The River Po: a Barger’s Guide

The River Po: a Barger’s Guide

Searching for great river cruises? Italy’s lovely rivers and canals offer tourists a chance to explore the wonders of this beautiful country. When you navigate down the River Po, you can travel through the various Italian natural landscapes, marvelling at unique lagoon islands, gorgeous lakesides flocked with birds and charming Renaissance cities with awe-inspiring architecture.
Length and Route

 

The River Po is a 650-kilometre long stretch of water that will take you from the canal city of Venice to the cultural hotspot of Mantua. Starting in the Venetian Romantic city, you can travel up the river through the Po valley, along the river and the Bianco Canal to San Pietro in Volta, before heading towards Zelo and Governo and finally reaching the lakeside city of Mantua. Along the way, you will encounter both the upper and lower Po plains which are surrounded by the Alps, the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines. You can admire the contrast between the two levels, as the first is a drier landscape with few trees and the second is abundant in water and greenery.

History and Feats of Engineering

The Po River has a very interesting and intricate history. Although it is a bit temperamental, in some places being extremely shallow and in others flooding the landscape, the River Po has enabled centuries of settlers to prosper. It is Italy’s largest waterway and ensured that the region grew into the country’s most important economic area. Its water fed the fields on the bank and led to the flourishing of agriculture. Connecting Turin, Vercelli, Piacenza and Cremona, it was also used as a trade route by the early Mediterranean settlers and later by the Romans too.

This extraordinary river also gave birth to the iconic canals of Venice, as it forms a 100-kilometre long delta which feeds the city’s lagoon. Creating the famous 118 islets, surrounded by 177 canals which host many river cruises, Italy is able to attract many tourists to The Floating City every year. It would not feature its unique architecture of colourful houses built on the ‘submerged forest’ of wooden piles without it. It is also thanks to this legacy that the Po Delta has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Attractions en Route

You can gain brilliant insight into the Roman, Etruscan, Istrian and Byzantine empires by going on Po river cruises. Italy is a treasure trove of culture, with stunning architecture and artworks just waiting to be explored. I’d recommend visiting the beautiful seventeenth-century Villa Ca’Zen. Located on the riverbank, it is a breathtaking stately home where the great Lord Byron courted his muse, Countess Guiccioli, and composed some of his most famous verses. You will also want to explore the city of Mantua, with its neoclassic Palazzo Canossa and the impressive Renaissance dome of the Basilica di Sant’ Andrea. For a bit of musical history, head over to the Teatro Scientifico where the young Mozart first wowed his contemporary with his extraordinary piano skills.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury river cruises and barge holidays throughout Europe. If you’re looking for the most exciting river cruises, Italy is an ideal choice. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

Dare to Dream of a White Christmas in Courchevel

Dare to Dream of a White Christmas in Courchevel

Imagine waking up to a scene of snowy mountains and pine trees capped with a fresh dusting of snow on Christmas morning. Well, if you book a ski holiday to Courchevel for the festive period, this is exactly what you and your kids can expect!
In addition to enjoying a perfect winter wonderland, you and your family will be able to enjoy many festive activities in the resort, ranging from fantastic French-cooked Christmas dinners to a torch-lit descent for the kids to enjoy when the sun goes down.

 

The best part is that all of this couldn’t be easier to reach from the UK, as there are regular flights to Geneva from most UK airports, as well as excellent transport links from Geneva to Courchevel.

Courchevel for Families

While the exclusive Courchevel resort of 1850 is a perfect destination for many couples and ski enthusiasts, families with young children may prefer the lower resorts of 1550 and 1650, which are smaller and have a more family-friendly and intimate feel.

All of the resorts have their own children’s ski schools (I highly recommend learning with the French ESF – let them know that your children are English, and they will put them in an English-speaking class). What’s more, there are nursery runs, snow playgrounds and beginner slopes in each of the resorts.

When you venture away from the slopes, you’ll find that there is as much to do off as on the snow. For example, why not take the family ice skating, bowling or to the cinema?

What to Expect During the Festive Season

As you make your way from Geneva to Courchevel, you’ll feel the excitement of your children growing when you drive into the heart of a Narnia-esque landscape of snowy mountains and pine forests.

When you reach the resort, you’ll discover that the French embrace the magic of the festive season just as much as we do back home. The high streets in all of the resorts sparkle with Christmas lights, giving the entire area a truly magical feel.

