I was mindlessly tapping through my Instagram stories when an acquaintance of mine posted pictures of a co-working space she’d been to. Quite intrigued by the spectacular interiors, I decided to do my digging on the internet in search of Vettaths. Their Instagram page took me by surprise. I couldn’t believe that this space was located in Calicut. Apart from Vettaths being a close-knitted co-working space, it’s also a home away from home for tourists.
We sat down with Abhirami Murali, fondly called Ami, the curator of Vettaths to know what it took to create an experience within Vettaths.
Ami, like many of us, was in search of a different calling. Even though her architecture career was starting to take off, she wanted an escape. Deep-down, the explorer within her wanted to seek an adventurous life in an attempt to experience the world outside. But before she decided to take a break from her monotonous life, she dedicated two years to build the “Vettath residence”.
Vettaths is a second home to Ami’s family. The name, in fact, comes from her’s father surname – Dr Murali Vettath. The project was initially called the Vettath Residence but Ami wanted something different. She added an “S”, and it became Vettaths. It was later that she realised that Vettath translated to a place where there is light in Malayalam. The name worked out perfectly.
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It was a house that was initially meant to be designed and built from scratch, which would later be either rented out or utilised as a space for the family to relax. Since Ami was working at an architectural design firm based in Goa, Playgroup Studio, she wanted to take up the designing of Vettaths along with them. She, thus, became one of the project architects for this house as part of Playgroup studio.
Even at this point in time, there wasn’t any plan to turn Vettaths into a multifunctional community space. In 2019, Vettaths stood tall, fresh and new for the first time. Even though it was hidden from the main road, tucked into a cul-de-sac, it stands apart from the rest of the houses close by. So if you’d pass by this small lane, you’d want to have second look at Vettaths. This thoughtfully planned home marked a strong benchmark for what good architectural design is. It was around this time that Ami took a much-needed gap year.
“I didn’t really plan out my trip. I just wanted to experience different cultures and people. So I took a trip to the UK to meet my sister. I went on to stay in various parts of Europe, mainly the Balkans, and spent longer durations in Croatia and Montenegro. I did odd jobs in return for food and stay. This really helped me break my bubble and experience newness. Spending time in a foreign land and fending for myself really taught me a thing or two about the hospitality industry. The thing is, I have always been interested in managing spaces and people. I had two completely different experiences in Croatia and Montenegro, and every moment was a learning for me,” Ami shared.
She further added, “Right before I was planning to travel to San Francisco, COVID came knocking. After spending the lockdown at my sister’s place for three months, I came home to Calicut. Don’t get me wrong, but coming back home to a place I’ve lived for over 17 years of my life seemed overwhelming. The gap year was supposed to have changed me as a person, but with the trip cut short, I was scared to come back not fully experienced. As I was sitting at home, I was in search of inspiration. I had started on a freelance architecture project when I returned, and it was getting hard for me to focus at home. That’s when I would head to Vettaths to clear my mind. Since the house was in need of company and I needed a change in space, I would go there to rejuvenate.”
Over the next couple of months, Ami would bring over a few friends, have a get-together or host a party at Vettaths. Everyone loved the presence that Vettaths provided them with. It was a warm, cosy yet lavish experience. That’s when it struck gold for Ami. She wondered if she could turn the place into an Airbnb and kickstart a new life in it. She shared, “I just wanted to do something with Vettaths, at least something that would cover up the basic expenses of running the space. It was an already unused space so I wanted to bring life to it. I initially wanted it to be an Airbnb, but there was something missing. I had space to bring in a few more people. That’s when the co-working space idea came into being.”
In September 2020, Vettaths opened its doors for working individuals. The co-working space at Vettaths isn’t your typical co-working area. It’s a community-driven space where a limited amount of people can come and be creative. According to Ami, it’s a place to find inspiration and get things started. Not only that, but you also get to interact with people and make new friends along the way. The co-working space at Vettaths is available from 10 am to 6 pm. However, do note that you need to pre-book your slot before you go.
“I am taking it slow. I am yet to learn about managing a space all by myself. So every day is a learning experience for me. Thankfully, I have Huda Ahsan, my intern, who co-works with me on building Vettaths. She is my right hand at the moment. Right now, it’s not about the money I make. It has a lot to do with having people over and making sure they have a good time and feel safe at home,” Ami commented.
If you’re in a celebratory mood and wish to host a beanfeast, they even have a space for your rejoice. Whether it’s a birthday, a bridal shower or just a get together amongst friends, Vettaths has got you covered. Not only that, once in a blue moon, they host events to support local businesses and bring together like-minded individuals. Some of the events curated by Vettaths include Floral Watercolour Workshop, Halloween night, Saturday Night Live, Game Night, Open Mic Night, Film Screening and Soap making workshop.
Head over to their website or DM them on Instagram if you wish to explore the Vettaths experience. You can also stay at Vettaths as they have three very unique and distinct rooms for you to choose from. Don’t forget to drop by this place when you visit Calicut.