CW Interiors |
Virtual World | April 2016

Neutral-ly Victorian

In NK Jain & Sons first corporate office by 42 mm Architecture, neutral palette rules and the classical gets a modern makeover.
In a crowded high-rise complex cluttered with offices, it is not easy to stand out. Perhaps it helps to get noticed when the palette is neutral and the long-held ideals of Victorian design are inverted. The classical gets a modern-take with art and design blurring their individual stance. That is what 42 mm Architecture, a New Delhi-based multi-disciplinary design firm, has done to the office of realtors NK Jain & Sons in Gurgaon´s Time Tower.

Neutral notes
The glass door of the 3,500 sq ft space opens into all things grey, white, black and beige. The right 8 x 9 ft backlit wall has the map of Central Delhi etched on 12mm hardened glass. The grid is in straight lines with landmarks like Jantar Mantar breaking the neutral repetitiveness in bright green. Interestingly, the map spills over to the grey/white floor. On the grey granite floor with leather finish, steel circles are inlaid into a Qutab Minar and turned into a recognisable part of the city. If one looks harder, there´s the logo of the 50-year old company included abstrusely. On the left side, a padded velvet wall extends into a sofa in the waiting area.

Steel rules
Divided neatly into various work areas and cabins, there´s a lot of steel and engineered wood in this office. Wall panels with steel edging, wood blocks with steel rim on glass doors, steel frames on the walls of a cabin. Each wall is treated as a piece of art installation with Victorian elements etched meticulously on wood. The underlying concept of interior language travels in all elements - wall paneling, flooring, lights and furniture. Lines of the door meet meticulously with the lights on the ceiling and the conference room table made of medium density fibre board (MDF) with matte PU finish complements the etchings on the granite. Throughout, the floor (except outdoor space) is white engineered wood.

With definite demarcated work spaces, the office has a non-clutter reception area, two large cabins, one big and two conference rooms, a work-station area, kitchenette and a plush bathroom with shower. Three step-up from the reception area, the office acquires an outdoorsy look into two different spaces - one with blue/white d+¬cor that reminds one of decks on marinas and the other in burnt sienna with rattan furniture and a swing. The outdoor space adds an additional 1,200 sq ft to the office and is rimmed with planters that block the cluttered skyline of Gurgaon.

Brothers´s cabins
In the 3,500 sq ft space, the pride of place is set aside for the large cabins of Ashwin and Naveen, the owners. In the 175-sq ft cabin of Ashwin, grey rules with only two white elements. The wood panelling looks like art installation with steel inlays and the letter A melded into the grey wooden panel that doubles up as storage space. The greys and whites are in continuum in the 225-sq ft cabin of Naveen Jain. Here, white is more dominant and grey takes a backseat. The back-lit lacquered back wall that resembles a book shelf catches the eye. Custom-made furniture and the blinds opening into a green view adds to the allure of the space.

R&D & more R&D
For Adreesh Chakraborty, of 42 mm Architecture, who led this project, NK Jain & Sons´ office was one of most design and labour-intensive projects which took about a year from the drawing board to completion. 42mm sourced from various vendors and 20-people worked onsite constantly for 9 months. Priyanka Khanna, one of the founders of 42mm, admits the 9 months is a long time to work on the interiors of a 3,5000 sq ft space and attributes the delay to continuous research to get everything right. Tremendous amount of research and analysis went into this project to get the right finish and look in place. Visual aesthetics are essential yet we didn´t want to comprise on durability and functionality at any cost. The overall exercise of getting the right samples was a challenging part which required series of discussions, rejections and failures before we achieved the desired results,´ she adds.

The Jain brothers wanted a conventional, classical Victorian look for the firm´s first corporate office. Chakraborty and Khanna tweaked the Victorian design methodology and turned the office of NK Jain & Sons into a very distinctive space where grey, black, white, beige rule, steel serves as a versatile medium, art and design blur their differences and the classical gets a modern makeover.

Total Area: 3,500 sq ft
Text: Preeti Verma Lal
photos: Ravi Kanade
42 mm Architecture,
D-102 , Dr. Ambedkar Colony, Andheria Modh New Delhi-110074.
Tel: 011-26809545/46/47
Meet the designers
Priyanka Khanna & Adreesh Chakraborty
Firm: 42mm Architecture, established in 2005.
Firm specialisation: A multi-disciplinary firm practicing architecture and interior design with specialisation in luxury homes, office interiors and sustainable architecture.
Design philosophy: It is vital to view design as change, an artifact and activity that is situated in time and space. An ´intentional´ change- to change existing situations into preferred ones.
Philosophy towards life: Adopt a growth mindset and stop fearing failure and criticism. I believe you need to constantly work on yourself to evolve into a better person.
Favourite architect/Designer: International: Toyo-Ito and Santiago Calatrava, Indian Architects: Charles Correa & BV Doshi; the works of Sanjay Puri are quite remarkable.

What´s HOT and What´s NOT?
What´s hot: Reclaimed wood panels, installations, exposed concrete, green wall are becoming more prominent. Open office is hot with a collaborative work space which facilitates more interaction and idea generation.
What´s not: Integrating pop colours on accent walls and fixed or permanent layouts are out. It is giving way to warm and neutral palette with flexibility for ever-changing work space.

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