Hard-nosed corporates may shy away from wearing their values on their sleeves, but this doesn't keep a few from splashing them across their walls. Bengaluru-based RC Architecture demonstrates how corporate design can perpetuate organisational belief systems.
In a world obsessed with signature styles, RC Architecture candidly confesses to having none. “Each client has a different idea. When they speak, we just listen. Then we go ahead and clothe that vision as best as we can,” says Principal Architect George John.
Such simple philosophies can yield the most spectacular results. Recognised for their cutting edge, technology driven corporate designs, each project undertaken by this Bengaluru-based firm stands distinctively apart from the next. “From designing a work space straight out of the sets of Hollywood, dabbling with futuristic ‘workpods’, to bringing a red bus off the streets of London into an office library area, we’ve done it all,” says John.
RC Architecture scoffs at stereotype. “We need to fashion spaces around people rather than plug people into pre-conceived spaces,” says the architect. Hence, when a renowned financial MNC, also known to put people first, offered them 2.6 lakh sq ft spread across 10 towering floors to whip up the spectacular, they jumped at the opportunity.
Capgemini, the clients, were very clear on the design brief for their office in Bengaluru. They wanted each of their offices to live and breathe a set of values close to their heart. Trust, team work, honesty and responsibility towards the environment all figured in the firm's core belief system. This was now to find pride of place on ceilings and walls in bright corporate colours; but more importantly, it was to be infused into the busy cubicles of each employee.
That the designers have met this brief with elan is evident in the outcome. The main reception on the ground floor strikes one as being remarkably simple in design. A spattering of low back furniture in leatherite finishes is propped up on an otherwise sparse but spacious lobby. Behind the clean-lined minimalist reception table is a tall panel with a repetitive pattern in lotus motifs punched into it – “A contemporary take on the traditional,” explains John.
Take the elevator up to the third floor and the ambience turns visibly cheerier. The interview lobby has been deliberately punctured with a skylight and bright blue MDF paneling to lend a more upbeat, energetic hue to the setting. The sitting spaces are deliberately informal, bringing together candidates and providing a casual space to share notes as they wait. “We stayed away from staid metal chairs and opted for interesting designs in low-settees instead,” says John.
Ceiling mounted LEDs take on a peculiar “branching tree pattern” suggesting growth and empowerment. Even the interview rooms are covered in a rash of accents that whisper the company’s core values as prospective employees are interrogated.
The library that lies ahead is a curious blend of form and function. “We fused the solemness associated with serious reading spaces with the spirited take-it-easy attitude of a lounging area,” says John. Wood finishes were paired with contemporary rockers and apple green paneling with rich, dark book shelves.
All breakout spaces are lined with indoor plant arrangements to reaffirm the client's commitment to the environment. Where an actual arrangement is not possible, strong suggestions are made. Take the pantry, for example. With a predominantly green palette in seating, an awareness wall choc-a-bloc with tidbits about the environment and a see-through wall pattern that represents world vegetation belts, the company's strong environmental policy is drawn into lunch breaks and coffee stops. A linear cell ceiling overhead creates a feeling of space in a comparatively smaller recreation area.
Creativity at Work
The actual workspaces greet you with an interesting “crumpled” effect on wall claddings, flanked on either side by coloured glass etched with letters that spell out one of the firm's core values. Breakout spaces have been deliberately designed as flowing curves in contrasting hues that break the monotony of work desks.
An interesting pattern of geometric shapes flows along the carpet, across the wall and into the light hangings on the ceiling. “Circles create an interesting visual break, yet seamlessly run through all dimensions of space,” says John. The green design extends into the corridors, where bamboo arrangements enclosed in glass walls provide the backdrop for corridor discussions and office gossip.
Corridors of Power
The board room is perched high above, on the 10th floor. Resplendent in plush leather and wood finishes, it sets the perfect stage for the strategising and planning that must happen here. Equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia and video conference equipment, this space exudes an exclusivity that is accessed by a privileged few.
“Beyond the myriad presentations, the interiors were meant to reinforce the branding and corporate image of Capgemini and showcase its commitment to values and the environment. Smart technology and careful selection of material ensured the highest energy efficiency, with no compromise on aesthetics,” says John.
Smart, sensitive and sassy, its definitely a design to lust for!
Project Size: 2.6 lakh sq ft
Approximate Cost: Rs 1,500/sq ft
- Firm name and when was it founded: RC Architecture founded in 1996.
- Firm specialisation: Corporate facilities.
- Design philosophy in one sentence: We believe in cutting edge design, speed, quality and understand the importance of stretching it beyond boundaries.
- Philosophy towards life: Stay sensitive to culture, technology, energy and human behaviour.
- Favourite designer/architect: Charles Correa and Zaha Hadid.
Text: Ashwin Venkatesh
Photos Courtesy: RC Architecture
Contact: RC Architecture, 5, Myrtle Lane, Richmond Town, Bengaluru-560 025. Tel: 080-2223 5751, 080-4124 0086. E-mail: email@example.com