Festive treats are likely to include carols and fireworks, traditional markets, a parade, tons of hot chocolate and live music events, as well as traditional Christmas meals in its many restaurants.

Highlights for 2017 include a torch-lit descent that’s led by ESF instructors and that features Santa as a special guest, as well as a special Boxing Day luge event.

Lastly, don’t forget that you’ll also be able to ski on Christmas Day. All of the resort’s lifts and pistes are open all day. Who knows – you might even discover Santa practicing his carving turns!

How to Get There

The resort is served by four airports during the ski season: Chambery, Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva. For the most regular and stress-free connection, choose a flight to Geneva with providers such as easyJet, British Airways, Swiss International or Air France.

For a completely hassle-free way of getting your family from the airport to your resort, simply book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home.

Let us know how many of you will be travelling, how many child seats you will need, and what ski equipment you will be carrying, and we’ll meet you at the airport with the perfect transport for you and your family.

Author Plate

What to Expect When Cruising the River Moselle

What to Expect When Cruising the River Moselle

Renowned as one of the most picturesque rivers the world, the Moselle stretches for a languid 340 miles from the Vosges Mountains of France to flow into the Rhine in Germany. Various sections have become extremely popular with barge holiday operators, not just for the magnificent scenery encountered along the way, but also for the many historical attractions and, of course, the wine.
The Route of the Moselle

 

From its elevated source at Ballon d’Alsace, the river passes through the spectacularly beautiful and historically significant French landscape of Lorraine, before forming part of the border of Luxembourg and Germany. On its path it takes in countless small towns, Alpine villages and wine-growing regions. Some of the more industrialised sections of the Moselle Valley are also used for transporting goods on large cargo ships. The river joins the Rhine at Koblenz, as its longest tributary. Since it was made entirely navigable in 1964, the river has become a very busy waterway, encompassing 14 locks and a dedicated shipping channel. As well as barge holiday operators, the traffic comprises large numbers of private vessels and commercial and cargo ships.

Attractions en Route

For those on a barge holiday, whatever section of the Moselle makes up the itinerary there are countless attractions to see from the water and on shore excursions. One of the most enchanting is Burg Eltz, a real-life fairytale castle set in its own lush forest. The medieval castle is immaculately preserved, having been in one family for more than 850 years. The interiors are bedecked with original tapestries, furnishings and artworks that have been curated with such attention and care they look like the centuries have simply passed them by. Set upon the peak of a huge craggy rock, Burg Eltz epitomises the concept of a fairytale castle.

For those passing through Trier (close to Luxembourg), exploring the Roman ruins of the oldest city in Germany is a must. Founded in 16 BC by the infamous Augustus, Trier was a vital trade and financial hub for the Roman Empire for more than four centuries. Today one can walk around its many archaeological attractions and take in sites like the Porta Nigra, the Hauptmarkt and the city’s most iconic landmark, the magnificent UNESCO-listed Trierer Dom – the oldest cathedral in Germany. The city is also famous for a very different reason as the birthplace of philosopher Karl Marx.

Fine Wine

It’s not for nothing that wine is one of the most popular themes for barge holiday itineraries in this region of Germany and Luxembourg. The Moselle Valley is renowned for some of the world’s finest Rieslings, which make up around 60% of its total production. The region provides the perfect conditions for this famous grape, with records indicating that it has been grown there since 1435. The Riesling has a distinct colour and flavour that aficionados attribute to its high acidity, and it has the ability to age well up to 40 years.

For history, scenery and the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most acclaimed wine regions in the world, cruising along the beautiful River Moselle is invariably a most memorable and enjoyable experience for travellers of any age.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday itineraries. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

Underwater Shipwrecks: The Most Dramatic of Dive Sites

Underwater Shipwrecks: The Most Dramatic of Dive Sites

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting out, there’s an undeniable romanticism and sense of adventure around wreck dives that you won’t be able to get elsewhere. The excitement builds while you’re in a speedboat zipping through the immense expanse of blue, wind whipping your hair and you into a frenzy. Often you’ll not spot any signs of civilisation as far as the eye can see and then, suddenly, with all your gear securely in place, it’s overboard and underwater into a magical world where ghostly ship remains loom as if from nowhere, waiting to be explored…
If this sounds tempting, the reality is much better. Do these thrilling historical sites offering spectacular dives, stunning reefs and enchanting folklore call to you? Great: here are three of the best this fine planet has to offer.

