Our office is our identity.’ This catchphrase is all too familiar to anyone given the task of designing an office space apt for employees and impressive for visitors.

For creatively driven businesses such as advertising agencies or companies selling branded consumer products, inspiration for branding a workspace is abundant. Sandeep Khosla’s office design for Nike (see Page 12) is an excellent example of how brand-positioning can be extended into a physical environment. But, say, you are a BPO, or an insurance company: How does the professional conceive a look that is lively and yet relevant to your industry? Signage and graphic elements are favourite devices. Cost-effective and versatile, they can provide creative flexibility to the most mundane workplace.

Signs of the times

Signage comes in many shapes and sizes, and is one of the most potent tools for corporate communication.

GlaxoSmithKline’s office in Mumbai

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline used its “Healthy Heart" logo in strong red, orange and yellow as inspiration for its Mumbai office. Designers Rajiv Shroff Associates treated each floor differently, planning departments, workspaces and utilities in a manner that broke up the once overly compartmentalized space. By holistically colour-coding vertical and horizontal surfaces, including flooring, workstations and walls, the corporate identity was established while leveraging existing architectural features and furniture, yet avoiding a uncomfortably gaudy environment.

Brighten up the BPO

The sprawling area of a large BPO can become terribly monotonous for employees. Kapadia Associates demonstrate that graphic elements can provide visual relief without resorting to overly bright colours, which may be painful or distracting.

Cognizant Technology Solutions’ office in Chennai

A different identity

Graphic elements need not be just aesthetic; they can also educate or provoke thought and conversation. Varsha & Pradeep’s design for IT company Cognizant Technology Solutions in Chennai included 200 “text panels" of poetry, literature and local folklore. These were intended as “zones for contemplation" where employees could take a break and find inspiration—an innovative alternative to the water cooler—as well as a clever device to distinguish the company from competitors in the industry.

MY space

Eticentre: A BPO office in Mumbai

UK-based insurance company Churchill came up with an innovative solution for its Indian back office in Gurgaon, in association with architects SWBI: personalization within allotted boundaries. Employees were encouraged to display photographs, accessories and trophies —within display systems for each cluster of workstations.

Aparna Piramal Raje is director, BP Ergo. Radhika Desai is a Mumbai-based interior architect.

Also Read previous Workscapes columns at www.livemint.com/workscapes

Write to us at workscapes@livemint.com