Step into this functional, albeit ‘Happy’ workspace in Mumbai
Studio Osmosis designs an office that is client responsive in its concept, yet aesthetically appealing
With the imminent increase in the way people’s professional and private lives are merging today, it has become increasingly important to design office spaces that are functional, stimulating, appealing and efficient. It is found that the design of spaces greatly influence the mood and productivity levels of users, thus making workspace design more challenging and also fun for designers and architects. The modern day office is no longer a room full of work stations, but instead accommodates break out zones, informal spaces alongside formal work stations, depending on user preferences.
‘Happy’ is a new age finance company full of young and enthusiastic employees, and the design of their office had to be such that it reflects the company ideologies and, at the same time, is a functional office space that evokes productivity and efficiency. The philosophy of the company is based on making others happy by providing loans to make their dreams come true.
The one liner brief from the client, who had a clear vision was: “I don’t want to see the typical work desks and people when I enter – it’s got to be unique and a happy space.” That brief dictated the design process and led to an exceptional amount of planning for the project.
“The core space was envisaged as a multi-functional work-fun-meet-hang-eat-conference-seminar kind of space, and that became the spine of the project,” says Shilpa Jain Balvally of Studio Osmosis. This space sports a performance stage and ramp with artificial turf flooring on all four sides. It is complemented with a row of ceiling lights right above the ramp that really accentuates the volume of the space.
“The casual eating island counter, discussion rooms and workstations, on the mezzanine, open into this green, vibrant space. The space is flexible to be used as a discussion zone or, at times, to host events,” Sameer Balvally of Studio Osmosis states. A feature wall, at one end of this central area, has faux arches that span across its length. These arches follow a minimalistic design aesthetic and are a backdrop for interactive and changeable artwork inspired by the ‘happy’ philosophy.
“The exposed concrete column in this space, with stepped seating on either side, features doodle graffiti art that was a fun collaboration between the employees and our studio, further emphasising the core,” adds Shilpa. Green elements like vertical self-watering planter walls, areca palms and potted plants are also included. This biophilic design brings the outdoors into the work space and helps to manage stress levels and moods.
The layout offers a variety of formal and informal spaces to befit the client’s vision for this work space. A combination of desk options like linear work stations, standing desks, stepped seats and lounge areas are peppered across the office. These spaces are differentiated with the use of various colours and patterns. A double-height space with an open ceiling concept and bare concrete columns makes the office space utilitarian and functional in nature. To contrast this, accent colours – reflective of the company’s branding – are used around the space to highlight certain spaces and elements.
The conference room is located between the central area and executive lounge, thus offering a through-and-through visual. The partitions marking the room are transparent and visually connect the two spaces together. “It was a conscious decision to not give that window to an executive cabin, which would be typically done,” confesses Sameer.
The office is located in an urban setting, in a high-rise building overlooking the cityscape. This offers huge windows and views of the city of Mumbai. The executive cabins are located in a way that they capitalise on these vistas and allow a pool of natural daylight to enter these spaces. The lounge-cum-break area under the mezzanine is a fun and vibrant space that acts as a pleasant change of scenery, and makes for a relaxed discussion or break out zone for the employees. The alternative entrance lobby and lounge areas are highlighted using patterned tile, and could be directly used by the directors and their visitors, if required. A pop of colour and graphics reflecting the company’s branding makes the space cheerful and inviting.
Name of the project: ‘Happy’ office
Name of the firm: Studio Osmosis
Design team: Sameer Balvally, Shilpa Jain Balvally
Area: 3,300 sq-ft
Photographs: Kunal Bhatia