The Busride Design Studio uses cast in situ concrete for Searce office in Mumbai

Speaking with STIR, Zameer Basrai of the Busride Design Studio explains how everything was cast in chunky concrete in an attempt to declutter the workspace.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : Feb 13, 2020

The Busride Design Studio is known for creating innovative designs – their projects are quirky, offbeat, eccentric, and bring some thoughtful concepts to life. A leading architecture and interior design firm based in Mumbai, it is run by two brothers – Ayaz and Zameer Basrai. Together they have designed some of India’s trendiest restaurants, and are also designing and building a much larger range of projects – homes, offices, retail stores, schools, installations, institutional and architectural environments. 

Designing is fun for the Basrai brothers and they approach their projects in a unique manner as they are actively involved in initiating interventions towards the development of the urban realm.

The use of red, blue and green colour reflects Searce’s logo | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio | STIRworld
The use of red, blue and green colour reflects Searce’s logo Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio

For a recent project, the Busride Design Studio created an office space that exudes warmth and radiates a cosy, nurturing vibe. The use of unfinished concrete gives it a modern look, and at the same time builds an atmosphere for learning and growth. Built for Searce, it is a workspace that attracts the millennials and experts alike. Searce is a cloud, automation and analytics-led business transformation company, based in Mumbai, India, and led by founder and CEO Hardik Parekh.

Here, STIR speaks with Zameer Basrai, who discusses in detail the Searce office project that took only three months to complete.

Meghna Mehta (MM): What were your initial thoughts when you started the project?

Zameer Basrai (ZB): The client, Hardik Parekh runs a technology company that helps towards creating a better tomorrow by leveraging cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The core philosophy and mission of Searce is to identify better ways of doing things and improve the future of businesses. The theme of the mumbai office was to 'futurify'. Therefore, our initial questions were - how can good design be optimised for business? How can we bring multi-functionality in design at a good price? One of the important questions that was of great significance to the project was - can we bring in some unique features as per the client’s needs? We developed work-flow diagrams for user and guest experiences, and further fleshed these out into spatial diagrams and then began designing the space. The brief was something that evolved during this initial process. Also, interestingly, Hardik follows Jainism, which bought a whole new dimension of minimalism and frugality. 

  • Graphical letters of the word ‘futurify’ that run through the entire office | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio | STIRworld
    Graphical letters of the word ‘futurify’ that run through the entire office Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio
  • The graphical representation of ‘futurify’ | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
    The graphical representation of ‘futurify’ Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio

MM: What does the office’s design programme include?

ZB: The Searce office at Kurla was a joint exercise to de-clutter the workspace. Book shelves, planters, phone booths, printing stations, solo work-pods, lounge seating, co-working tables, signages, all were built into a single mass of chunky concrete. Only the ergonomic work stations were kept loose. 

  • A large window at the office’s backside provides a view of the landscaped gardens | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
    A large window at the office’s backside provides a view of the landscaped gardens Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio
  • Adding some colour to cold and grey concrete | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
    Adding some colour to cold and grey concrete Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio

MM: Can you explain the layout and choice of colours and furniture in the office space?

ZB: The office is located in the Art Guild House, behind the mall Phoenix Market City, Kurla, in Central Mumbai. It occupies a single commercial office space with side walls shared with many other offices in the premises. The façade that faces the main corridor is entirely made up of glass, providing tapping points for services. The rear of the office has a large window at the sill height of the table that provides a view of the landscaped gardens.

The logic of the plan emerged from the site constraints. All services needed to be located towards the front, and all activities that involved brain storming, discussion, socialising (co-working) were given the view of the open rear window. The non-descript middle space was earmarked for the individual modular work stations.

Since the idea of casting everything in concrete, except ergonomic furniture, was taken early in the project, we insisted on using bold colours for everything else in the space. The company Searce’s brand colours are similar to those of Google, as they are major partners in the business (Searce is a Global Google Cloud Premier Partner). Hence, the Herman Miller furniture was chosen in characteristic primary colours - red, blue, yellow and green.

Herman Miller furniture was chosen for the office in colours of red, blue, yellow and green | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
Herman Miller furniture was chosen for the office in colours of red, blue, yellow and green Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio

MM: The office has a tranquil and soothing appearance. Can you explain what techniques were used to implement this desired effect?

ZB: The lighting of the office was designed to be warm, almost home-like. Contrary to studies suggesting white light for offices, we chose to light up the place with comforting hues owing to the coldness of the chosen materials - concrete and IPS (Indian Patent Stone). In the work areas we have supplemented the light with white filler panels.  

  • White filler panels brighten the indoor areas of the office | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
    White filler panels brighten the indoor areas of the office Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio
  • The design provides for pleasant and welcoming atmosphere | Searce Office| Busride Design Studio| STIRworld
    The design provides for pleasant and welcoming atmosphere Image Credit: Courtesy of Busride Design Studio

MM: Is there anything that you would have liked to do differently with this project?

ZB: Fortunately, or unfortunately, the project took exactly three months to complete. This left us with almost no time to review design philosophy (laughs). The large concrete co-work table was located near the only window to the site. Everyone in the office gravitates towards this space. Had we known sunlight would play such a major role in the space, we would have organised the office a bit differently. We would have shared the light of the day with the work stations. We would have given partial access of the open rear facade to the work stations.  

Project Details

Name: Searce Office
Location: Art Guild House, Phoenix Market City, Kurla, Mumbai
Time (conception to construction): 4 months
Construction time: 3 months
Architects: The Busride Design Studio
Design team: Sohil Soni, Komal Dhulia

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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