Jungle Diaries

Team PureSpaces boarded the Shatabdi express to Mysore enroute to The Bison, with overflowing excitement and unsurprisingly, tons of food. While the rest of us were busy stuffing our faces with carbs, Krishna, with her keen eye for detail, was commenting on the Wes Anderson-ish wallpaper in our coach (she's impressive like that).  Anyhow, we were in Mysore in no time with bursting tummies and empty food bags. We then drove down the rest of the way. 

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The Bison is a magnificent resort along the Kabini river at the confluence of Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks. It felt like we were stepping back in time, as the buzz and rush of the city gave way to a lush green landscape. Nestled amongst majestic trees all around, a refreshing silence welcomed us into The Bison. Those of us, who were first-timers here, (basically all of us, except Krishna) were stunned into momentary speechlessness by the picturesque view that stretched ahead of us. We then met Krishna's best friend - the feisty, spirited and fiercely animal-loving Zoha - who runs The Backwater Sanctuary, an equine rescue and rehabilitation organisation. She introduced us to these beautiful brutes, rescued from far and wide, and brought back to life with much love and care here. She zipped past us in a blur, getting them back to their stables, bringing in their feed and petting whichever of them that came in her way. As the dark clouds rolled in above, we all watched on in amazement. And soon, the thunderstorm was upon us. Just as their website description goes, it is serene and idyllic during the day at The Bison, and exciting at night.

Lightning struck, one bright flash following another, lighting up the sky for the briefest of moments, burying us in darkness after. Far from the usual bustle at work, the PS team watched nature's fury unfold around us. We believe that the magic of creating spaces from scratch is endlessly fascinating; we get to tinker with exquisite materials and textures, and delightful furniture and lighting. But this was a different kind of magic. It was soulful and stirring. 

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The morning after was tranquil again and we set out on our jungle safari, a first again, for most of us. We drove through the misty woods, on the lookout for a wild-cat sighting. We had no luck with the cats, but we did see a few imposing bisons, some wide-eyed deer and tons of birds that our guide enthusiastically pointed out to us. Someone in our group managed to spot a rare monitor lizard too, that our expert naturalist had missed. All things considered, we were a disappointed lot that went back to the resort. But the delectable food at the Bison can cheer up any disheartened soul.

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With renewed enthusiasm we set off to follow Zoha, as she went about her busy morning, tending to wounds with bucket loads of love to her babies. After her morning chores were done, PS sat down to a fun hour of board games until the next hearty meal. The team decided to go on a boat safari, but Krishna decided to stay behind, wary of any water related activity after the precarious boat ride the previous day. The rest of the team was also apprehensive about a 3-hour boat ride, but it turned out to be far more engaging and fun than our morning safari experience. We saw herds of elephants, a croc basking in the sun and some beautiful birds. When all went quiet, it was meditative. There is something infinitely satisfying about observing nature's pace. Life is unhurried and time stands still.

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We came back from the safari to a quiet evening at the resort, and tried our hand at Heads Up. There were two glaring conclusions that we deduced - 

  1. We were an incorrigibly silly bunch and

  2. We were terrible at this game. 

But we had an insanely good time being nitwitted and laughing so hard. Time flew when we were there and pretty soon it was time to head home. But before we left the next morning, Chikkoo, Bison's star boat driver, took us on a Coracle ride. What can we say - it was a spinning experience!! A big shout out to The Bison and The Backwater Sanctuary, and a heartfelt thank you from all of us at PureSpaces for making this an absolutely unforgettable trip.

The Games We Play

It’s always all fun and games here at PSHQ. Just kidding, we actually take work very seriously. After a week full of client meetings, site visits, material selections, detailed drawings and a zillion other things, we ensure to put everything aside and make time for fun. Excited to give you a little glimpse of what happens here on a Friday night (in sequential order). Bags of chips and the famous cheese dip come in at around 6 pm. Conference room, of course, turns into the party spot. Laptops shut, drawings folded neatly and the table is set up with drinks and our favourite selection of games. Here’s a list we’ve put together to tell you all about the games we play.

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On the top of our list we have JENGA - Not only is this least tricky, but also for all ages and fam-friendly.

How to play

So, once we’ve built our steady J-Tower with 54 blocks (to be precise), we start by carefully pushing or pulling the blocks, turn by turn, and placing it right on top with just one hand. As easy it sounds, this requires a whole bunch of skills - great hand eye coordination, strategic mindset, and some serious concentration. While it’s all smooth sailing at the start, our adrenaline levels begin to soar as the tower gets leaner and it’s finally time to say “JENGA” when it all falls apart. Fun fact, ain’t nobody a winner at Jenga, only losers.

