Pixels, bright colours and bold geometrical graphics – these are the strokes that render this office space designed by Kamat and Rozario Architecture into something that gives us an ‘8 bit’ experience.
Bright colours and bold graphics make up the language of architecture employed in this newly designed office space, for a company called 22feet that provides digital solutions.
Designed by Bengaluru based design firm Kamat & Rozario Architecture, this 3,200 square feet of space is a trip down memory lane, not to college days and television drama but to the ‘tech fun’ of the 1980s, when the Japanese introduced to the world the 8-bit era of computer games.
“The clients desired their office to be themed on the eight bit games from the 80s,” say principal architects, Smruti Kamat and Lester Rozario. Hence the team tried to bring into the architecture the simple endearing joy of 8-bit computer games like ‘Mario’, ‘Tetris’ and ‘Space Invaders’ characterised by tile and stripe graphics in bright pixelated colours. They stress that the idea of the pixel became the guiding principle for the design of the office space.
A far cry from the formal corporate decor, the archetypal programme of workstations, conference room and cabins have been designed with bursts of colour in what Smruti Kamat describes as “a simple plan with closed spaces kept to a minimum.”
To cater to the countless conversations and interactive moments between the various factions of the company, the team employed a design strategy wherein the peripheral length of the volume was allocated to workstations. An exposed ceiling and glazed walls give the long strips a spacious, airy and casual appeal; add to this pops of bright colours and we have the exact casual, interactive environment which the client wanted.
“By placing the workstations in the periphery and closed rooms in the centre as a single entity, natural light floods the entire office,” says Sowmya, from the design team. In positioning the cabin and conference room to the centre, the architects not only functionally zoned the office, but also got canvases for their creative expressions.
“The white vertical surfaces walling the central rooms have been mostly kept bare, on which patterns made from unfinished plywood strips bring to us glimpses of the 1980s’ Invader,” explains Smruti Kamat.
Open planning and glass partitions between different domains in the office has the design sketching a circulation pattern in the sphere, which encourages constant visual connectivity, social interactions and a spatial experience that is capacious and unconstrained.
Further highlighting details about the volume, Lester Rozario shares, “The functioning of the office required two separate departments. The interface between these two was a common breakout space.”
If not writings in the typical script associated with the graphics of 8-bit computer architecture on the wall surfaces, it is random doodling captured elsewhere. This space bound by white walls with doodles etched on it is bound to wake up any weary employee with its spatial energy.
Furniture – bright colourful sofas and chairs, unique tables with supports that resemble the ‘Tetris’ blocks, also does its bit to underline the theme and energise the overall appeal.
Three large columns in this big expanse are another mode of reference to the 8-bit theme; simply put, in the words of the architect, ‘The idea of the pixel was translated into storage units that wrap around existing columns in the form of bright coloured 3D pixels.’ The bright coloured square blocks are much like a 3D print of the basic pixel; this used to be the trademark of the third generation computer games of the eighties.
Glancing at the open spaces, one realises that there is a lot happening in the volumes architecturally that we slowly begin to grasp and experience as we make our way inside. Smruti explains, “The bare ceilings create a sharp contrast with all the remaining elements that are so very colourful, or polished and shiny.”
The moment one steps into this large office, one is not cowed down by the scale, instead the spatial experience urges one to let their hair down and set the grey matter working. There is a perfect blend of functional, aesthetic and creative architecture in these spaces designed by Kamat and Rozario Architecture. They strive to bring in a unique identity to all their projects which are almost always inspired by context, client needs and constraints.
Here at the office of 22feet, the theme of 8 bit games is interlaced into every nook and cranny defining the character of the architectural language, and taking us back briefly to the simple joys of games like ‘Tetris’ and ‘Invaders’.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs By Upasana Jain