The planometric drawing or painting is a combination of plans, sections, elevations and views in a miniature style of art with parallel projections in it – as we can see in Mughal miniature paintings. It should also be a documentation of the architectural spaces, elements, connectivity, ambience, humans and activities, both inside the building as well as surrounding it, the landscape, artworks, murals, sculptures, vehicles, furniture and animals.
This form of art requires a lot of detailed study and understanding about the building in a different perspective. All the spaces of the building have to be documented as reference and have to be creatively imagined and converted into a drawing or painting. It also requires a lot of patience and concentration to execute this form of art.
Vignesh Premkumar is blessed with the required patience, as we can see in his planometric painting of India House – the studio cum residence of architect Christopher Charles Benninger in Pune. It was completed within 64 days, with 10 hours of painstaking work per day. Most of the colours used were natural fruit colours, to lend an antique touch.
The building is divided into two basic segments: the studio (left) and the residence (right). The background consists of sun and moon, interpreting both the parts of the office respectively, and the evening yellow colour is also a mix of daylight and moonlight.
The connectivity between the ground floor and the first floor of the residential part of the building, is through a cut-out space with a Tangkha painting, by Buddhist monks (these paintings can only be gifted and not bought). There is also a hollow shaft here, which continues from the terrace floor and reaches the first floor to provide natural ventilation as well as to create a stack effect that is well interpreted and depicted in the painting.
The basement structure opens from the lobby of the studio section, with a number of murals displayed. A few skylight openings are seen from the basement to the central courtyard. The activities in India House as well as the vehicles are well depicted. The studio and residence are connected by a series of louvers in the terrace, shown in a subtle manner. The painting collections, murals and sculptures of India House Art Gallery are documented.
The palm trees in the front elevation provide the visual image of India House for passers-by on the road outside India House. The middle part of the building, which extends till the first floor behind the courtyard in the background, doesn’t belong to India House – but it is part of the visual image of India House courtyard. The silhouetted banana and coconut trees in the background add to the beauty of the landscape in the courtyard, while the activities outside India House offer a glimpse of the culture of Pune city and its varied population.
Premkumar has done other planometric paintings too. For instance, The Essence of Tiruchirapalli, which depicts the important historical monuments of his hometown.
By Maria Louis

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