Architects Jasleen and Milind Changani of BSNA Studio push the envelope of contextual design a little further and create an office space that beautifully integrates the raw and the refined.
Brick and mortar and a fabulously successful attempt to turn reality into near surreal. Using building materials in their rawest form to create a functional space that is also aesthetic and a virtual feast for the eyes couldn´t have been particularly easy. But walk into BNSA Studio, the homing ground of talented architects Jasleen and Milind Changani that is housed in an old industrial complex and get ready to be surprised. Using exposed brick, concrete, black river washed kadappa, teak wood and glass as their main tools, the duo have created a design that is not just a showcase of their capabilities but also genuinely unique.
The Non-Cosmetic Look
Since most of BNSA´s clients are builders and developers, the design materials are completely in context to the work that they do. Also, smart usage of existing material pops up as various design elements through the design. Says Jasleen, ¨When it comes to our work, we like to be as contextual as we can, and that´s the philosophy we have used in the design of the office too. We love being architects and we wanted to go down to the basics and use materials that reflect what we do. For the flooring for instance, I have used river washed kadappa, the most basic Indian stone.¨
Some Old, Some New
Wood salvaged from the site has been used to make everything from the staircases, to the mezzanine floor and the sliding library ladder, drawers and handles. A mammoth 12 ft door, part of which is also salvaged from the original door of the previous office, opens up to the operations section of the office that includes the staff seating and a small meeting area for suppliers. Cantilevered treads from the central MS stringer of the staircase connects the two levels of the workstation areas. Beautiful wooden rafters, again old wood, make up the ceiling in the area under the mezzanine floor lending it a beautiful finish. In the meeting areas colourful pop art stools are randomly kept adding radiance to a wood dominated space.
From the entrance of the office to the Principals´ two cabins, is a straight walk. To the left is Milind´s cabin. Larger of the two, this also has a conference table with a black tubular truss design. The plastering of the walls has been piped to reveal the old masonry brickwork of the original walls, making it a perfect backdrop for design conversations at the conference table. The pivot jointed truss on one side of the conference table allows for a clear span to the vertical concrete fin on the other. Such architectural details add style and class to the interiors.
Separating the cabin from the passage is a 20 feet tall glass partition, which by the bye, took 40 men to install! This overlooks the waiting area in the passage. Another eye-grab, with its sculpted wood sofa, a New York artwork backing it and an Ikea light in white adding attitude to the ambience.
Playhouse in the Den
It´s Jasleen´s cabin though, at the right end of the passage designed along the single large window in the office that makes for some awestruck viewing and design analysis. The architect duo have a daughter who often accompanies them to their office and spends long hours in its confines. So, a distinct addition was made for their six-year-old in Jasleen´s cabin.
A playhouse designed in pine wood. Says Jasleen, ¨Being a working mother, I always wanted my daughter close to me but I needed something to tempt her into accompanying me to work. What better than a playhouse where she can sit and read, take a catnap or play with a friend. Fold-out doors give privacy to the child while allowing for the space to gain more formality when required.¨
Besides, as one enters Jasleen´s cabin, it´s her desk that attracts attention. A concrete table with an ´unfinished´ looks extends beyond the glass and towards the large banyan tree outside. Inside, on Jasleen´s desk, are small brass accessories, gifts from her mentor. Neat, attractive and creative.
LED lights have been used throughout the office, with customised brass table lamps at every staffer´s desk that rotate 180 degrees. Gorgeous wooden chandeliers light up the meeting space near the entrance. The multi-faceted lighting arrangement adds vibrancy and personality to the décor. Gold leafed contemporary chandeliers above the conference complement the custom-made brass ceiling light fittings used throughout the office and accentuate the raw look.
Such gorgeous use of the raw elements of construction!
Total Area: 1300 sq ft
Text: Sumisha Gilotra
photos: Indrajit Sathe
Meet the architects
Jasleen and Milind Changani
Firm: B N Shah and Associates & Studio C founded in 2007.
Firm specialisation: Architecture and liaisoning.
Design philosophy: Creating design that celebrates life.
Philosophy towards life: Design love and let love design.
Favourite architect/Designer: Architects Louis Kahn, Geoffery Bawa & Santiago Calatrava.
BN Shah & Associates, Studio C, 316, Wadala Udhyog Bhavan, Naigaon Cross Road, Wadala East, Mumbai 400 031.