When Cairns India – one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in India – decided to relocate their corporate office, they envisioned a place that ranked high on sustainability and scalability. This fastest-growing energy company in the world sought SWBI Architects to incorporate the best design practices of interior space planning in creating their next office campus. “Conceived as an ambitious office relocation project, the client brief defined a collaborative environment with open and transparent spaces, with an option of being flexible and scalable,” mention the Delhi-based design team. The result is a LEED Platinum building (certified by USGBC), comprising 200,000sq-ft area that is spread across five floors in a standalone building.
The design fuses the firm’s culture – sophisticated, professional and global – with the need for a work-centric space that is lively, open and vibrant. Led by principal architect Sanjay Wadhwa, the design team wanted to create a building that “spurs its people to be result-oriented, exploratory and analytical.” This is achieved by the conceptual exploration of ‘Terra’ (Latin for earth), starting with the main reception area acting as the core of the earth core, welcoming the visitor into the facility. From there on, the dynamics of the office functions have been split into three conceptual levels: sub-surface levels, mid-levels and on-surface levels. Each level exhibits the thematic expression through colours, textures, graphics, interior landscape and visual design elements.
The ground floor hosts all common amenities, followed by three work floors, while the top floor is reserved for management officials. Flanked between an atrium and sunlit boulevards on either ends, the open plan workspaces get to share in the natural light and views throughout the day. Additionally, desk arrangements with low screens are utilised with a democratic plan for easy, unobstructed flow of natural light. Space Enablers are planned to aid different work groups and activities. By reducing the cubicles size by some margins, the freed up space has been integrated and re-churned to provide a larger and substantial collaborative and open meeting environment.
Flexible and multipurpose design elements are prominent in the scheme; for instance cabins are furnished in such a manner that they can be transformed into a meeting room as well. By using a combination of fixed and moving components, the design team created a highly evolved workplace design solution. Modular demountable partitions allow modification of a workspace with minimum hassle and in a short time. Talking about another functional element, the design team notes, “Storage is an integral part of any facility. Proving and planning their locations is crucial, along with easy access that leads to optimised performance – a concept that has been well-integrated into the design of the building.”
Overall each floor maintains an open landscape arrangement with the cabins on either side of the work-hall, and low/mid height cubes acting as neighbourhood nodes. A central boulevard of activity around the cube clusters is planned that merges different spaces together and joins the meeting hub that act as collaboration spot, besides the different breakout zones within the office. The meeting hub is flanked by cabins and cubicles and encourages employee movement and interaction. To allow an unobtrusive visual field, glass along with different types of screens or film patterns are utilised. Each floor can be identified by its own colour theme, that is captured through carpet, fabric panels (on seating and workstations), tabletop in the breakout areas, wall finishes and graphics. Complementing and subduing the bold hues of blue, reds and bright yellow, is the light base palette of greys and whites.
To break the monotony of desks that can be typical in a large corporate office, the interior is interspersed with informal meeting/working zones. Whether it’s the library or islands of meeting areas scattered within the building, these areas are lit with warmer lights and infused with their own individual but restrained design traits. The more defined meeting rooms follow a particular scheme; the central wall consists of a writing board with two stackable fabrics on either side, this whole unit is flanked by artworks on either side, corresponding to the floor theme. Then there is the White Room designed specifically for ideation and brainstorming, which acts like a blank canvas for all the fresh ideas to crop up and creative juices to flow.
For Cairns, it’s not just a new office address but a whole new approach to work that is professional and collaborative.
Typology: Corporate Office Building Interiors
Name of project: Cairn Energy Corporate Office
Location: Gurgaon, DLF Atria
Principal architect: SWBI Architects
Design team: Sanjay Wadhwa and Rachita Khanna
Built-up area: 2,00,000 sq.ft