karan singh thakur home© HelloIndia

Inside Karan Singh Thakur’s Eclectic Bachelor Pad in Mumbai

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Ananya Shankar

They say there’s no place quite like home and in the case of Karan Singh Thakur’s new party pad, that certainly rings true. HELLO! takes a tour with the young heir and his namesake, the leading architect Karan Desai. Meet the duo who created this sensory extravaganza.

Bringing a small piece of New York to Mumbai is none other than Karan Singh Thakur, the spirited heir of the Thakur Group of Companies with his new bachelor pad in Versova—and it exceeds every expectation. It’s vibrant, eclectic and innately maximalist, but most importantly, it’s Karan. And designing the space was one of Mumbai’s leading architects, and his namesake, Karan Desai.

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

As we sit in Desai’s office on a peaceful Thursday evening in Mumbai, with his office cat jumping about, he discloses, “I want people to come to me for customisation, I want them to come to me for a story. That’s what I want to be known for…” Well, this project certainly makes for an interesting chapter!

The Man Of The House

Born and raised in the posh bylanes of Juhu, Thakur is a force of nature. He’s bold, audacious and knows his mind. As Desai says, “In the best way, he’s like an Indian Kylie Jenner—he’s rich, leads that kind of lifestyle and most importantly, he’s got taste.”

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

When a mutual friend introduced the two of them, the Karans clicked instantaneously. “When I met him, he could easily gauge the nuances—what I’m like and the things that I wanted. We clicked in the very first meeting itself, and it was easy working with him, since we became friends from day one,” states Thakur, as he recalls the process of creating the ultimate party pad.

He didn’t enter this collaboration with a decided vision in place, simply toying with the idea of bringing into Mumbai the energy of the luxe lofts in New York. While Thakur spends most of his days living with his parents, the lockdown pushed him to get a place of his own. “I never thought I would live in Versova—not even for a weekend!” he exclaims with a laugh, adding, “But when I saw the space and the building, I was pretty impressed. Luckily, my sister also lives next door…” Perhaps, it is this sense of spontaneity that makes him the dream client—he knows what he likes and pursues it with no hesitation.

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

“The best part about this project was that Karan [Singh Thakur] didn’t come in with any preconceived notions. He gave me a clean slate, an opportunity to go berserk with my skill. After our initial presentation, he was rest assured that we tapped into his aesthetic.

He’s also well-travelled and does his homework; he really knows what he’s talking about” remarks the architect. Beneath the exterior of a young heir boasting a flamboyant style, lies a hidden design maven. Given Thakur’s family background in business and construction, we wonder if he gets it from his parents. “Not really. I have a mind of my own. I always do things that appeal to me. Of course I take my parents’ advice on more important things, but not when it comes to art and design. I’m a pretty creative man, if I may say so myself,” he says nonchalantly.

A passionate globetrotter, Thakur’s a man who relaxes with a design magazine in hand, whose work in real estate keeps him in touch with the best of the best—making friends with half the world of interior design. And as it turns out, his friend and designer Desai knows him pretty well.

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

“I knew that I had to give him something never seen before. We spent days designing the space and then we pitched to him. We showed him the layout, the 3D renders, brands and the cost of all that we were proposing. He gave us a straight yes!” Desai reveals. “You come across a lot of people with money, but very few have the heart to spend it…”

It’s luxe, It’s Exclusive, It’s Karan

Before we start, we need to address the elephant in the room, or rather, the monster! In the centre of the spacious living area, you’ll find a massive marble console. But this is no ordinary console—it features storage, lighting, Gallo speakers and even a spot for Thakur to sit on top!

“When we pitched the idea to him, he said he loved the concept, but would only go ahead with it if it was made exclusively for him. So this art piece only exists in his house!” Desai remarks. Smiling at the thought of the masterpiece, Thakur says, “Initially I said, it’s so heavy! How will we place it in my house? But Karan convinced me and I think it looks fantastic. It stands out. Whoever enters the home inquires about it, to which I say: this is the monster console, designed by a monsterous architect, Karan Desai!”

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

However, Desai’s attention to detail and genuine understanding of his client’s taste is most evident in the rugs that spruce up the rooms. Inspired by the first dated carpet in human history, the Ardabil carpet [designed for the emperor of the Safavid dynasty, who was also a Sufi saint] he designed a Persian rug that three women hand-knotted over a span of nine months, executed by Jaipur Rugs. While the historical carpet featured four lanterns [signifying that there will always be light in God’s house] the name of the artist, the date it was made and a religious inscription in Urdu, Desai customised it with a fifth, albeit smaller lantern, to pay homage to Thakur’s own spiritual guru, Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshji. He therefore deems this to be the most personal and emotional piece in the house.

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

Desai truly considered Thakur’s preference for distinctive items and customised the house for them. The architect tells us, “One day he came in and said, ‘Karan, what if I want to sit upright in bed and watch a movie?’ So we retrofit the optic mechanism from Germany, wherein the mattress folds into four different parts to support the neck, back and knees. He also mentioned that he wanted a comfortable mattress. So we got him the best in the world—Technogel.”

The Man Behind The House

“A lot of architects have a particular language, which is great because people go to them for that aesthetic. This is where we differ though. All our projects are different. The beauty lies in tapping into the design language of my client and infusing it with my aesthetic,” Desai says, as he reveals what makes him a class apart.

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

Trained under the creative genius of architect Ashiesh Shah, Desai credits him for his attention to detail. He’s invested in every inch of Thakur’s home, including features that may go unnoticed by the untrained eye, like the layout of the Flos Dots lighting up the room overhead, to the ombré on the walls. “I have always believed in challenging popular notions; they say dark flooring makes a space look small. But we did that,” Desai says.

Since the designer-client duo share a name already, we wonder if they have more in common. Would Desai’s dream home bear resemblance to this bachelor pad?

“I’m a very zen guy. I like everything to be muted and simple, with a couple of accent pieces that I would perhaps design myself. Of course, I love Karan [Singh Thakur]’s house, but it doesn’t reflect me. All I need is the ocean nearby; if I have that, I wouldn’t really care what kind of flooring I have or what sort of lights I’m using.” But that being said, he’s had several prominent projects under his belt, ones we don’t see or hear much about. “You don’t see a lot of my previous works because I was striving to reach where I could associate myself with a project. Where I could tell the world that this is Karan Desai,” he says.

“And this is.”

The Blueprint Comes Alive

karan singh thakur home©HelloIndia

Be it the B&B Italia sofa, the Lollipop mirror from FIAM, Roche Bobois bubble chairs or the Glas Italia centre tables, this is a youthful, dynamic, and thoroughly maximalist home, a haven where bold colours are juxtaposed with unique patterns and striking textures. But perhaps the critical question that lingers is whether the space aligned with their initial vision.

“More than 100%. Karan [Singh Thakur] was super happy. In fact, we’re now working on another project together,” says Desai. And we can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Interview: Ananya Shankar; Photos: Ashish Sahi; Coordination: Amber Tikari

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s November 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!