Nestled in the southern part of India that borders Karnataka towards the south and Maharashtra towards the north, the state is one of the most popular destinations to visit in the country. Tourism here is one of the mainstays of the economy which is mainly due to its beautiful beaches, great nightlife and excellent seafood, the state is visited by vacationers near and far.
Goa was earlier a Portuguese colony which was liberated on 19th December 1961. For the Portuguese, the state was a vital seaport for trade. Merchant ships brought in plenty in materials that we not only consumed locally but also shipped to other countries east of the world. Mormugao was a natural port the Portuguese loved mainly because the traffic to the port was extremely low. Manganese ore was abundantly found here and the Portuguese extracted plenty of it and was exported. Ships were docked as long as 30-50 days to load manganese, mainly due to poor and ineffective loading methods. During the days of Portuguese rule there were at least 7-8 ships that were waiting to load each day along with another 20 to 30 scheduled to arrive. Goa sold its manganese for a very cheap price, and inspite of a long waiting period for these ships , countries still found it profitable to export manganese from here. The demand for local manganese sky rocketed after the war to countries such as United States and Japan. Due to this demand the economy of state grew, employment boomed, better than most other countries in Asia. The local government back then also levied very low import duties, making margins on imported products significantly large and therefore being a profitable business. This brought in luxury products to the local market and were priced a lot cheaper than what it would cost in the United States. One of the first to arrive were the Portuguese, by a sailor named Vasco-da-Gama in 1498. He was exploring new sea routes for the Europeans which led to the opening of Asia to the world.
Back in the day it was farming that was the main occupation of the locals which was mainly a farming enterprise. Every local farmer would take their entire family out to the field to work each day. The Indian government at that time was keen on Goa being a part of it, however several locals had their reservations in doing so. The locals felt that their lifestyle was far better than other parts of India which was stricken by poverty. Starvation was common those days but due to the Portuguese’s trade kept food on plates of majority of the locals. Rice and coconut curry was the staple meal here enjoyed by the locals. Another local industry which the locals were a part of was fishing. Fishing and farming put together occupied all of the local people. Communities would come together to help each other fish and pull nets, the catch generally shared among those that helped. The Arch of Viceroy was installed in by the Portuguese stake its claim on the land. The Portuguese brought in over 500 schools that were mainly operated by Catholic church. The economic well being of the locals was thriving in contrast to other groups in Asia. Panjim and Mapusa were important cities, Mapusa being a large marketplace. Most local people used to speak a Hindu dialect although the Portuguese educated schools thought them how to speak in English as well as Portuguese. India kept contending that Goa should be a part of it but the religious ties that the locals have with Portugal that stretched back as far as the 16th century was still professed. The state became a center of Christianity due to the body of St. Francis Xavier being buried here was then preserved then displayed in the cathedral of Old Goa that was visited by people from different faiths from all across the world. The bond was one of the strongest ties locals had with the Portuguese. The Portuguese general was also specific to point that Goa was not a Portuguese colony but a province like any other province in Portugal, claiming every citizen of the state is a full fledged citizen of Portugal. The state was the hub of Portuguese activities in Asia. The occupancy of land was over five centuries long, influencing every aspect of Goan life. The old architecture and designs seen in many homes, buildings and churches still invites visitors even today. The Portuguese named Old-Goa as its capital, which has plenty of churches built by different Christian orders. These churches are today world heritage sites and are maintained by the Archchologial Survey of India. The Basilica of Bom Jesus was built by the Jesuits in 1605 that hold the sacred relics of the Goa’s patron saint St. Francis Xavier.
The India government eventually took over the state. On 18th December 1961 the India army brought in its forces along the state’s terrestrial border and begun their conquest to Goa’s liberation that ended 451 years of Portuguese rule as a colonial power. The days is marked as Liberation Day, that was not so long as 48 years ago a few that are still living witnesses of the Portuguese rule.
The Portuguese left a huge mark on the state, it’s influence still being witnessed old ancestral home from that era, the style of food eaten here, the culture and even its traditions. Locals still don’t want to lose their Portuguese roots which is why you still see the culture carried forward even by today’s generation. Popular churches across the state are still seen bearing the ancient Portuguese architecture in across several towns and villages. The natural beauty of the state is immensely seen in its beautiful beaches and countryside’s. People belonging to all types of religions live here in unity, the life is peaceful and happy.