 

Townsville, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is the a fabulous dive site any diver worth their salt has explored, and this British-built luxury passenger ship which fell victim to a cyclone back in 1911 is arguably its crowning jewel. Teeming with marine life and a spectacular ship in itself, if you’re only ever going to take the plunge with one wreck dive ever then this should be a strong contender.

Grand Anse, Grenada

The Bianca C has become known as the Titanic of the Caribbean after it sank in 1961 due to a boiler room explosion and consequent fire which lasted several days. At 180 metres (600 feet) long, this is the largest shipwreck you can dive in the Caribbean. If you have your full wreck dive insurance certifications then you’re in for even more fun as you’ll have multiple chances to enter the wreck.

Chuuk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia

Are you on the hunt for a travel destination which boasts a true wealth of wreck diving options? Then look no further than Micronesia. This little section of paradise in Oceania is undoubtedly the place for you. In years gone by it was thought to be the most formidable of Japanese strongholds in the whole of the Pacific during WWII, and Chuuk Lagoon was completely devastated after an American attack on the base back in 1944. 249 aircraft, 32 merchant ships and 12 warships sank, with over 20 wrecks having been discovered since. You’ll be like a kid in a sweetshop deciding which dives to do — some of the most popular include the 500 foot (153 metre) Shikoku Maru and the 440 foot (134 metre) Fujikawa Maru.

Mayday Mayday!

Not every travel insurance covers you for wreck diving, and some dive insurance won’t cover you below 18 metres. Let’s Go Insure’s dive insurance provides cover for up to 50 metres as long as you have the necessary qualifications. Get in touch with our team today to make sure your once in a lifetime dive insurance needs are met.

The Halloween tradition to tell your child ahead of time

The Halloween tradition to tell your child ahead of time

Halloween is one of the most expected holidays of the year. Both children and adults are excited to start decorating their homes and gardens according to the latest trends. Halloween is now the reason for partying until sunrise and wandering around in the most frightening costumes on the market, but nobody knows the ins and outs of this problem or how the idea of ​​Halloween comes up. This article is meant to present some of the stories behind Halloween that everyone should know. Children need to understand why they need to dress up on this holiday and that’s the importance of decoration they see around it. The Halloween tradition to tell your child ahead of time
Sculpting the pumpkin, also called jack-o’-lantern comes from the legend of a famous person who modeled wax or other objects to illuminate souls trapped in purgatory. Some objects such as pumpkins have traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland. The American pumpkin carving tradition has been certified since 1830 and was initially associated with harvest time. The late nineteenth century has brought the meaning of harvest time and New Year to the Halloween holidays. Costumes are the main focal point of this holiday and much can be said about them.

 

This habit is still preserved today, as everyone – both children with western and adult diferens – walks costumed on the street, looking for a house to be cheated or treated. Wearing a costume that portrays a supernatural figure into something popular today but not many people know what they wear costumes for this special and spooky night. In Halloween, ghosts and spirits seem to roam the cities and haunt the people who come their way. To avoid that, people start walking around and leave their homes in frightening costumes so they are unconscious on the street. Even if Halloween is no longer a very religious holiday, people have fun celebrating it and decorating their homes so the atmosphere begins to enter. Adults buy adult disfraces so they can match their children as they roam. Plus, it makes a great theme for family photos so no one can stay away.

Before Halloween, there was Samhain. Samhain is a very religious holiday which suits the holidays of the Day of the Dead. Basically, Samhain has no specific date when it is celebrated but is counted on the 8th full moon after the spring equinox. The Celtic legend says that the barrier between the good world and the evil world (called hell and heaven) has broken out during this time and people can reach the underworld and meet any creature on both sides. Plus, the time should stop for two days and everyone gets trapped between the worlds. The Celtic people think it’s New Year’s Eve. Samhain is the origin of the traditional Halloween apple game, which is also called the swinging apple.

Private Excursions Falmouth Jamaica

Private Excursions Falmouth Jamaica

Evidently there are many great excursions in and around Falmouth Jamaica. Pre-booking your private shore excursions before arriving in Jamaica is the best option; careful planning allows for doing more and seeing more of the island within the limited time that will be spent on the beautiful island.

