Astitv was assigned to design an office premises for Keva Flavours with an exact brief - it had to be young and energetic. The premises was a warehouse adjoining their existing office building, dating back more than 50 years and comprising a steel structure with north light trusses bringing in ample sunlight.
"In an era where most offices are housed in standard commercial complexes, it was an exciting opportunity to explore and exploit the architecture of a warehouse along with its inherent challenges of proper utilisation of abundant volume, light and heat insulation," recall the designers, adding that the tight budget only added to the challenges posed by this project.
Led by Kedar Vaze- Group CEO and Anurag Yadava -VP, Keva Flavours laid out their clear requirements comprising an open office with three cabins, expandable meeting rooms along with a conference room. An interesting addition was an experience centre where they would exhibit a variety of their products and applications and invite staff and clients to experience the same.
The designers decided to use the natural light and volume offered by the warehouse by avoiding any reduction of overall height through the use of any false ceiling in the open office. The existing height of 6.5m allowed room for another floor to accommodate the expansion plans. "A straightforward mezzanine would have killed the experience, so the planning was done in such a way that all enclosed areas were flanked on two sides on ground and a seemingly floating floor above, thereby aligning all the volume towards the open office," point out the designers. "With complete visibility from these areas, the whole volume was brought together as one building in a dynamic equation of movements and interactions."
The first point of interaction is the reception area where a riot of colours on the product display wall is balanced by a neutral and earthy colour palette for flooring, furniture and walls - bringing to light the essence of the business - Flavours. The shades, textures and lighting were designed with a minimalist approach, compensating the cosy low height ceiling.
Entering the main work area from the reception, there’s a sudden change of volume as the entire space comes into view. The riot of colours continues in the form of murals and wall shades balanced by grey carpet and hard floor with white walls.
The cabins were dynamically highlighted using vivid colours and a seamless transparent glass partition. Above them, a thin steel portal appears to span almost 50ft with a slender box section support giving it a floating and dramatic feel. Customised vibrant illustrations were proposed on the blank walls and columns from the existing structure to bring in the young and energetic flavour.
The mezzanine is accessed conveniently from staircases at two ends in accordance with safety norms. The sturdy glass railing further adds to the transparency of the edges.
The experience centre was located at the far end of the office, allowing the clients and team to experience the entire volume. The space stands out with a wooden portal cover which allows it to be one yet gives it a unique character. The glass walls between the portals were covered with customised graphic illustrations to offer privacy and create an interesting backdrop.
All the services were kept exposed, including the air-conditioning equipment, ducting, electrical trays, sprinkler and smoke detector systems - all judiciously planned to enhance the warehouse experience and also to give a sense of openness without compromising on the functionality.
The exciting journey of coping with the challenges posed by the old warehouse and a demanding client with tight timelines ended with a fascinating work space that sets new standards.
Project: Office premises for Keva Flavours (warehouse refurbishment)
Location:Mulund (West), Mumbai
Design firm: Astitv
Principal designers: Architects Mangesh Parkar and Gaurav Srivastava
Project team: Architects Shweta Save and Aditya Patil
Completion: April 2019