Bookmyshow.com’s (BMS’s) office in Mumbai is nothing like the cookie-cutter call centres that first come to mind when you think of the cinema and entertainment ticketing website. That image is best reserved for its service centres; the corporate office is the company’s way of paying tribute to its biggest cash cow, cinema.

Designed by the year-old architecture and design firm Patch Design Studio, the BMS headquarters, located in a bungalow in a quiet by-lane in Juhu Scheme, is a playground-style workplace. The reception desk is designed to resemble a swish box office, flooring for the staircase and lounge areas are painted “red carpet" red and posters of Hindi film blockbusters line the entrance.

Excluding small renovations and quick fixes, BMS’s office had remained unchanged for nearly a decade. For its big overhaul this February, Ashish Hemrajani, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd (the company that owns BMS), wanted to shed the corporate look for something more relaxed.

Polished bison boards make up the partition wall for the conference room and workstations
Polished bison boards make up the partition wall for the conference room and workstations

Though Patch Design Studio built and designed the OML office from scratch last year and its founder and architect Ipsit Patel also worked on the café next door while working at The Busride Design Studio, there was no easy way to replicate their rusted and crusted industrial look at BMS’s quaint cottage. Patel and his partner Rika Chaudhry were also tasked to fit an extra conference room—a garage outside the office was used for client meetings before the renovation—while maintaining the existing number of workstations.

According to the company’s human resources head, Payal Khan, over 45 employees from the business development, finance, accounts, corporate sales, and events and operations teams work from their personal workstations or bean bags and brainstorm in the outdoor patio, with fixed, garden-style brick-and-granite seating.

By breaking down the original, bulky staircase, the design firm not only managed to fit in a cosy meeting room next to the reception but also carved out a mini-library on the mezzanine space above it. Rather than cramping the conference area with just chairs that require additional room to move around, Patel opted for a long wooden bench that can accommodate up to five people and a polished rubber wood table with plumbing pipes on trolley castors for legs.

“The great thing about the table is that it was quick and easy to assemble without any complicated carpentry and it can be moved in and out of the room whenever needed," says Patel. The architect-designers were also able to incorporate the industrial chic look BMS wanted by using other unconventional materials like bison boards and wire glass as wall partitions. Patel says: “Like at Café Zoe and OML, we used the same rustic materials but gave them a more finished look with smooth polishing and stylish grooves and patterns."

A mini-library above the conference room

Despite working with a limited area, a demanding brief and challenging materials, the Patch Design Studio has ensured that nearly every element in the BMS office serves an important function. Just when we thought we had exposed all the hidden and multi-purpose fixtures at the office, we discovered a small pull-out seat camouflaged in a partition wall, that can be used both in the waiting area and the CEO’s cabin.

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