To experience the wealth of Jamaica’s history you will need to visit the Georgian Town of Falmouth with its interesting stories and exquisite architecture; they tell tales of the island evolution from its colonial past and its present progression into the paradise that it is today. The town has managed to preserve the ambiance of a European town, and for this reason it manages to create a serene feeling for those who visit.

This stunning town of Falmouth, boasting the exquisite European architecture is pleasing to the eye. For size, Falmouth is a small town, but is perfect as an entry point to the island. For this reason, the town is home to one of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Ports. Situated on the northern coastline of Jamaica, Falmouth is between 30 and 60 minutes to some of the island’s best excursion sites.

Leaving from the Pier in Falmouth, the landscape will tell the story of the region’s colonial past; once being a major player in the sugar industry, the port that is now used by Royal Caribbean was once used as a commercial port where rum and sugar was shipped to Europe. The Hampden Plantation was where the sugar cane was grown and the sugar processed in the mills located on the property. Today, the site now houses the Hampden Rum Factory which offers tours of the facilities. It is a great experience for cruisers arriving at this port.

Rafting on the Martha Brae is another excursion that is very close to the Falmouth Port. It is a romantic experience for couples and is great for kids also. For older folks, this is a wonderful activity, making it a perfect choice for families. The rafts are handmade by locals; designed using the shoots of the bamboo plant. The Martha Brae River is tame body of water making raft rides down the river quite smooth and enjoyable. It doesn’t get better.

The town of Montego Bay is just a 30 minutes’ drive west of Falmouth. Being in this resort town you are guaranteed to have a great time. You have the choice of Great House Tours; either at Greenwood or Rose Hall for a peek into Jamaica’s past. The Rockland Bird Sanctuary affords a once in a lifetime experience to interact with some of the most gracious species of birds. There is golfing at one of the many courses; shopping for souvenirs, and a trip to the beach are just some of the activities in Montego Bay in which Cruisers arriving in Falmouth could indulge.

To the east of Falmouth there is the town of Ocho Rios, home to some of the best waterfalls in the world. The Dunn’s River Falls need no introduction; it is Jamaica’s premier tourist attractions featured in many travel magazines. It is 600 feet of gushing water, cascading down the rocks; great for climbing.

The Blue Hole Secret Falls is another waterfall in Ocho Rio; though not as popular as the Dunn’s River Falls most people think that it is a better experience. This is possibly because the Blue Hole Secret Falls offer ropes wings, cliff diving, jumping, swimming and cave exploration. Visitors report the thrill of the experience as being unforgettable. It one of the must do things in Jamaica whether you are staying in a hotel or as a Falmouth Cruise Excursions.

Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

For wildlife lovers, a vacation in the Galapagos is often an old dream and a real “bucket list” experience. This remote island off the coast of Ecuador is home to some of the most unique wildlife on Earth, and offers the opportunity for some very close encounters. For those who want to take advantage of most opportunities to take animal photos, some specific tips from experts can help.
Tips for Photography at Holiday Galapagos Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

There are many generic tips for photographing wildlife (including the most basic, ie patient), but there are also some specific ones to capture great images of these remote island animals.

Be prepared

This suggestion has a double meaning: You need to be prepared in terms of equipment, but also at a situational level. Taking the right camera and accessories is essential, and SLRs with interchangeable lenses will produce far superior results to the iPhone, however up-to-date the model. The wildlife in the archipelago is unbelievably fearless, so there is no need for long focal length and long fixed lenses, but if you are serious, short and medium lens combinations are recommended. As a guide, consider (at least) the 18mm-70mm lens and the 100mm-400mm. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Another aspect of preparation is getting ready to get “money fired” without too much notice. Wild wildlife, however, and animals will not wait for you to focus, change openings and frame the scene perfectly – even though the Giant Tortoise Galapagos may be an exception. Read it every time and frankly, keeping your eyes peeled so you can take advantage of the situation as it appears.

Lighting

Due to the geographical position of the archipelago at the equator, the sun rises and sets rapidly, spends much of its time just above the head. This results in harsh and top-lit conditions that are often less conducive to capturing wildlife images. What you should aim for is low-side lighting, which creates greater interest in texture and shaded contours. Without the benefits of an artificial studio lighting, the only real solution is to get up early before the sun reaches overhead, or later at night when it goes down. An added bonus of this is that you can get some spectacular and dramatic pictures by using sunrise or sunset to give the backlight on your subject. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Expose

Even if you set your SLR for automatic exposure, lighting and conditions in the archipelago are often beyond the reach of the most advanced camera metering system. For example, bright white plumage in Nazca Booby perched on black volcanic rocks will cause the camera to glow for darker areas, and then highlight it more deeply. A good tip is to use the +/- function on your camera, which will override the meter and fix one or two stops to expose the bird and not the rocks.

