The thought of a happy, quiet, sustainable lifestyle in an urban setting is quiet Utopian. The chaos and the cacophony of the city combined with its stress inducing environment is something we all wish to do away with, but are often rendered helpless in doing so. People usually traverse outside the length and breadth of the city, into the rural environs and natural surroundings for their chance at a simple, serene life; even if it is just for a few days. But here’s a family that has found its joy and peace within the turmoil of the city. They’ve built a handcrafted house which they like to call ‘A secret slice of Bangalore where time stands still’ — built brick to brick with every inch of wood and metal recycled and with corners that encourage sustainable lifestyle and a positive outlook.
Built in red brick with a minimalist design with a positive balance of light, water and air, the Dutt family’s Five Seasons Home took 5 years to build. Nuzzled in greenery, the house extends into a garden that earlier used to be a dump yard. The Dutt’s cleared the dump and used leftover paint and tyres to build a pretty fence and create a rock garden of sorts. The garden also has an open gym amidst the plants to spread the message that ultimate fitness can be achieved only in a natural environment. The living room uses rustic, recycled furniture, organically polished with up-cycled upholstery, re-purposed trunks and furniture made from water hyacinths.
The Dutt family believes in spreading their mantra of a happy and sustainable lifestyle and thus a part of their abode serves as an art community centre with more than a hundred placed examples of recycling metal, wood and glass. It also preaches sustainable living and practices conserving resources in the form of models. It encourages one to initiate goals and innovate with their Makerspaces, DIY areas, Co-Working space and a D- School where there is constant buzz keeping one a step ahead and broad basing their skills, imagination and creativity. The Five Seasons Home also has five rooms that serve as home stays where travellers can enjoy a different, slow-paced side of Bangalore and where they can pursue aqua yoga at their paddle lap pool and take a dip in their Jacuzzi. There are also tons of hobby activities for children. The man of the house, Vijay B Dutt has also created the River-of-Love, Tree-of-Hope & Fountain-of-Three-Wishes in his Zen Garden that act as a source of optimism and inspiration. The Shakti Kendra is a science centre with models to explain key issues like the energy crisis, global warming, clean energy sources like solar energy etc. to enable the guests to understand the need for alternate energy and thereby reduce carbon footprint.
Their sumptuous food, delicious, healthy and organic straight from their own kitchen garden store — Farmacy, (from where you can pre order organic pulses, cereals, soaps, oils etc in bulk), will keep you satiated and rejuvenated. The Five Seasons Home also has a slow food corner where noodles get cooked over coal, and takes two hours to be ready. This process makes sure that the food soaks in all nutrients and is well cooked. They regularly organise community baking workshops and garage sales as well.
Based on the philosophy of achieving work-life balance, the Five Seasons House has an old fabric weighing scale installed at their home to depict the balance. Talking about his inspiration behind Five Seasons, Vijay Dutt mentions on his website that his early influences were travelling to Goa by boat from Bombay in 1966 and visiting Bhutan in 1977- the happiest country in the world which is also nearly 100% organic. He says, “having always been in the development of handloom, craft, clothing and combined with my wide travels I bring a lot to the table for you to experience a way of life that that could be private, participative or public depending upon your calling which everyone should strive to attain. My subconscious mind was full of a thousand and one things to do after all that I had experienced. I wanted to share the goodness of life, best practices worldwide and more importantly Indian wisdom and traditions urging everyone to balance work and play. Encapsulating all this was a challenge but bit by bit, day by day our dream was realised.”
The Five Seasons House also collaborates with handicraft makers from villages and provides them a platform to sell their goods, eliminating the middlemen and ensuring a fair price for their products. Their ultimate aim is to creatively inspire one to ‘Re-think & Re-charge’. Their vision is to have community coordinators all over India facilitating the free flow of goods & services on a fair to all & share for sure basis is waiting to be launched with the co-work model we have with curators & crowd sourcing. He says,
“At The Five Seasons House, we are a microcosm of all that makes India a great nation and the World a great place. It was our dream to ‘share-for-sure’ our beautifully allocated nooks for the community to benefit at large and also from each individual’s social effort.”
The Five Seasons House is located at 2nd Block, RT Nagar, #248, 15th Cross Rd, Bengaluru. For more details visit their website here.
Read the full report by The Alternative here.
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