A film-maker’s office and studio, Chennai
Architects: Modarchs Consultants, Chennai
Project area (completed structure): 3,000 sq. ft
Cost of makeover (approx): Rs65 lakh, including furniture, furnishings and accessories
The philosophy that structural devices can be design features in themselves is echoed in both projects on this page. Paul Jacobs, co-founder of Chennai-based architectural practice Modarchs, said the brief for film-maker Rajiv Menon’s office and studio was to design it with “drama, lighting and an industrial aesthetic”.
The redesign process
A narrow building and a need for unbroken floors prompted the design of a single stainless-steel staircase connecting all levels. Jacobs said this “industrial feel but tech-minimalist look”, together with minimal wastage of space, became the “focus feature” of the office—it functioned both as physical connector and visual feature in the neutral and monochromatic interiors.
Photograph: Jayan Warrier
The choice and placement of materials strongly complemented the bare-bones approach. Different materials were used in the brick wall, for the treads of the staircase, in the chequered and striated flooring, and in the window grilles. Yet by using just two colours—white and grey—and repeating the symmetry through different scales and in measured modules, the visual linearity of the space was maintained.
Click here to see another picture of the office. (Photograph: Jayan Warrier)
Orix Auto Finance, Mumbai
Architects: S+PS, Mumbai
Project area (completed structure): 30,000 sq. ft
Cost of makeover (approx.): Rs4.34 crore, including furniture, furnishings and accessories
In 1998, architectural practice S+PS converted a plastics factory shed in Mumbai into an office for Orix Auto Finance, an auto services company. The brief from the client was to establish an identity independent of its Japanese parent company. The CEO endorsed the approach towards lean industrial design, insisting that white-collar employees upstairs should remain aware of the vital role of the blue-collar auto maintenance staff, working below the corporate office.
Photograph: Vinesh Gandhi
For the building plan of the Orix Auto Financi office, click here
To see a model of the Orix office click here (Photograph: Vinesh Gandhi)
The redesign process
After stripping the shed to its bare bones, S+PS inserted three interior architectural devices—a “totemic” inverted cone, a walkway and a suspended staircase. “We wanted to create volumes within the volume of a large space,” said Pinkish Shah, co-founder of S+PS. “We knew the spaces would change over time, but these three structures would remain emblematic objects. Our design enabled the company to discover an identity that then became replicable across cities.” Bold colours and a simple palette of materials (metal for new structures, modular steel furniture, inexpensive lighting and tiles) resulted in a contemporary aesthetic that has successfully interpreted its context without the need for much in the way of embellishments.
Click here to see another picture of the Orix office
To read our previous stories on office design click here