Many clients prefer their workplace design to be in sync with their philosophy and culture; and this was precisely the gist of the project brief given to JCA Architects by the young entrepreuner and owner of Mile Nine Studios.
JCA Architects thus set out to thoughtfully design a space that merged the essence of the business with the design. “Our client is armed with a consummate knowledge of the animation technology, totally at par with what’s going on in the rest of the world. The expectation for his office was a colourful and energetic expression of the firm’s values. His brief was for a really playful and accessible environment where creative ideas bounce off strong corporate identities to provide the clients with the finest of results” say Deodutta Mulya, the principal architect of the project and Vikesh Chheda, the co-designer.
The most striking aspect of the design is the red wall cutting across the office. It is christened “the animated wall” and divides the space into two distinct spaces. For the client, the animated characters, i.e. the designs created by his firm, are his trophy pieces. These animations are seen on the red wall from time to time, giving it an ever changing appearance. This not only fuels creativity, but also provides a refreshing canvas for newer displays. It adds a kind of playfulness that is vital not only to the design, but also the culture of the studio.
An element of liveliness is subtly integrated into the design and lightheartedness works at an unconscious level to stimulate the required creativity. Take for instance the work tables for the junior animators; these are kept at an angle to each other a deviation from the usual linear placement of desks normally seen in corporate offices. The purpose of this arrangement is to facilitate informal and easy interactions between the staff. This in itself lends a playful vibe to the studio allowing for light banter and an effortless flow of ideas.
Accessibility is also very important in a workplace. The openness of the space makes it all very easily reachable. Moreover, given the nature of the activities performed here, it is a very well equipped space housing state-of-the-art technology of the field. The design has highly facilitated the very functioning of the company; for example, the mini theatre is a specially designed acoustical space incorporating the latest equipment for the final screening.
The architects wanted to play with colours and textures since these are an integral part of an animator’s work. In the office space where the desks of the animators are located, there is a dash of colour provided by the yellow screens and lighting options on the wall. These spots of colours on a neutral palette are refreshing to look at. The colour red pre-dominates the space. Besides the red wall running right through the studio, the walls and even flooring in some areas is red. It is the colour of energy and echoes the vibrancy and creativity of the activities taking place in the space.
“One of the major challenges was to deliver several functions in a tight space and yet make it look playful and spacious” say the architects. The thoughtfully detailed space, designed for twenty eight workers includes a conference room, a mini theatre, a cafeteria, a main studio, an editing studio and a cabin for the CEO. This challenge was met in part by facilitating a conscious flow and openness of spaces in most areas, unless a location absolutely required privacy. For example, the conference room has completely foldable panels and can be merged into the main space for informal discussions. The CEO’s cabin is an extension of the red wall that runs across the studio. The glass panels within make it a part of the main space.
“Another big challenge was to physically form the client’s aspiration of having a more playful and energetic space,” say the architects. This has been done by capturing the essence of colours and textures that animators constantly use and by including the animated space which constantly evolves to accommodate new scenes every day.
It seems that the challenges have been well met and the design has suitably accommodated the company culture, it is now up to the firm to go ahead and flourish in this creative hub that’s also a practical workspace.
Text By Dhanishta Shah
Photographs By Ravi Kanade