A refurbished office for a four-generation family business, by Utopia Designs and Urbanscape Architects
On Canal Road, one of Surat’s arteries, an eight-story building stands tall. It has no columns or singular spaces, only a flexible and dynamic layout that counterbalances the density of the surrounding business district. Sangini House, the headquarters of the main construction company, Sangini Group, is something of a landmark in the real estate epicenter of Surat. “The workplace marks the genesis of a larger residential and commercial habitat that will envelop the existing structure. This is a collaboration between Utopia Designs and Urbanscape Architects, ”explains Dinesh Panwar, Principal Architect at Urbanscape Architects.
“The design intention was to create a dynamic built volume that would provide a welcoming presence for the visitor. As a result, the structure sports cantilevered floor plates that challenge the conventional grid structure, post-tensioned sweeping floors and exposed concrete walls of a structural nature, ”says Panwar. Stone, with three-dimensional perforations, coats the core of the building, serving as a provocative shield against the harsh southern sunlight. “The entrance is where the inner and outer realms collide. Natural light prevails, attenuating the scale of the space by optically cropping three floors. We still have a warmer, more accessible and composed space ”, explains Panwar.
An all-glass office designed like a vacation home, by Hiren Patel Architects
Glass Boxes – if the first thing you are reminded of is Mies Van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, Hiren Patel of Hiren Patel Architects won’t agree with the resemblance. “A house in a glass box is not psychologically comfortable. People are likely to put up curtains and never open most of them, ”he says. “In my project, the concept works because the space is an office. Perhaps a more likely source of inspiration for Patel would be the home of Philip Johnson. All the boxes are certainly ticked – a walk through the greenery from the main gate to the built structure, the vast exercise in transparency, the art and sculpture exhibition, a bathroom with curved walls and the “wallpaper” of landscaping, as Johnson himself called it it. Whether “Amoeba” wears Mies or Johnson undertones, Patel is certainly in good company here. While Mies is renowned for the “less is more” epiphany of modern architecture, Johnson has cemented his credentials with the Oscar for architecture, the Pritzker. “Situated on a 10,000 square meter plot, the structure built in Surat has a footprint of only 15% of the site. It’s not very often that we are able to work with this ratio, ”Patel explains. Nicknamed “Amoeba” because of the flowing organic shape of the massive roof, the structure is made up of four discreet glass boxes, connected by a central open-air courtyard.
A Gujarat office designed as a rooftop lounge, by Inclined Studio
Each office should be designed in such a way that it creates a natural environment that encourages high productivity and a friendly atmosphere. This 600-square-foot workspace for Maruti’s commercial office in Kadi, Gujarat, designed by architect Vidhi Patel of Inclined Studio, keeps those same ideas front and center. “Customers wanted the office to be spacious and minimalist. In order to give this formal and modern touch to the space, materials such as wood, glass, metal have been introduced. The use of bright colors in the upholstery made the space more dynamic and inviting, ”she says. Previously, most office meetings were informal, with group discussions taking place on a mattress. Keeping this practicality and ambiance intact, the new office space has been furnished with low sofas in bold hues. Another highlight of the design is vertical wood panels. It not only gives the office a warm and inviting look, but also conceals the entrance to utility areas like the pantry and storage room. The furniture is also designed in wood to keep the atmosphere warm and inviting.
Ahmedabad office designed in response to Covid-19 restrictions, by Skeleton Design
The post-pandemic architecture has not only changed the world of design, but has reformatted the business and lifestyle of users. While all of this has been prolifically documented by design journals in residential and office projects, the pandemic has prompted factory owners to consider hygiene and health in the design of industrial estates that provide a safe working culture for warehouse workers and ensure that production is not interrupted. Varnika Components, a capacitor production cartel in Ahmedabad, was sensitive to this crucial design change. The renovation of this 1,675 square meter office-factory, located in an industrial park between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, was completed in January 2021 by the architectural duo Saumil Patel and Prashant Trivedi of Squelette Design. The architects visualized the design in such a way that the architecture and interiors as well as all decorative elements remain exposed to create an abstract archetype of the space. A clear and critical image through simple shapes favored by the geometry of the nested cubes juxtaposed to each other, forms a better arrangement of the space and an elevation to the interior space. The structural elements have been intentionally kept bare to define the space inside. “We tried to keep the original nested shapes by merging the interior spaces with the materials themselves, with the idea of masking,” explains Trivedi. The office is designed with a very informal approach, unusual for corporate culture while still meeting the demand for space. The spaces fit together visually but are functionally separate. Interiors are carefully designed using wood, stone, glass, brass and gray stucco, giving the whole space an atmosphere that is both industrial and chic.