a balcony overlooking the backwaters. An antique telescope points to the skies at nights for those looking to connect with their inner astronomer. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about these rooms is that it doesn’t just elevate the functional, but it provides something far more wholesome.
At sunset the villa was a bright pink, the light bounced off its walls and pillars and formed intricate patterns of geometric light. The backwaters and the infinity pool overlooking it, was resplendent with the mellow light. When the sunlight disappeared, and the lights came on, the villa looked different. It was impressive with a mix of industrial and Moroccan lighting. An extensive chandelier of brass lights hung above the central seating area and one could spend hours working or just relaxing there. So much of the villa itself is an inevitable play of light.
Starting from the choice of using laterite which can be seen across Goa’s historical architecture, to a negative space designed within the wall to resemble a church steeple, The Glass Villa is by no means an empty narrative of minimalism. It is trying to have a dialogue. By making some incredibly deliberate choices, the designers Tarun Tahilani and Sameep Padora who collaborated on this property try to challenge one's idea of what the space needs to be while existing comfortably within its paradoxes.
Do Not Miss
In the mornings Cycling Zen run by Zurial Gonsalves offers incredible experiences to help you make the most of what Aldona has to offer. A bike ride across the paddy fields is an incredible opportunity to witness the ecodiversity around the area.
We took a ride around the backroads of Aldona, past a river and an old small bridge, encountered the denizens of the incredible Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, and even rode around Chorao island (after taking a ferry ride). Cycling Zen also organises kayaking tours around the backwaters.
Address: Survey No 39, near Bablu Washing Centre, Panarim, Aldona, Goa 403508. Website: http://glassvillagoa.com/
To reserve The Glass Villa and see more photos and details contact [email protected] or call +91 77740 09988