Jayesh Shah creates a jewel of an office for a diamond merchant in Mumbai.
A diamond merchant's office has to denote the class his product represents and cannot do so without paying attention to detail, because that's the defining trait of the business. Natural light and white surfaces are a basic requirement in such an office. With this in mind, Architect Jayesh Shah has designed this office at the new jewellery market at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai for a client who has moved here from his earlier location at Opera house.
The front end of the corporate office is where all the visitors come and business happens. The space had to be designed such as to exude the company's status through a simple and transparent style. Thus, breaking the mould of closed inward looking jewellery merchant offices, this office uses full length glass through and through. "Since a couple of offices were combined, the layout of the office was unusual and the depth was huge. To combat this and still ensure that natural light reaches all desks, we created a central glass island that houses the larger rooms. The rest of the departments were created around it. With this, one can see the end of the office from the entrance itself and it gives a glimpse of the volume of the space," says Shah.
Creating the look
"It was important to use white because other colours would reflect on the diamond making it difficult to judge the quality of the stone. However, to avoid lending the space a clinical feel, we have used veneer in spaces where work is not the primary activity," shares Shah. In the spaces where white was necessary, he has used artwork to break the monotony of all-white interiors.
Since a majority of the brand's clients are foreigners, an international, eclectic look was chosen to increase their comfort. However, subtle Indian touches here and there add richness to the design. These elements include dhurries, large stone sculptures at the reception lobby, jaalis behind the reception table, jaali paterns on the vinyl prints stuck on glass, furnishings and artefacts in the executive lounge, etc. "The highlight of the reception is the large sandstone carved sculptures we have placed in large niches. They are gold-leafed and framed in Corian," shares Shah.
White has been used in different textures and materials such as white Corian, back painted glass, poly coating and leather, so a big challenge in the design was to ensure that the various finishes of white used matched and blended well with each other.
In terms of space planning, security was of utmost importance, so one meeting room was created that has direct access from the reception and is open for all visitors. For someone to enter the main office area, there is access control.
This meeting room is highlighted with gold and silver stools in a hand-beaten texture that lend a sense of oomph, while the jaali adds an ethnic touch. Inside, the cabins are all placed near the window with all white interiors and a grey granite strip running through the length and connecting the cabins, intersected by the glass partitions.
At the corner of the office, near the executive cabins, is an executive lounge. It is the only space that uses some colour. Low seating, a puja room, bright coloured accessories and cushions over wooden flooring make this space a vivid oasis in the white desert!
Another highlight in the office is the stairway that connects to the level below; the lower level accommodates all the workers who sort and check the diamonds. The stairway is a cylinder clad in veneer with gorgeous drop lights from Klove lending a sculptural look. This staircase, visible from the main working area, acts as a good backdrop to the space.
With so many interesting elements, Shah has come up with a gem of a design!
Total Area: 11,000 sq ft
Total Cost: Rs 10 crore
Principal Architect: Jayesh Shah
Designers: Pratik Navadia and Vicky Chauhan
HVAC Consultant: Enova
Electrical Consultant: Avinash Raj & Associates
Plumbing Consultant: John Mech-El Technologies
Text: Sumisha Arora
Photos: Prashant Bhatt
Meet the designer: Jayesh Shah
Firm: Jayesh shah Architects founded in 1994.
Firm specialisation: Architecture & interior design
Design philosophy: Form follows function.
Favourite architect/Designer: Talati & Panthaky, Richard Meier, Harry Seidler, Zaha Hadid
Jayesh Shah Architects, 623/624, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Main Road, Mumbai - 400 034. Tel: 022-6662 4035/6. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org