An urban work story
Urbanscape make themselves an interactive workspace in New Delhi
The design of the studio for Urbanscape took shape with a designer’s proclivity to chart his own path and a resident’s sense of nostalgia. Establishing the need for continuity, the eccentric setting of Shahpurjat, an urban village in Delhi, packs a motley of spaces, figures and their interactions. Complementing this eccentricity, the studio space offers a sense of continuity along the street: housing a commercial store and steps to seat passers-by along the storefront – which lends way to a central entry point for the architectural office above.
Oriented towards the north-east direction, the façade is crafted in exposed burnt brick. Aligning itself towards the Alstonia tree at the front, the tree visually dissects the site into two equal halves. Acknowledging the strong presence of the tree, the studio is designed to visually integrate it across all floors. The existing site allowed for a small floor-plate which was used expediently, rather than being seen as a deterrent. An opening cutting across all floors enables cross-over of information, music, and ideas, thereby enabling appreciation of the human scale and interactions – tying together the functions and operations within the studio.
The ground floor is appropriated as a commercial fashion store named Kushal’s. Establishing itself as the entrance, the upper ground floor houses the reception area, a lounge, a conference room, and a dining area for the staff. One enters the studio via a uniquely designed staircase, done in stone and concrete and lined with wooden panels that offer a sense of privacy. The floor terminates with a sculpture done by Aditi Garg, inspired by the cover of Pink Floyd’s album ‘Division Bell’. The steps lead to the reception area, where the reception table seeks to break the reliance of design on standardised material sizes. It also serves as a segregation between the lounge and the dining area, making the space appear larger than it is. The wall adjacent to the reception desk is adorned with artist Vibhor Sogani’s ‘Master Stroke’ , a wall installation that runs across all the levels. The artwork crafted in iron and stainless steel, is inspired from a pencil stroke and fittingly describes the studio’s ethos. The lounge has a contemporary character with artwork on the walls and chic lighting fixtures from Louis Poulsen. A formal conference room on the upper ground floor, connected via the lounge, houses a conference table that represents dialogue and synthesis between individuals and groups who come together with various world views – it orients users to sit facing one another rather than a screen.
The first floor houses workstations and an informal conference room. The workstations are designed with a focus on the minutest details – with slight recesses to prevent stationery from rolling off. The informal conference room consists of a distinctive lighting fixture by Bover, almost seeming like a sculpture. The walls are done in exposed concrete, adorned with images of some of the studio’s works. A piece of seating designed by Krea, that appears as a bench, is juxtaposed with the conference table, both in coherence with the rustic feel of the room.
The second floor houses the principal architect’s cabin and workstations. The cabin is planned with an idiosyncratic approach with furniture that reflects panache and modernity. A light suspension by Kreon, above the table, in the cabin visually connects to both the studios on different levels through the central cut-out. A cluster of workstations in centre is flanked on either side by rows of workstations. The 40-ft Barrisol luminaire on the second floor visually ties the entire floor-plate and highlights the axis created by the Alstonia tree. The cabin and the conference room are enveloped entirely in glass with full-height vision panels towards the central cut-out to enable spontaneous communication, dialogue and transparency.
The third floor opens up as a residential space with a bedroom, living spaces, and a staircase of its own. A cut-out space is created, that runs uninterrupted through all the floors. On each floor, the walls of the cut-out are enhanced with artwork designed by artist Vibhor Sogani, that resembles pencil shavings, aptly representing the character of the studio.
The interiors are aimed at being a series of seamlessly unfolding spaces connected by a bridge on all floors and a staircase across floors. The staircase is conceived to serve more than its utilitarian role – as an open library running across all floors. All pieces of furniture are conceived as parts within the whole scheme with stories of their own. Exposed and pure surfaces offer exciting spaces that resonate with the nature of the studio.
In all, the studio is a rustic, earthy, and contemporary expression of architecture and design, placed within a busy and unconventional setting.
Name of the project: Urbanscape Office
Location: New Delhi
Design lead: Dinesh Panwar
Design team: Hardik
Built-up area: 6,000 sq-ft
Date of completion: 2019
Photographs: Andre Fanthome
Stone and flooring: Anand Jain Marble
Furniture: BoConcept, Stanley, Untitled Design, IDUS, Catalan Italia, Marina Home, Krea
Lighting: Lumanatix (L&L, Delta, Modulex, Louis Poulsen, Kreon), vis à vis India (Erco, Bover)