Architect Ashish Gupta achieves a fine balance between being discreet and stylish in this minimalist office space.
Designing a 2,000 sq ft office space for an established real estate developer whose workforce is predominantly in the middle-age bracket requires a certain subtle sensibility. "My clients, the 40-something Deole Bros, wanted an office that was impressive, yet different from anything seen in the Ghatkopar-Chembur belt. They wanted a non-jazzy, minimal décor," says Ashish Gupta of Beyond Design. From this brief emerged a design that is spectacular yet understated at the same time.
Slice of Heaven
Being developers, the clients had themselves built the building which was to house their new office. Gupta, who had been on-board right from the foundation stage, lobbied for the office to be placed on the top storey. "I am passionate about designing roof-top offices and was keen on a skylight. In fact, I put it down as one of the pre-requisites for taking up the project," laughs Gupta.
The skylight draws attention as soon as one enters the 14 ft reception area through a gigantic door. The massive door imparts a feeling of grandeur which is further heightened by an 18 ft floor-to-ceiling height at the top-most point of the skylight. This is, surely, the most impressive feature of this office.
For flooring and wall treatment, classic materials like white and statuario marble and exotic veneers have been preferred over flashier counterparts like onyx and dark veneers. Taking minimalism seriously, the colour white dominates the pallete, the expanse punctuated by exotic veneers and marbles (like wenge laminate, Mahogany veneer, Serpenzante and Marquina marble).
The minimalist backdrop has been skillfully enhanced without any extraneous embellishments. For instance, a brown suede seater sports a headrest that runs all the way up to a height of 10 ft; the walls of the circular-shaped conference room (seen behind the Statuario marble reception desk) have been treated with a darker veneer, making for a dramatic impact. Even the black glass and crystal chandelier hanging from the centre of the skylight is the singular light fixture there, a necessity that also enhances the aesthetics of the space.
The skylight, in addition to being an offbeat architectural feature, also provides a flood of natural lighting for the reception. Thus, the architect has been able to avoid excessive artificial lighting in the reception, which is usually the most brightly lit area in any office. Custom-made LEDs are the staple lighting option used throughout the space, except in the two chandeliers (one in the conference room and the other in the reception) which use CFLs. The lighting design produces a 40 per cent saving in power bills. More environmental sensitivity is implemented by running the entire air-conditioning on a VRV system as opposed to centralised air-conditioning, thereby allowing it to be turned off in any room/s when not in use.
The work area, devoid of box-like cubicles, almost comes across as a visual treat. "It's an open flow design that allows staff the flexibility to move and see each other without a barrier," says Gupta. Since the nature of work requires sketching on charts, pouring over blueprints etc, the desks are extra long and the space beneath them wide enough for storage of AO size sheets.
Ample concealed storage underneath the photo copier machine, printers etc, makes the workstation a clutter-free zone. The central pillar supports the mezzanine, which is an enclosed utility space housing a chart table, a separate counter for amino print-outs and a dining table.
God is in the Details
Though the general office space is open, the two directors of the firm have privacy in cabins that run parallel to each other. Near these cabins Gupta has created a small niche and turned it into a dry garden. Not only does it fulfill its primary purpose as a buffer but also adds a green touch to the otherwise inorganic environment.
Though the cabins have been identically designed, the architect has given priority to individual tastes. For instance, a deep brown upholstered couch has been placed in the office of the director who is fond of power napping. Another noteworthy design feature is the deliberately carved circular conference room that allows uninterrupted movement around the reception desk.
Despite a simple palette, the project stands out for its accent on height, conscious design and, of course, for its dramatic skylight.
- Firm: BEYONDESIGN founded in 2003.
- Firm specialisation: Lifestyle architecture, roof top offices, villas, theme restaurants, urban bungalow interiors, yacht styling, yacht interiors.
- Design philosophy: Listen to the clients
- Favourite designer/architect: Indian Architect Nozer Wadia and international yacht architect Terence Disdale.
Text: Marina Correa
Photos Courtesy: Beyond Design
Beyond Design, Akruti CHS, N>S> Phadke Marg, Near East West flyover, Andheri West, Mumbai-400 069.Mobile: (O)98213 73300 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.beyondesign.co.in