Think laterally

In addition to the technical aspects, the most important advice of the knowing experts is to think out of the box and actually take advantage of the incredible opportunities that you will encounter on Galapagos holidays. Do not just follow the crowd and photograph the animals from a static point of view – go down to the sand with Sally Lightfoot Crabs, ride high on rocks with the Marine Iguana, and cross into shallow rivers with weird Sea Lions (obviously keeping your camera protected). Being creative with angles is one of the surest ways to open up to this once-in-a-lifetime image.

Turned Good to Great

Meanwhile, for some people, the Galapagos holiday is quite a gift in itself, for others, catching amazing photographs is a very important aspect. Wildlife photography can, in essence, be a very challenging quest. And while being in the right place at the right time can reap amazing rewards, following a few tips to take advantage of those “timely, right place” moments can make the difference between good and good photos. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Do You Really Need Life Insurance

Do You Really Need Life Insurance

You are healthy, not close to your senior years, growing, and playing safely. You may not be wasting your time, so buying life insurance seems silly, or even irresponsible, given the fact that you have more direct investment to pay for it. You need to pay off your car or home, buy groceries, fund your daily needs, and you have all kinds of other insurance payments. You do not need any other bills every month that you do not technically need right now, do you?
In fact, if you are a healthy adult who thinks this way, you see life insurance from the wrong angle. You may or may not need life insurance, but determining whether you should buy life insurance in Greenville, SC is not a simple decision. There are several factors to consider when determining whether you are ready for life insurance or not.

Do You Really Need Life Insurance

What is Life Insurance?

If you feel that life insurance is now of no use in your life, you may need to review or learn what life insurance is like. Basically, life insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company. This contract states that, in the unfortunate and unexpected events of your death, your family will be financially handled. The amount given to your family is determined by the policy and premium you pay for the insurance company.

Is there anyone who depends on you financially?

If you do not have a partner or child who is financially dependent on you, you probably do not need life insurance. As stated above, life insurance policies are meant for the people you leave behind as pillows. This ensures that they are taken care of and will not suffer financially in case of death. If nobody depends on you financially, where will the insurance money go after your death? Bottom line, you will throw money into the hole. Do You Really Need Life Insurance

What If Something Happens to You?

This is not a happy thought, but if you have people who depend on you, you are responsible for considering the possibility that you can drive to work tomorrow and have a fatal car accident. Maybe you have a high-risk job that can bring about a tragic change at any time. To be honest, anyone can die anytime. It is a part of life. Hopefully, nothing fatal happens to you until you die in sleep at age 90; However, there is no guarantee that this will happen. What if not how your story ends?

Since it is possible that your story may end at any time, not only do you have to live life to the fullest and enjoy the essentials, but you must make sure that caring people are taken care of. Death events in the family is quite difficult. Make sure your family does not encounter any financial problems after you leave as well. Life insurance is one way that you can continue to take care of your family even after you no longer live. Do You Really Need Life Insurance

If you are not sure if you really need life insurance, talk to a trustworthy agent about Greenville SC insurance, or wherever you live. Life insurance policies vary among companies, and it’s important to find the right one for you, if you decide it’s time to buy a policy. Even if you are not a work partner, your family can benefit from life insurance. A life insurance policy is an investment for someone you love.

3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London

3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London

When experienced in the right way, the capital of England is one of the vast and profound classrooms. A British study visit to London is the most exciting way for teachers to bring a vast art, history, and cultural pottery to life for students, and the opportunity to stimulate young hearts and minds outside the classroom is fun and privilege. 3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London
Learn English Travel to London

However, by its nature, planning an educational visit to London can be a challenge in itself, with the temptation to see as much as possible in a limited time potentially overshadowing the quality of the experience. Signing up a special tour operator to create a travel plan based on the chosen theme is the best way to ensure a focused schedule.

Here are three suggested themes for those planning a visit to the capital on a UK study tour.

