Virtual World | November 2011
Breaking the Law!
Architects Kapil Aggarwal and Nikhil Kant break the boundaries of design and focus on materials to create a statement in this Delhi based law office.
The very thought of a law office evokes elegant, yet staid images of polished wooden desks, soft plush leather chairs, and rows and rows of thick, leather bound law journals in the backdrop. But, architects Kapil Aggarwal and Nikhil Kant, Principal Architects, Spaces Architects, have broken this stereotype to create a modern office that borrows its statement from innovative materials and design.
"The idea was to have an open office with a contemporary design. The clients wanted to include a reception area, a conference room with a main cabin, three individual manager cabins and rooms for seven consultants with three supporting staff members across the entire 2,200 sq ft," informs Aggarwal. Accordingly, the office has been divided into various well demarcated sections that flow into each other.
In the reception area, the focus is on the multiple rectangular white panels suspended from above with tensile wires. The table below is bathed in a deep blue light emanating from the ceiling. The table itself is an attention catcher. Made of bison panel, its front glass panel is defined by a back lit, leaf cut design at the bottom, which is reflected on the dark floor. A bright red sofa stands out against the back lit onyx partition, adding vibrancy to the space. The other elements and lights here are mellow in terms of texture and lighting, allowing the emphasis to remain on these focal design elements.
The glass partition with abstract niches in the reception lends a peek into the conference room. The ceiling here is in veneer, with abstract beams suspended and lit from top. The conference room is separated from the main cabin by a single sliding door. In the cabin, perforated wooden panels with a back lit acrylic sheet create a statement in confluence with the white Corian table. Moving out, an interesting formation of three curving teak beams flanks the open workstation on one side. Diagonally behind this is a storage cabinet the shape of which resembles randomly stacked hexagonal boxes. The entire office blends in with the open layout, and the abstract elements emphasise the contemporary concept.
Of colour and curves
While the office appears to be a confluence of colours, Aggarwal refutes this perception saying, "In fact, the use of colour here was rather restricted. Emphasis was more on the material and design. We have experimented with different shades of veneers and textures, and colour has been used to accentuate these." For instance, the blue tone in the reception has been created with diffused light; similarly, a bright abstract painting in the corridor warms up the space, as does the greenish wallpaper on the rear wall of the workstations. And, dull red glass slabs break the monotony of the woody tones in the conference room. The colour scheme is thus deliberate, yet subtle.
Curves are another predominant design element in this office. The curvy red sofas in the reception complement the green curved partition opposite it. Similarly, an elliptical back lit partition is the main focus in the corridor. It is interspersed with a leaf pattern which, incidentally, has been used throughout the space in various elements to lend a sense of continuity.
Lighting is used to characterise the different areas of the office. It plays an important defining role as shades of light move from blue lighting over the reception, to yellow in the coves, to day lighting in the work space. The light fixtures in the open office are placed in an abstract pattern of rectangular panels, creating an attractive composition. Similarly, the ceiling in the conference room is partially veneer clad with suspended panels creating cove lighting. In the main cabin, a pattern of backlit perforated panels and frosted backlit glass, along with the three hanging lights above the workstation outside, form an intriguing mix of concepts.
"For us, the USP of the design is the combination of spaces that have been given their own identity with the various materials and lighting that define them. The office is like a painting with different forms and colours but with each element adding meaning to the others," muses Aggarwal.
While he believes that one of the biggest challenges was to connect every space to create a perfect composition and focus, it is evident that the success of his effort lies in the effortless coherence of the design!
Text: Shanti Padukone
Photos: Akhil Bakshi
Meet the architects
Kapil Aggarwal and Nikhil Kant
Firm: Spaces Architects, formed in 1999.
Firm specialisation: Architecture and interiors.
Design philosophy: To reinvent ourselves everyday and not to follow any style.
Philosophy towards life: To learn and excel from life's experiences.
Favourite architect/Designer: Charles Correa and Zaha Hadid.
New Delhi-110 029.
Mob: (0)93113 91122/21.
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