Creative Flow

Designed by their in-house team headed by architect Prasoon Shrivastava, Arkiplan International’s new office in Gurugram is an interesting amalgamation of open and closed, and formal and casual areas.

Text: Anjali Singhal
Photographs: © 2017 Photographix | Sebastian + Ira; courtesy Arkiplan International

The office opens up to a parametric reception area that has a green wall as a backdrop. Next to the reception is the stepped breakout area that features leather-finished granite and a wall of human-sized sculptures.

It’s a universally acknowledged fact that our surroundings affect our mood, productivity and creativity. The designers at Arkiplan International, headed by their principal architect Prasoon Shrivastava, took that to heart and set out to create an office in Gurugram that inspired creativity and lifted its employees’ spirits.

Arkiplan International has under its belt several successful hospitality and housing projects in South Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Africa, USA and the Caribbean. As the company grew, there came a need to move to a larger office. “There were several factors that clinched the decision to settle in our space. The office is in close proximity to the Golf Course Road and metro as well as amenities like retail outlets and commercial and residential spaces. Another defining factor was the unique stepped structure of the building which facilitated a terrace even on the second floor; in an urban context abundant open space is a luxury that many don’t get to enjoy. The orientation also allows for maximum sunlight and warmth,” explains Prasoon.

The main objective behind the design was to foster employee engagement. The layout was to discard hierarchy and engender transparency, and an open plan was decided upon to facilitate easy communication. The office comprises various zones, both formal and informal, private and social. The breakout areas serve several functions, acting as places to relax or to come together for informal discussions.

The reception desk is inspired by the deep waves of the ocean and is made out of 184 distinct pieces of wood that are held together by wooden rods. The table was assembled at the office itself. The flowy design is very dynamic and appears different from different angles.

The office opens up to a reception highlighted by a magnificent parametric table against the backdrop of a stunning green wall. The 10-foot high and 8-foot wide wall serves a twofold function: accentuating the aesthetic appeal of the reception and strengthening the inside-outside connection in the office. This area faces a semi-formal meeting room that’s bathed in a warm yellow. The two are connected by a sleek divider, which feels less restrictive than a door. The formal meeting room (placed next to it), on the other hand, is a sleek glass space that’s home to a corten steel word cloud that spells the verticals and the chief value drivers of the company.

The flow of spaces has been efficiently divided in the office. The public reception is close to the stepped breakout area and the tall table and chair arrangement where guests can relax and wait. The terrace garden area also serves a similar function. Privacy has been provided to the admin area and the founder, who enjoys his own personal cabin.

The office follows an open plan layout to foster communication among the staff and seeks to create intelligent designs. With the open floor plan comes the responsibility of creating breakout areas where people can get a few moments of quiet or medidate. It has been efficiently catered to with several different quiet spaces. Therefore, we can easily call the informal area — which is set next to the reception, and facing the work stations — the highlight of the entire office. Here, a stepped seating in leather-finished granite provides the opportunities for spontaneous conversations and a creative setting for casual recreation and refreshment. The steps look upon a wall of life-sized sculptures based on the theme of ‘resurgam’, which translates to ‘I shall rise again.’ It inspires people to look beyond their current struggles in the hopes of a blissful tomorrow. The three sculptures have been made of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) and were conceptualized in-house. A separate breakout area is placed close to this zone and is marked by a tall wooden table and chairs… it is apt for discussions as it keeps people moving around. The inclusion of various elements like wood, glass and marble effectively divide the open space while maintaining harmony among themselves. All the elements in the office were designed and conceptualized by the team at Arkiplan International.

The team meeting room features a bright pop of colour to break the monotony of corporate white spaces while the formal meeting room stands in stark contrast with its minimal design.

Another major highlight of the office is the free-flowing office desk in the co-founder’s cabin. The table is symbolic of the fluid design ideology of the firm. It was a challenge to get it manufactured because of its soft curves and intricate design. After being turned down by many furniture vendors, a local artist agreed to hand-sculpture moulds and then create the table from FRP. The terrace on the second floor of the office has been converted into a garden with a variety of curated plants, including a five-foot high bonsai. The amalgamation of form and fluidity, formal and informal and open and closed creates a symbiotic balance between work and recreation inside the office premises.

The office is also an example of what intelligent use of modern day technology looks and feels like. It is connected to a network with intelligent and adaptable software, and the facilities are voice-controlled and compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Lights that work on occupancy schedules keeping in mind daylight saving, blinds that adjust themselves with the sunlight and cameras that stream real- time footage – these are all based on the proprietary technology of the company. Thus this allows for better time and work efficiency.

The corten steel word cloud in the office has colour changing properties and keeps getting darker with time. Its rustic feel sits beautifully in contrast to the modern meeting room.

The office’s design also addresses energy, heat and lighting from a sustainable perspective. All the workstations in the office have been strategically placed close to the windows while eliminating the sun’s glare. To light up the areas during the evening, a combination of linear lights, pendant lights and spotlights run throughout the office. Moreover, the premises are fully automated with lights that work on occupancy schedules. This substantially reduces the power consumption of
the office.

The biggest challenge they faced was zeroing in on a particular design from the abundant ideas that the team contributed. But we’d hazard a guess that that’s a good problem to have. The result of having so many creative heads is there for all to see in this office space that combines smart design and technology.

CONCEPT
To design an open plan layout office which fosters communication among the staff. The layout was to discard hierarchy and engender transparency..

MATERIALS
Flooring: Grey matte finished tiles, black leather finish marble- breakout area
Walls: White wall paint, lacquered glass partitions, bison panels and green wall
Ceiling: Gypsum grid ceiling, exposed industrial ceiling in dark grey colour
Tables: Wooden tables, Parametric reception desk- MDF Wood, Fluid Table- Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Lighting fixtures Pendant lights, suspended Edison bulbs, suspended rectangular lights, spotlights and downlights

FACT FILE
Project: Arkiplan office
Location: Sector 62, Gurugram
Area: 2,250 sq ft
Principal architect: Prasoon Shrivastava
Design team: The entire staff of Arkiplan International

 

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