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Just a ‘Heads up’ -  this ones insanely fun. This revolutionary game began on Ellen DeGeneres ’s show and has been a riot ever since. PS: Gets you way too hooked, this was literally ALL we did on our team-trip to Bison.

How to play

This game is a combination of charades and Headbandz. We first pick a category: Superstars, Act it out, Blockbuster movies, Animals gone wild are some of the many. One person takes the role of the guesser and puts the phone to their forehead, while the others act out what flashes on the screen. You get 60 seconds! Meanwhile, if the guesser arrives at the right answer they tilt their phone forward and if not they turn it backward, to pass. You can play as many rounds you want and the person with the maximum number of right guesses is the winner. 

The Voting Game - Quite dangerous because every time you play you get to know what your friends reeally think. Also, turns out to be ridiculously funny. Caution : It’s practically impossible to stop, once you’ve started. Also, Krishna’s a cool boss so here we play the NSFW version.

How to play

Each player gets a player ID card which identifies each player as a number for the rest of the game and players also get a set of numbered voting cards with every number except the one on their player ID card. Turn by turn, one person draws a black Question card and reads it out loud. Each player then uses their voting cards to anonymously vote for the answer to the question (reader votes too). The player who read the question collects all the voting cards and reveals them to the group. Players receiving votes guess who voted for them and the player that receives the most votes wins the round and keeps the Question card. The first player to collect 6 question cards is the winner!

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Cards against Humanity - The ultimate party game for ‘Horrible people’ with a whole lot of adult humor and laughter guaranteed.

How to Play

The game is simple. Each player draws 10 white cards. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card by reading them out together. Reader gets to pick the best answer and that person gets to keep the black card. Person with the maximum number of black cards wins.

PS: The outcomes are absolutely ridiculous, we DIE laughing. 

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Piccolo Drinking Game – Very easy to play but drinking is a must.

How to Play

-        First things first, get drinking

-        Download Piccolo

-        Add each player’s name

-        Pick a mode, such as The Bar Mode/ The silly mode or whatever you’re in the mood for

-        And just go ahead and do as the app says, drink 5 sips if it says so!

Before you know it you’ll be well on your way to having a FUN night. 

So, this is how we set the tone for a great weekend. We surely believe that a little Booze and a lot of Banter never hurt nobody. 

Insta-Worthy Restaurants: London

Today, we’re going to talk about some of our fav restaurants, in the city we love. Goes without saying (of course) - the interiors played a huge role in curating the list. Hope this is as interesting for you to read as it was for us to make. Go ahead, read on.

Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

Influenced by the vibrant summers of Tuscany and the romantic winters of Provence with Chef Marcellin’s perfectly handcrafted menus – this restaurant is a dream.

PS : It’s also always wine o’ clock at Maggiore!


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Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

We know a great place for some late night dancing, street food and al fresco cocktails. Taking inspiration from the faded grandeur of a stately home, B & H Buildings has an informal charm. Whether in the mood for a boozy brunch or a casual coffee date, we’d totally recommend.


Redemption Bar, Covent Garden

Breaking all myths about healthy food, Redemption takes clean eating to a whole new level of sinful! The thought behind this restaurant is to firmly care for the planet, it’s animals and ourselves.

PS: The alcohol-free cocktails are a must try.


Sketch, Mayfair

What can we say, this place is just faabulous! One of the most stunning restaurants in London - the interiors are arty, edgy, stimulating, and SUPER-GLAM. It quite possibly is the quirkiest and most ‘grammed restaurant too.

PS: The Afternoon Tea here is to live for!


The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea

Here’s where you can experience spring all year round. Perfect for a lazy afternoon, it’s easy, breezy and relaxed. Also great for breakfast or even some delish cocktails.


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Berner’s Tavern, Fitzrovia

In the mood for a bit of a throwback? Here’s where you can dine in style. Characterised by 19th century interiors with a fresh modern take, this place is totally lush!


London has our heart and TBH there are WAY too many places. There’s Annabel’s, Dalloway Terrace and Circolo Popolare (recommended by our social media pro, Diya Chaitanya) to name a few. And today we’re off to Coppa Club, a place we’ve been dying to go to. Until next time then, from London – with love!

Crushing on Terrazzo

Can we just please tell you how hard we’re crushing on Terrazzo lately? We want to use it everywhere. Terrazzo is ridiculously versatile, it can be used on walls, floors, countertops and even, furniture and accessories. What we end up with is some major ‘Retro-glam’. Can’t really blame us for being so obsessed, can you?