Investigating Politics & History at the Parliament Building

The journey to the seat of the state government has the capacity to actualize British political history and intrigues in a brilliant context. Exploring the Houses of Parliament can inspire students in various aspects of the governance process, from the passionate debate, to the thorough responsibility of British citizenship.

Students can explore buildings, meet local lawmakers, visit observation galleries to see Lords or lawmakers in debates, and participate in workshops related to law-making, campaigning, rapid debate and voting. In addition, the area around the House of Parliament is home to a number of other important historical sites, including Westminster Abbey, Jewel Tower and Parliament Square.

Explore the Science & Nature at the Natural History Museum

The Museum of Natural History can be somewhat less prominent than the cultural giants of the British Museum and the National Gallery. Its simpler size does not at all diminish its educational value and provide multi-faceted goals for students of all ages. 3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London

The building where the Natural History Museum is located is one of the best neo-gothic architecture examples in the city, and its majestic entrance façade is the realization of Alfred Waterhouse’s vision of creating a ‘cathedral to nature’. An impressive exhibition in the form of an expansive collection relating to nature, provides much inspiration for discussions with and among students.

The nearby South Kensington museum area is also home to some great educational sites, including the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial.

Soak in Literature & Drama at the Shakespeare Globe Theater

There is no better way to bring dusty works from Bard into a sharp contemporary context for younger groups rather than through visits to the iconic Globe Theater. A visit to the theater gives young people a deeper appreciation of the timeless text of Shakespeare and lets them see Elizabeth’s theater experience in a new light. Through workshops on site, students can explore aspects of the playmaker’s theme, and learn what goes on behind the scenes to start a theater performance. 3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London

The surrounding area also provides an opportunity to visit the original Globe sites and archaeological sites unearthed from the city’s first Tudor theater, the Rose Playhouse.

Basing a UK school tour on a themed trip can provide an excellent foundation in many subjects for young people in an easily digestible, educated and entertaining way.

John Gardiner is Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specializing in English study tours for school and youth groups, as well as travel to destinations in Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveler, John is keen to provide students with a valuable and exciting learning experience outside the classroom. By sharing expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and continue their studies into life. 3 Main Themes for Learning English Tour to London

TCS Architects, sibling design studio of Design Forum International

TCS Architects, sibling design studio of Design Forum International designs and builds two multi-residence buildings in Delhi, both intended to reflect luxury with a green soul

“With a decreasing green cover in urban areas, craving for a green view and a connection to nature has become more intense, both for visual reasons as well as to create sufficient biomass to produce oxygen,” say Goonmeet Singh Chauhan and Anoj Tevatia, principal architects speaking of the design of their two recent projects – in Vasant Vihar and Greater Kailash, New Delhi. Retaining trees and shrubs on site, introducing planter balconies, terrace gardens and integrating existing trees into the overall spatial planning are solutions that they have diligently incorporated into both projects.

TCS Architects, sibling design studio of Design Forum International

The project in Greater Kailash has nature integrated right from the stilt level of parking, where a tiny green lawn facilitates not only recharging of the ground water table, but also becomes a breathing zone; further, fitted with outdoor seating, the area is thoughtfully converted into a communal space.

Setting a benchmark is this wheelchair-friendly building, where a step-free entrance is carved out whilst broad doorways ensure internal wheelchair-accessibility.

Green building features such as high performance double-glazed glass, use of dust-proof and sound-proof windows, 5-star rated air conditioning, exposed plumbing, water management, solar geysers etc., help conserve energy. Local materials such as exposed brick, contextually-appropriate Dholpur stone and a strong emphasis on natural light and cross ventilation anchors the project in sustainability.

In the Vasant Vihar project, the façade is an amalgamation of the modern and classical, where jaali is juxtaposed against stone panels – thereby softening the solidarity of form with detailing. The entry points proudly feature stone lanterns, serving as glorious sculptures during the day and diffused light by night. TCS Architects, sibling design studio of Design Forum International

Warmth of wood unifies the interiors viz. wall paneling and suspended ceiling panels, whilst mostly concealed and muted lighting creates a soothing ambience. Indoor lighting plays a supporting role to the natural infusion of light pouring in from floor-to-ceiling glazing.

The romance with nature continues unabated right into the master en-suite washroom, where the balcony abutting the toilet is designed as a tree pit, a tropical experience right into the washrooms. The interplay of vibrant greenery and polished Italian marble marries the urban aesthetics with eco-sensitivity.