Another feather on architect Puran Kumar’s hat is the Russell Reynolds Associates office located in Mumbai. His firm, Puran Kumar Architects, through their practice, display a synergy between brand and corporate personalities and expectations set against modern design, built on a sensitive and conceptual base. Though the overall formal and aesthetic language varies from project to project, the attitude towards design as a vehicle of expression of corporate identity stays central.
While designing a workplace, a common belief with the designers is that creativity and innovation should not be constrained into typical ideas of the office: within modular workstation units, brick walls and wooden partitions. A similar design ideology catering to individualistic needs of the members, but scoring high on functionality and building up team participation has been adopted in the RRA office, a US-based job-consulting firm. The result is clutter-free, understated yet functional spaces that allow team members to mould a comfortable working niche for them. “Since the company is a global establishment, RRA needed that translated through design for their Mumbai facility. The brief called for a very international look that reflects its worldwide presence. The concept, thereby, developed for the office was a plush open space sans any barriers that complements the high profile of its visitors,” explain the architects.
A confluence of modern expression, the design complements the profile of open and transparent office system. As one enters, the encounter with the reception area, composed with elements in near straight lines, establishes the first statement of the stylish office. Elegantly placed seating on either side of a veneer-cladded reception table complements the subtle scheme of the design.
The main challenge for the architects was to integrate the private spaces with open office area seamlessly, even though they were functionally very different. Thus, retaining a sense of openness despite the numerous closed areas was a challenge addressed with liberal use of glazed partitions ensuring a visual continuity, essential for a co-working office. Private spaces such as the meeting rooms and lounges are carefully tucked beyond the reception area, visually inaccessible to the unassuming visitor, yet managing a seamless flow and transparent circulation of movement for the employees. The landscape of each cabin is punctuated by distinguished furniture, objects of design themselves, marking a chic ambience and rendering a defining statement to the office. Full-length windows in each of the lounge ensure optimum light inflow along with the colossal view of the cityscape below. The services follow the structural grid and the organisation of the plan allowed for the same.
The programmatic requirements of the office space demanded a flexible and accommodating design, wherein the workspaces are devised to extend and convert into different spaces for various functions. To take visual advantage of a wide expanse, the workstations bays were placed in the central zone, inevitably leading to optimised peripheral corridors alongside the cabins. Due to higher density of people accommodated, white has been used to enlarge and enliven the space.
The conservative palette of materials deployed constitutes marble and vitrified tiles for flooring with the combination of engineered wood and carpet tiles at certain areas, wooden veneer and laminate for furniture and upholstery from Revalto and PKC. A proper effort reflects in the significance laid on vertical illumination as against the uniform illumination. Other than this, fluorescent tube lights, down lighters and hanging lamps have also been used throughout the office.
Contrary to the jazzy and baroque designs of many other design firms, the stylish and contemporary design of RRA office seems to conform well to the needs of the diverse functions of the client brief. The RRA office project signifies a thought process that brings contemporary design to represent brand aspirations, thus pushing spatial design to take up a role as corporate branding, while staying adherent to the fundamentals.
- The space required an open feel sans any barriers. The intention was to see the entire space as one without compromising on the functionality.
- The entire office space is clearly demarcated as the public area (for guest meetings) and private office area (for the RRA staff). The challenge was to visually bind the entire office space together, while allowing each to play their individual roles.
- Since the budget did not allow art to be bought, a design story was created through photo-art – using photographs to tell RRA’s India story. The idea was to keep the intrigue in check and portray the story of India, both past and present, through the photographs that became integral to the design.
Project: Russell Reynolds Associate’s office
Location: BKC, Mumbai
Client: Russell Reynolds Associates
Architect: Puran Kumar - Principal Architect
Design team: Sonali Mehta - Project Head; Omprakash Sandupatla - Project in-charge & coordinator; Shruti Todankar -Project assistant
Project Area: 3,700 sq. ft
Civil and plumbing contractors: Mehta Associates
Carpentry contractors: Vishal Wood Works
Flooring /Counters/Dado: Marble, Vitrified Tiles, Porcelain Mosaic Tiles, Corian, Engineered Wood, Carpet Tile, Carpet Roll
Veneer/Laminates: Maple & Coffee bean Veneer; wood veneer, Laminate, Sunmica, HDF
Upholstery material: Revalto, PKC
Walls: Wallpaper, Lustre paint, Velvet paint, Polyurethane finish