With the changing times, the definition of each typological space has also seen massive alterations. Residences have become more than just abodes of respite, restaurants are being experimented with concoctions of minimalism & exuberance and office setups are being designed to be as employee-friendly as possible.
The ‘Outside In’ Office, designed by AVG Architecture en Interiors, poses for a similar ideology of being user-centric; while inculcating the vibrance of Nature as a free-flowing element through the entire scheme. Located in Gurugram, each of the spaces carved out in this layout, aim to create more humane settings of work and instill an omnipresent calm throughout the panorama.
Built as an extension to an existing office structure, the clients simply desired to utilize the leftover area to create spaces where interactive activities could be held; owing to its close proximity to the main commuting lobby. Thus, with such an upfront premise, the design team decided to supplement the stated brief with a concept that would incorporate the surrounding environ as the main accentuating element. Designed on the principles of Zen, both the interiors and landscape unite to portray clean lines and an amplified visual balance, thus aiding its users to conduct their daily endeavors without a sense of impending stress. Contradictory to stereotypical corporate office environments, enormous infusion of daylight achieved through apt implementation of transparent verticals, formulates the core of the title: Outside In.
Owing to the fact that this structure had to be built on a terrace, an extinguished FAR was one of the primary challenges that had to be catered to by Ar. Archana Van Gils – the principal architect and her team. As a convenient solution, they executed the structure with the aid of tensile members and supporting interfaces. Considering the extension, infusion of ample sunlight into the existing premises also had to be catered to. Thus, Ar. Archana conceived the form of Outside In as a ‘glass box sitting on the open terrace space’; rather connecting it conventionally to the former areas. This would not restrict the natural flow of daylight into both the office segments.
The planning, similar to its design elements, showcases ease of cognitive mapping and is aptly functional. The approach to this extension is marked with a double door leading to a common passageway. At its culmination, a reception endowed with brimming vitality captures the attention. Although perceivable as minimalistic and rather simple, numerous intricate components in this Waiting Area are sure to hint at the concept from the very start of the design.
With two sides as glazed verticals, the remaining segments of wall have been tinted in white; to allow the maximum reflection of the natural daylighting. The furnishing in monotones of white and black create an effective balance with the warmth of the hardwood flooring.
Masking its effect on the entire area is the railway sleeper wood cladded feature wall, which aesthetically glistens in its own rustic appeal. Coupled with three overhung statement lighting pieces and a dark toned sofa, this frame definitely wins in innovation and elegance.
A single door, towards the corner of the reception, leads onto the main stairway while a double paneled glass door that also acts as the entrance, allows the user further admission into the common passageway stated above.
On one end of this vestibule, two conference rooms, with a surrounding layer of green greets the incoming user. Synonymous to the rest of the spaces, the color scheme in these areas too range in white, finely blended with a ‘silver lining’ supplemented in the furnishing.
The other end showcases a cafeteria indulged in shades of green and white with comfortable seating and an attached utilitarian service area. Complementing the Zen concept and the name of the project, an enveloping layer of greens may be observed through the sheer glass peripheral wall, while seated with a hot beverage.
The final yet one of the most iconic facets of this office, definitely has to be credited to the landscape design. Majorly inspired from Japanese Zen gardens, by which all elements are utilized to compose a layout of tranquility and self-actualization; these landscaped areas pose to bring about a similar effect on its users.
Wooden pergolas form a neat transition from the reception to this green arena; also incorporated with informal seating options, ample amounts of soft-scapes and a monumental Buddha statue. Further revitalization has been instilled in this section of the planning by the addition of a contemporary water body, thus, influencing the micro climate and creating improved thermal working conditions.
Sustainability is an imperative in any design concept mapped out today. Thus, ‘Outside In’ too strives to inculcate such ideologies, throughout its planning and aesthetic elements. From the core approach itself, the thought of utilizing daylight more generously rather than adding artificial lumens, showcases the intent of creating a design with relevant sensibilities of the era. Supplementary to this, usage of natural materials like stone and railway sleeper wood along with the inclusion of elements that possess the ease of maintenance, aim towards reducing unnecessary exploitation of resources.
The design of Outside In, thus, can be entitled as a pioneering endeavor of redefining work spaces and creating ‘the futuristic office’: timeless and trending even during these dynamic years.
Project name: Outside In
Built-up area: 3800sq.ft.
Design team: Archana Van Gils, Lokesh Kumar
Photography credits: Amit Pasricha
Text credits: Ar. Bineeta Ghoshal