Amongst BKC’s collection of steel-and-glass commercial buildings, Dextrus, designed jointly by architects Robin Chhabra and Nishil Shah, gains prominence as a creative shared workspace, free from the constraints of cubicles that are synonymous with office layouts. As this project approaches its first anniversary, Dextrus explains why its unusual design resonated with users.
Founder and CEO Chhabra states, “As architects, designing a shared workspace was an interesting challenge for us as we had to create a space that was malleable to the culture of offices of various kinds. Our design principles were clear from day one – and that was to bring sunlight deep into the space and to create a simple and creative plan where clients have the flexibility to choose how they work.”
The driving concept behind Dextrus was to create an unconventional working space that piqued the interest of users and inspired creativity in them. To this end, the designers deviated from the sterile atmosphere seen in offices today by infusing art and cheerful pastel tones into the décor. The pale shades reflect light, permitting natural sunlight deep into the floor plate. For all artificial lighting, the studio used modern references and adapted them according to specific requirements.
A combination of gold and white reflects simplicity and prestige, while the occasional pop of pink, green and dark grey are amalgamated into the design to offer warmth and visual delight. Perfectly manicured plants helped bring an element of surprise and a certain sense of calm. Textures such as CNC – cut patterned wood panels and lime plaster ceilings were used to break the monotony of repetition. Bookshelves were fitted with in-built lighting that brought out the Irish cream colour of the tables and provided additional work lighting.
Most of the office furniture was customised, as it had to be stylish as well as pragmatic. The lounge furniture, inspired by Danish wood designs, had colourful upholstery that added a contemporary touch.
Given that collaboration increases productivity, shared workspaces were added in the form of brainstorming and conference rooms as well as lounges. The idea was to promote a communal sense of being without allowing individuality to be lost in the overwhelming scale of a large headquarters. The spirit of co-working creatively transformed the process of making Dextrus, which was achieved through the harmonious collaboration of architects, artisans, tradesman, contractors, project managers and various consultants.
A small example of the synergies would be the doll display at the reception – a collaboration between Rajasthani painters and a Vishakhapatnam doll maker under the guidance of a youthful design team resulting in an installation which every visitor regards as a breath of fresh air. “There is so much talent around in this country, guiding those energies is where the true innovation lies,” says Chhabra.
According to the designers, the open plan is widely adopted as the answer to most area-based limitations in offices, but this can be dangerous if not measured against the culture of a workspace. Companies rush into the idea of the open plan, as they want to have a more egalitarian and open ambience – but if the existing work culture does not coincide with that, then they invariably see attrition rates go up. The studio had to be cognisant of all those parameters, as they were creating a space for multiple companies. They focused on finding the optimal balance between open and private spaces within the 15,000 sq. ft. area allotted to them.
Keeping pace with technology is paramount too and the Dextrus setup defines this. Top-notch internet connectivity, infrastructure that preempts company requirements, a UPS power back-up and its own air-conditioning system allows the space to be a truly 24x7 centre when required. Provisions based on comfort and convenience – such as access to snacks and beverages, lockers, mailboxes and valet parking – have been provided.
Chhabra says, “In creating this co-working space, we have invested in the things that matter - from acoustic design to tech infrastructure, balanced with stylish architectural design. We want our members to benefit from a work environment that enables them to be the best at what they do. While giving a sense of prestige with the design and prime location in BKC, we also provide competitive and affordable rates to suit all business structures. We encourage you to fully utilise this carefully designed space, including the library, meeting and brainstorming rooms, phone booths and events space – so each day at Dextrus feels like a unique experience.”