They say a house chooses the people who live in it and this house that Satish Gujral built has the right people living in it: my dear friends, Susana and Carlos Pereira Marques, the Portuguese ambassador to India. It was originally built for Ranjana and Shakhat Singh, who often quotes Satish saying, “This was a gift from an artist to a poet.” The Portuguese residence in India is unlike most of the embassy residences, not in the usual conclaves of the embassy grounds in the hallowed area of Lutyens’s Delhi, but in a grand leafy lane of the exclusive West End Greens, on a large plot in the farm area that we call the green belt of New Delhi. A haven far from the madding crowd.
To live in a house designed by the late Satish Gujral is not easy, for it is not simply brick and mortar but has indeed been built as a living sculpture, to hold and to have life in all its myriad moods meander through its organic shape.
In his early years as an artist in Mexico, Satish met Frank Lloyd Wright and posed the question as to why Mr. Wright had not used a mural by either David Alfaro Siqueiros or Rufino Tamayo, both eminent Mexican artists and dear friends of the architect, in any of his buildings? Mr. Wright answered that only dead walls demand a mural whereas he never builds any dead walls in his projects. This thought cast a deep impression on a young Satish who, after years of creating many murals on various institutional buildings, found him self creating his own language of living sculpture.