by Pallavi MehraJun 29, 2022
Ahmedabad-based multidisciplinary design firm, The Grid Architects, has conceptualised the interiors and architecture of an 1890 sq ft office in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. This distinctive office called Shibori features a red terracotta concrete envelope with circular cutouts, which enables a play of sunlight and shadow throughout the day. The larger cutouts are at the bottom and the smaller ones on the top to allow sunlight to come in a controlled manner. This envelope is not a superficial façade treatment but a meaningful architectural element. Along with this screen, the office also features additional architectural features that exhibit biophilic design such as courtyards, planters and large windows.
“This is a site office of a real estate development project where visitors can familiarise themselves with the salient features of an upcoming premium apartment scheme. Therefore, it’s more than just a workspace, it also carries the responsibility of demonstrating some of the core concepts of the upcoming scheme, which are attention to context, an out-of-the-box articulation, the harnessing of natural resources, and integrating the core philosophy of biophilia,” mentions Bhadri Suthar, Co-founder of The Grid Architects.
For this workspace, the architects moved away from the typical office layout and designed a building that is distinctive and timeless. The architecture invites the sun to create a unique spatial experience underpinned by a play of light and shadow. The tempered natural light makes the spaces look less confined, and brings about vitality, energy, and productivity.
“Light flowing in through the holes in a tin roof of a structure at site became an unlikely inspiration, which was further strengthened by looking closely at Shibori, the Japanese resist dyeing technique, which is characterised by circles and circular forms. The idea manifested as a simple L-shaped form with a perforated skin, which acts as a sun-breaker, and, at the same time, creates a dramatic play of light and shadows inside. Spatially, the circle cutouts are actually a perforated envelope that welcomes sunlight and creates patterns, which enact a powerful drama throughout the day,” states Snehal Suthar, Co-founder of The Grid Architects.
This site office has a L-shaped layout with a multipurpose room at the junction of its two arms. One arm features the reception area and a series of linear cabins. The other, smaller arm has the conference room. The plinth of this office is elevated by 1.5 feet to create a floating effect. The inside façade of the workspace is fully glazed so that the entire office is connected to the outdoors at all times. A continuous fully glazed window lets light in, offers an unobstructed view and a protected connection to the outdoors. The dramatic effect of the circular cutouts is captured throughout the day, with each moment bringing a different feel—from the soft morning light to the evening sunset, transforming the space from one hour to the next.
“In tandem with the sunlight, materials, textures and colour play their part in the narrative, following features of biophilia. The bright red terracotta concrete envelope becomes even more riveting and eye-catching under the sun’s effulgence. The simple, mature and functional interiors are articulated in MS, wood and ceramic patterned tiles. These, too, are uplifted by the spectacular sciography that unfolds through the day in the most effective way,” add the architects.
This office is also an example of biophilic design. It comprises an abundance of courtyards that incorporate local trees and planters. These shaded areas create an environment that is more conducive to collaboration and innovation, which is becoming the norm in contemporary design today. The pockets of courtyards play the dual role of unifying spaces as well as acting as an intervening buffer, positively impacting the indoor air quality and the health of the staff. Additionally, the office comprises minimal furniture that has been customised on site and artworks that have been sourced locally.