Since its inception in 2001, Anagram Architects have created a reputation for themselves, through a robust portfolio of projects. Their futuristic vision, once completely deciphered and analysed, which deserves accolades for its clarity. The practice’s approach often marries architectural design and spatial elements that reinvent the concept of intervention. In the same vein, their latest project, The Digit, is where conventional typologies nudge, not into tried-and-tested design methods, but into effectively using new ideas to develop contemporary strategies within the strong context. The most distinguishing factor of the project being its ability to establish an identity via the distinctive facade and its radical effect on the interior.
Conceptualised, designed and developed as an office building for a New Delhi-based outdoor media and advertising company, The Digit is located in a densely-plotted neighbourhood of the capital. Its mundane context gives rise to a distinguished form and expression – a thumb, metaphorising identity. The cylindrical volume of the semi-elliptical facade of the building is characterised by red perforated aluminium screen embedded with the company’s logo. Pivoted discs that spin with the force of the wind, display the logo on to its projected elevation, orchestrating an impressive visual statement.
Explaining their approach to this prominent facade design, the architects say, “Corporate brand identities are ubiquitous to the urbanscape through the medium of outdoor advertising. An extremely potent form of communication, it relies heavily on high visual impact in a fleetingly brief engagement. Its clamorous visual language acts as an overlay or imprint on the urban built language.
It intrepidly uses built volume and urban inserts to increase its visibility or to accent its messaging.” The further expanse of the facade is cladded with rectangular sheets of glass. From the outside, the building emits a harmonious asymmetrical feel, standing out as a distinct offering from amongst a herd of similar-looking, commercial structures.
The advertising agency’s hierarchy, along with the design aim to regulate daylight and heat gain, played an important role in the form of the building. The entrance lobby emulates the form of the building’s facade, with an array of finely arched fins that represent a thumbprint. The scooped linear voids created in the semi-elliptical cylindrical volume, stretches along the length of the building, infusing the workspaces with natural light diffused through a skin of louvers.
These spaces are aesthetic as well as functional; these shaded voids create a play of light and shade, creating visual drama. Planters project into these voids along the edge of the floor plates investing greenery into every nook of the office. The interiors, though subtly designed, highlight the elemental shade of red throughout the layout.
The Digit building is a conspicuous, confident attempt at treading a seldom-walked path in terms of commercial architecture, and the architects have executed it strategically. The proclivity to blur the lines between architecture and interiors and their understated holistic approach to corporate design is apparent, right down to the resolution and detailing of the design. The allegories used are expressed firmly, subtly yet in an uncomplicated manner, which enables visitors to experience an openness in understanding and reinterpretation.
Project: The Digit
Location: New Rothak Road, New Delhi
Client: Pioneer Publicity
Architect: Anagram Architects
Project area: 1,400 sq-m
Civil and carpentry contractors: NEFM
Project Estimate: INR 6 crore