Organic Work

The Machan’s corporate office, designed by interior designer Ridhi Agarwal from Hipcouch, draws inspiration from its eco-resort located in Lonavala. 

Compiled by: BI Staff
Photographs: courtesy Hipcouch

Wooded, peaceful and serene. These three words define The Machan — an eco-resort amid Lonavala. And on similar lines is The Machan’s corporate office housed in the bustling and boisterous Andheri in Mumbai. Designed by Mumbai-based interior design company, Hipcouch, (headed by Pankaj Poddar and Parikshat Hemrajani), the principals at The Machan had some very specific requirements. “Our brief was to keep the brand philosophy alive while functionally differing the area usage. This office space is a unification of elements found across forests. From use of pine woods to cork, chipboard to teak laminates, the office is heavy on browns but beautifully offset with curved glass cabins and a light grey flooring,” inform Pankaj and Parikshat.

Led by interior designer Ridhi Agarwal from Hipcouch, the 2,000 sq ft office consists of a reception, workstations, a closed room for HR and accounts, a line of executive cabins, one large conference and a cafeteria. The layout of the office incorporated the need for segregation that different departments of the company have while making sure that zoning of different areas merged seamlessly into each other.

The HR and accounts room is structured into a large glass fishbowl and cantilevered to rise a few inches above the floor so as to overlook the rest of the team. To ideate the concept of an infinity space in a forest, the glass enclosure is curved all around. Similarly, glass is used in between the cabin walls of the private cabin room which is composed of a mixture of glass, metal and wood, all of which is recyclable. The workstations highlight the hierarchy of the team structure in the company — the junior staff gets a regular workstation while the more senior members of the team are given an L-shaped one. Honeycomb-shaped workstations are for executives, where cubicles have partitions made of glass and metal suspended from the ceiling and the floor. These partitions, from a distance seem to be floating which creates a visual barrier and provides the privacy needed without creating a completely physical separation. Although the entire space accentuates calmness through an earthy colour palette with browns and beiges with a pop of green, grey, white and black, the pantry stands apart in a vibrant yellow. Every surface in the pantry is a shade of yellow that highlights the flower blooming in the forest around springtime.

Moving from functionality to aesthetics, one of the most critical elements of the office space for the team was the ceiling and lighting. Drawing inspiration from The Machan treehouses, the Hipcouch team focussed on the open ceiling. The lighting of the conference room is a feature in itself with large inverted triangles, edged with direct and indirect profile lighting, while the workstation area ceilings have different wooden planks that come down from the ceiling in multiple directions with light fixtures like a tree’s branch. The cabin ceilings have the effect of a sweeping pergola with planks of wood within which lights have been built-in.

Although The Machan office offers a view of the urban jungle unlike the resort, it certainly replicates the brand’s essence of hospitality.