A little info on the history for the geeks - Terrazzo came about through the inventiveness or sheer boredom in some Venetian stone workers, who were left with oddly shaped pieces of marble after completing their tasks. They put these into clay and flattened the mixture into a comfortable walking surface. Wonder if it was an accident, but they found that goat’s milk was a great sealant; and voila, they had a new, durable, low-cost, low-maintenance flooring! This was back in the day (around the 15th century), and is now making a major come-back, with a modern twist.

It has evolved in terms of style and techniques involved. It comes in bolder, brighter colours and with larger pieces of stone. What used to be an economic option has over time become a luxury material. It is slightly expensive, but the skill and amount of labour involved is very high. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop us from making big plans with Terrazzo!

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PS Travel Diaries: Iceland

Caution: Long post ahead! 

PureSpaces traveled to Iceland and you wouldn't guess when! Many would think it’s crazy to travel to a cold country in the dead of winter, but what's life without a punch of experiment. So we went on with the plan and don't regret it one bit. It was really cold, but with no snow, it wasn’t anything that you couldn't handle with the right winter gear.

We flew into Reykjavik from Frankfurt one afternoon, all snug and safe, and checked into Hotel Borg. Fixed up in dignified Art Deco interiors, it overlooked the beautiful square of Austurvollur, in the heart of Reykjavik, across from Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament and the cathedral. We couldn’t wait to step out and explore this beautiful country!

Iceland is known for some of the best views of the Aurora Borealis and its spectacular waterfalls. Lesser known is its peculiar folklore - many Icelanders hold these stories of elves, trolls and other hidden beings in high regard. Luckily, we had an enthusiastic and engaging storyteller in our guide Tryygvi. He was our attendant for the entire trip and filled our long rides with such interesting stories about trolls and Vikings, each one more compelling than the other. Icelanders believe that rocks are homes to trolls who live in a parallel universe. There was no way to explain how their attempts to build a road over a rock, failed over and over again. When nothing else worked, they had to build the road around this rock. Such anecdotes are exceedingly fascinating from an outsider's perspective. As amusing as we found them, they had to be put on hold, for our priority was to see the Northern Lights.

Following dinner at Jamie’s Italian in our hotel, Tryygvi drove us 2 hours out of the city to see them. We had assumed it’d be as easy as it would be amazing. But it turned out that the Aurora Borealis can’t be spotted by just looking up at the night sky! We had to drive to a pitch dark spot far from the city lights. This was followed by a long wait in the freezing cold weather, until we saw the lights dancing very faintly. We build high expectations from stunning photographs we have seen or movies we have watched. So seeing something yourself could turn out to be a bit underwhelming. Nonetheless, it was truly beautiful.

The next morning Tryygvi got a jeep with massive tires to take us to Husafell and Langjokull glacier. It was a two-hour drive and we made pit stops at the Krauma geothermal baths, and, The Beauty and the Beast waterfalls on the way. The Godafoss waterfall, or ‘the waterfall of Gods’, is considered one of the most impressive in the country. It is aptly nicknamed beauty by the locals, in comparison to Dettifoss, which is considered the beast. The waterfalls still continued to run, but with some icicles and frost. We had lunch at Husafell, which has incredibly breathtaking, snow-kissed lava fields. The Ice Cave tour was next on our itinerary. People usually hire a monster truck (SIC) that’s better suited to driving on ice and this is what we had done too. But the unduly adventurous Tryggvi managed to get some special permit speaking in Icelandic to the officials and drove us up to Langjokull himself, in a much smaller truck. The word Langjokull translates to the Long glacier, and is the second largest glacier in Iceland. It also houses the largest man-made cave in the world. Walking through the ice tunnels was an incomparable experience, but little did we know then how risky our ride had been. With a visibility of less than a foot, we could hardly see anything around us. We barely managed to follow these sticks along the road to find our way up. It almost felt like we were going backwards. The guides at Into the Glacier we met up there were shocked when they found that we had driven up in a private vehicle during a snowstorm. We wouldn’t have done so, had we known we could have gotten lost or killed! The journey back was slightly better, but we were terrified however, now that we knew what could happen if we strayed off the track. But the experience was still worth all the struggle. It was very windy due to the snow storm and we were surrounded by beautiful, snowy vistas. There was most certainly a very Game-of-Thrones vibe to it. We ended the day with dinner at a fabulous restaurant called FISH MRKT. We highly recommend you eat here if you ever visit Reykjavík.

