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Mixing business and pleasure

Mixing business and pleasure
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First Published: Thu, Nov 20 2008. 05 54 AM IST

Updated: Wed, Dec 10 2008. 07 15 PM IST
Manufacturers of largely industrial products, the DP Jindal Group, a family-run conglomerate, sought to integrate key employees across locations in a single space for the first time in 2007. Family members were keen to capitalize on the opportunity to physically manifest progressiveness. “We wanted the office to be as comfortable as possible, with a modern look,” explains Saket Jindal, the managing director of group flagship Maharashtra Stainless.
MODERATING SIZE AND SCALE
The building, although spacious, came with an unwieldy set of proportions, including an oversized courtyard, creating a well in the building.
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“Given the sheer scale of the building, we planned the spaces in such a way (as) to maintain symmetry and fluidity,” says Morphogenesis co-founder Sonali Rastogi. Overwhelmingly large and open spaces were collapsed into smaller and more easily negotiated areas—workstations, closed meeting rooms and semi-private spaces to entertain, interact and relax—all without compromising the generous proportions or magnitude.
INFORMAL WORK/SOCIAL SPACES
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More than half the office space has been devoted to non-workstation areas, as the Jindals wanted to go beyond fixed desks and closed doors. Rastogi endorses this view of modern work patterns, adding that “offices are social spaces now, and no longer sterile”. Close observation of the company’s existing work practices allowed space to be planned based on real, not merely intended, uses: informal lounges for family members and employees; tactically positioned armchairs for impromptu discussions; and a vast cafeteria which doubles up as a venue for large gatherings.
ART IN THE HEART OF AN OFFICE
The elegant interiors include brightly upholstered furniture in striking shapes and arrangements, offsetting the muted hues of vertical and horizontal surfaces. An elaborately crafted false ceiling undulates over the reception area and continues across the cafeteria and presentation or meeting spaces, adding texture to modulate the building’s immense volume and bind together diverse parts of the office.
Formal areas are balanced by display spaces for the family’s extensive collection of contemporary art, providing what Rastogi calls “a parallel gallery experience”.
Even in purely functional spaces such as the cafeteria, the choice of interesting light fixtures draws attention.
“The new ambience has been a very motivating factor. Productivity has gone up, and levels of interaction and personal well-being have increased,” claims Jindal. Given the ample space for employees to stretch their legs as well as imaginations, he may just have a point.
FACT FILE
The project: Corporate office for DP Jindal Group, Gurgaon.
The designer: Morphogenesis, New Delhi.
The area: 50,000 sq. ft (of which Morphogenesis designed 35,800 sq. ft).
The cost: Rs15-20 crore (approx.) for building and interior fit-out.
PHOTOS
1: An arresting sandstone panel, handcarved by Anjali Wakankar and Sanjib Chatterjee of the design firm Kaaru, complements an installation shaped like a boat in the reception area.
2: This lounge area is one of a series of semi-enclosed cabins available for employees to meet, greet or brainstorm. The furniture is informal and contemporary.
3: Space across floors has been broken up in ways that accord privacy without closing in inhabitants or pinning a space down to a single, formal function. Here a conference room, meeting space and lounge sit across from each other—separate, yet just around the corner.
4: Contemporary furniture and lighting solutions make the informal half of this executive office look like a luxurious den or part of a hotel suite.
5: The spacious cafeteria can also function as a presentation area and meeting room, combining work and socialization seamlessly.
Photographs courtesy Amit Pasricha and Morphogenesis
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First Published: Thu, Nov 20 2008. 05 54 AM IST