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The story of the name "Little Attic"

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

Ancestral home : the architecture experience

“When I think about architecture, images come to my mind. Many of these images are connected with my training and work as an architect. They contain the professional knowledge about architecture that I have gathered over the years. Some of the other images have to do with my childhood. There was a time when I experienced architecture without thinking about it. Sometimes I can almost feel a particular door handle, a piece of metal shaped the back of a spoon”

A way of looking at things, Thinking architecture – by Peter Zumthor.

The first memory I ever had about the word architecture or architect is 28 years ago as a child. I stood there in front of a construction site holding my father’s hand as he was showing me something called a “blue print” of my grandparents’ residence in Madurai.

My father drew me close and told me, “This is a blue print, a plan of the building that is going to be constructed, signed by the architect.”

You cannot build without an architect’s approval and if something happens to the building the architect will be arrested.”

And that was the first time I had heard the word.

My first architectural experience though was not in Madurai.


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In a village that came under Pudukottai district, named Melaisivalpuri , was our ancestral home. Beautiful architecture was always available at home, one that belonged to the community of Chettiyars.

This community then, had a code, among many other, of how they would construct their homes and lived by it.

The stairs to the Attic right behind my ecstatic grannie

Large courtyard homes with social and climatic sensitivity, unique construction techniques are important aspects of a Chettiyar home.

But as a child – no amount of social sensitivity or construction technique would bother you.

At least for me as a child it was intrigue and the experience of an uncommon space that formed this memory. It wasn’t the courtyard, or the tiles with their infinite patters but the tiny yet significant attics at these houses.

Running up those intricate wooden stairs and crouching a little to enter these attics happen to be an unforgettable experience.

To my mother, it was where some of her treasure was, the utensils and the wooden cupboards she brought with her as dowry. To me it was where the new utensils or my next new dinner plate or spoons, besides even some toys, were kept

But to my sub-conscious self it was the first architectural experience and memory

Thus, I came up with the name “Little Attic “? Not quite.

Oh, I dint know I was going to name my architectural photography firm as “little attic “

Attic was one of the words that came up when I was looking to give my firm a name.

And then it sent me down memory lane – so it’s more like the memory that came from the name, rather than the other way around (to be honest)

There are few things I do when I try to arrive on a name

I look for a set of words, that describe what I want to express – which have to be both relevant and sounding catchy. Then I check for domain names, social platform name availability and I finally send them out to friends who end up pointing them into its final phase of selection.


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"Studio M", the "Blue motif" and "Saltbox" (don’t even ask) are some names that reached that last round. Some names come from logical reasoning and some for no reason at all.

Like for instance, “Studio M” simply comes from the first letter of my name while “Saltbox” just sounded cool? (don’t judge! you order from “Zomato” and “Swiggy” – both are silly)

Anyway, as a result of a small poll amongst friends and weighing them against domain availabilities among other things – the name “Little Attic” was so easily ahead in the race but I loved “Blue Motif” equally.

So how did I decide then? I did the most grown up, yet sentimental thing and arrived on the final name.

PS. the final name was arrived in the most traditional way possible. I wrote the names down in little slips of paper – took it to the puja room, did a whole lottery picking moment and then picked out the name (Best of three, of course)

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