After liberation from the Portuguese, the influence of its culture and way of living continued with the people living here. Plenty of homes built in the 18th and 19th century still present this day display a neo-classic and neo-gothic style to it. The styles of several interior designers in the major cities still incorporate modern architectural designs that have a Portuguese influence. During the rule of the Portuguese locals were allowed to travel abroad to Portugal returning back with influences and ideas that reflected other countries that is still present in many interior designs concept incorporated even today. Professional space experts use local building materials with a strong influence of style that is an adaption and mixture of design elements from the west. One trademark is the use of ‘balcao’s’ (covered porches) that is a signature characteristic seen in many homes in villages across the state. Balcao’s are basically ornamented seating arrangements at the entrance doorways of a house that was used by villagers to sit and chat in the evenings after a hard day’s work. This style in homes gradually branched out with several other design elements from western countries but is still reflected in many homes. Many looking to design their home decor today look for a modern mix of style which although favors the west still finds its influence with the Portuguese culture.
Home decor in local homes has been evolving rapidly due to the state attracting buyers from all parts of the world. The coastal areas have witnessed a huge boom in real estate, a boom that has been steadily growing each year. Northern parts of such as Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Vagator and Anjuna being popular tourist hot-spots have constantly witnessed real estate demand. The decor of these homes reflects more of a style that is based on a party house, being minimalistic and compact. Small studio apartments are very much sort after as they can be used as holiday homes throughout the year.
Some of the styles commonly see across various homes are:
Modern: This decor style relates to simplistic crisp and clean lines that are seen in every design elements. The furniture is compact and the decor scheme uses elements such as metal, glass and wood. The goal with this style is mainly to achieve a sleek setting which is clutter free and compact not involving a ton of accessories and plenty of open space.
Contemporary: An extension to modern designs, contemporary design is style based on the 20th century. These styles go together neck and neck and of plenty interior designers even blend the two together in their work
Minimalist: A highly popular style seen in many beach properties, the minimalistic style further refines modern decor, simplifying decor further. The elements in the space are simple and streamlined and the colours in the scheme are more neutral without it being flamboyant and loud. The lines are ultra clean and is more focused on functionality without being excessive.
Industrial: Industrial designs are rugged inspired from a warehouse or a urban loft. The ruggedness is more towards an unfinished look such as exposed bricks, duct work and even unpolished wood.
There are several challenges faced by designing homes here , the weather being the most important of them all. The state has fierce monsoons and scourging summers and climate conditions need to be considered while planning any room of a house. Extreme weather conditions make for a serious challenge mainly due to what works in the summer months may not necessarily work in the months of winter.
The location of the home is also of importance, the coastal areas demand for more of modern or transitional forms of decor schemes as is seen in many villas along the beach belts of Vagator, Anjuna, etc. Towards the interiors the styles are more rustic, shabby chic and even industrial as seen in the hinterland of the state such as Old Goa, Siolim etc have a very laid-back environment and lifestyle where loud tones will not work well. Towards the cities of Panjim, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco, the styles are very modern and compact mainly due to the limited space available in city.
Not far away from the coastal belt in villages such as Siolim and Assonara, there is a booming market for studio apartments that are built for vacationers looking to stretch their stay for months. These are also very compact spaces and are also available in various styles and themes.
Interior design being a field as broad as it is, there are all types of materials that are easily available here or can be sourced from nearby states and thus a client can be provided with a variety of choices to pick and choose the decor style. Furnishing these condos that are typically small spaces have very tight corners to plan around and getting to know how best a space can be used effectively can be hard. We often recommend clients to first get a look and feel of the finished area before setting out to buy furniture. What you may see on an architectural plan may not necessarily be how it is built in your room or space thus it is important to place items in the space once you spend some time in it. With a limited amount of space to work around get rid of the things you don’t need and focus more on functionality. For eg. Having a breakfast bar instead of a dining table. Storage space is essential in a tight space therefore it is necessary to construct storage units with a lot of thought. Storage units can be concealed as well instead of it adding bulk to the room. Being a team of expert interior designers we have been associated with numerous projects in the home and commercial segment. Reach us to get to know how we can improve your space as per you likes and budgets. Our expertise is interior concepts and designs for all types of apartments, condos, studio apartments, villas, row houses and holiday homes.