On day 3, we went on the Golden Circle tour and dog sledding. The famous Golden circle covers the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall. They drive you from Reykjavik and back, which forms a 300-kilometre circular route. In the morning, we visited the dog kennel. This is extremely fun for a dog-lover, for Iceland is home to a vibrant dog-sledding community. The sleds are pulled on winter snow by Snow Dogs or the adorable Siberian huskies. We were worried about hurting them, but apparently, this was their exercise and they really enjoy it! The duration of the sledding depends on the dogs, people, weather and trail conditions. On an average, they cover 7-8 kilometres in about 45-60 minutes, during which you get to enjoy the power of sled dogs. Afterwards, we were driven to Gullfoss waterfalls and the Geyser geothermal area. Gullfoss was all frozen and looked magnificent. It was no wonder it’s called The Queen of Icelandic Waterfalls. It looked majestic as the icicles dramatically slipped into a deep gorge. On the other hand, the geysirs were erupting at regular intervals, sending boiling water upto 20 metres in the air. They have been dormant for a while now, but the area is still highly active.

Later, we went to Thingvellir National Park, which is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, known for its uniqueness as well as its historic significance. Apart from being the site of the ancient parliament of the Viking commonwealth and the birthplace of the nation, it is strewn with breathtaking views of ravines ripped open by earthquakes. An interesting tidbit for you - the stage for many a open-air assemblies, Almannagja gorge, was also the shooting location for the famous HBO series of Game of Thrones.

Our heads full of stunning landscapes, we headed off to explore some charming Christmas decor at night and then to check out Harpa, a modernist, honeycomb concert hall and conference centre. It is one of Reykjavik’s most distinguished landmarks and home to the national opera and symphony. The building features a distinctive coloured glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland, and the colours change constantly. Facing the sea, the building almost had a sculptural quality to it. It is an understatement to say that we were exhausted at the end of this long day. We called it a day with a quiet dinner at this really cute place called Ristorante Caruso. It is located in a restored historic building that was initially built in 1801 and their food was out of this world.

The first thing on our itinerary for the last day was a visit to Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavik. You are awestruck by this towering structure rising out of the ground into a pointy tip, at almost 75 metres height that can be seen from almost the entire city. Designed by the late architect Gudjon Samuelsson, it took around 41 years to complete the construction. The composition is inspired by the local basalt rock formations as well as Iceland’s glaciers and sweeping landscapes. The country did not have its own style of architecture apparently, for the longest time. It had always been a medley of different historical styles in confluence with foreign influences. Recent times have brought about change in terms of newer architects and weather-appropriate materials being put to use, that gives character to the present Icelandic cityscape.

We had saved the best for last - and headed to the Blue Lagoon after Hallgrimskirkja. The drive here was scattered with BEAUTIFUL sights all along that we had to stop often and enjoy them at leisure. The best of our pit-stops was at this active crater and we climbed up on to billowing steam. We soon arrived and checked into The Retreat Hotel. Nestled amongst volcanic horizons and panoramic vistas of mossy mountains, it was like we had walked into a paradise of relaxation and luxury. With the designer’s radar always turned on, one of the first things we noticed that ALL the furniture in here was Minotti (which is one of PureSpaces’ favourite brands).  

It was a surreal experience waking up to the beautiful views of moss-covered lava fields and volcanic mountainscapes. One would think nothing could beat this, then came their excellent food. And as a cherry on top, we tried their in-water massage and it turned out to be an exceptional experience. It was an indulgent massage elevated by the revitalizing geothermal seawater against a jaw-droppingly stunning backdrop. It seemed to unlock sublime levels of well-being in you. We also got the complementary Blue Lagoon ritual that came highly recommended. It was a combo of lava scrub, silica mud mask and algae mask. It would suffice to say that we were in heaven. And who could possibly not want to go back after being spoilt rotten like this?! On a different note, PureSpaces also gives the Blue Lagoon skin care their seal of approval!  

Iceland, all things considered, had charmed us in many ways. It was a unique experience in winter, where you need to pack a whole lot into really short days of around 5 hours of daylight. But this winter wonderland was calm, quiet and less crowded, which was something we really savoured. We had had some amazing food, always fresh and very expensive. Here goes another Tryggvi trivia - the food in Iceland is rather expensive owing to the fact that they need to be grown in greenhouses. How different and exotic life is, just a few hours away from our homes! Travelling gives us so much food for thought. Like all travellers, we had done so much in so little time, and had our share of ups and downs. But there isn’t a thing we would change about it, (except for, maybe, going up to the glacier in a safer vehicle). Kudos to Iceland as a great vacay spot, even at the peak of winter!