Inhabit the Hills of Maharashtra, India How do you maximise the beauty of a design’s environment at the same time as maximising the beauty of the building design itself? Try Indian design firm SPASM Design Architects approach: make the building a 360-degree panoramic frame. Their building, The Soaring Rock, does just that, making the contours of its local environment in Maharashtra, India, its view. SPASM Design Architects’s lead designers, Sangeeta Merchant and Sanjeev Panjabi, sought to instil the building with a feeling of liberation and an essence of the expanse of land that surrounds it. Among The Soaring Rock’s natural neighbours is farmland, a reservoir, and highlands, all of which reflect different levels of colour saturation throughout the day. The Soaring Rock is fitted with elegant wooden furniture, an outdoor swimming pool and an exotic garden. But it’s most extraordinary feature is the one that constitutes its name: on a six metre long cantilever sits a four-ton rock. We met with the chief designers, Sangeeta and Sanjeev, to find out more about The Soaring Rock. THE PLUS: What is SPASMS’s design philosophy? Sangeeta Merchant and Sanjeev Panjabi: To start each project in search of its soul. TP: Tell us about the character of The Soaring Rock. SM/SP: The simplest expression of occupation of the site is what we were after: the shell is basically two parallel lines seen from afar. The building is almost like an aircraft carrier. Its roof line caps the site and provides killer vistas. Inside it’s rather austere – a container for the family’s memories. TP: What was the idea behind the four-ton rock? SM/SP: The rock is a celebration of the geology of the site and portrays a sense of liberation atop the little bluff. TP: What materials were used? SM/SP: The simplest: a concrete frame, plastered walls, grey kotah stone, and a terracotta-tiled deck. TP: Where was the furniture sourced from? SM/SP: Most of the furniture we built in. The rest is the client’s collection, from Moroccan rugs to Balinese single log tables. TP: What are your favourite features of the project? SM/SP: The rock and the peculiar posturing of it. You see it suspended against the big sky, almost sort of threatening to jump! TP: Which do you prefer at the building, sunset or sunrise? SM/SP: Sunsets are just spectacular here. TP: What was the design process like? SM/SP: Long and drawn out but, as always, exciting. TP: You’ve designed a range of different building types. Do you enjoy making residential building designs? SM/SP: Yes, the two of us will never tire of houses. Their stories keep us charged – each home is a lovely chapter in our evolution. TP: How important is experimentation in the contemporary architectural design world? SM/SP: Experimentation is key to new ideas and production of special atmosphere. However restraint, wisdom and knowledge of the long term effects of what you produce are paramount.