An imaginative curved wall turns an open office into a well-partitioned space that accommodates both the formal and informal.
Offices today are mercifully no longer the dull, grey sweatshops that once made employees sick at the thought of work. These days, workspaces are evolving into bright, welcoming zones that propagate the idea of work being fun.
In fact, most commercial spaces today vie for top position when it comes to offering employees better interiors, funkier recreation spaces, designer furniture and innovative cafeteria menus. Employees, for once, have precious little to whine about.
The modern concept of the office as a welcoming, creative and comfortable area is embraced with ease by ‘1Leaping Frog Studio’, a young Bangalore-based architectural firm. The studio puts this idea to great effect while designing the office interiors of CVC Network, an international media company with its Indian headquarters now located in Indiranagar, Bangalore.
“We were presented with a complex brief that had both functional and open-ended requirements to house 20 employees involved in ideation and broadcasting”, reveals Aatira Zacharias, who co-founded 1Leaping Frog Studio with her husband and partner Bhyrav B.R in 2013.
CVC Network’s 3,500 sq.ft. office in Bangalore’s Indiranagar is a cleverly designed space with all the trappings of a serious commercial workspace but with an atmosphere that spurs creativity and blue-sky thinking. “Many of CVC’s employees are actors or singers and it was essential to offer them an environment where they felt inspired to create,” remarks Aatira.
It helped that the office was located within an efficiently designed building that faced North and hence could take advantage of ideal lighting conditions. The office enjoys natural light till 5p.m. after which the artificial lights take over
The ideation zone is located at the North end of the office where natural light stimulates creative discussion. The heart of the office is occupied by the actual workspace which is flanked by the conference room and supervisor’s office on one side. The workspace flows seamlessly into the breakout spaces where employees can refresh themselves in between intense work sessions.
The defining feature of CVC’s office is a curved wall that begins at the threshold and flows to the opposite end, binding all the different spaces together. “It is a multi-dimensional structure” quips Aatira, referring to the wall’s clever features that include privacy, transparency as well as handy shelf space across its length.
Interestingly, the vision of the curved wall was finalised by the architects much later in the day when other corners of the office were already up and standing. “We always knew we wanted to create a curved wall here but the finished idea really fell into place only towards the end,” confess the design team.The curved wall brings much-needed privacy to an open-plan format and introduces an element of intrigue and suspense to visitors who walk around its bend. As the wall gradually reveals the office’s interiors it also brings to the fore the architects’ exploration of spatial concepts, most notably – the orthogonal vs. the curve; order vs. the free plan; transparency vs. opacity.
1Leaping Frog’s attention to detail across every aspect of CVC’s interiors is quite remarkable considering the space was readied in a record-breaking three months’ time. The 24-foot, high-gloss workstation table, for instance required out-of-the-box solutions to endow it with a ‘floating’ appearance.
Similarly, the natural effect of the exposed brick wall was achieved by sourcing a variety of coloured bricks from three different villages.
This attention to detail has paid off in the form of an elegant office that boasts of a character uniquely its own. The warm, easy-going charm of the place can also be attributed in part to a balanced mix of informal and formal materials.
Floors in the main areas, for example, are left as exposed concrete whereas laminated timber flooring is laid out in the ancillary areas. Exposed masonry is juxtaposed with plaster ceilings and exposed conduiting and ducting add to the raw feel. The informal atmosphere is complimented with polished MDF, hi-gloss finishes, laminates, lacquer, metal and wood.
Recently, 1Leaping Frog received the IIID Anchor Award for their CVC office interiors, marking an important achievement in the trajectory of a firm barely a year old. Their biggest compliment however was the assignation of another interior design project by a thoroughly satisfied CVC Network. You could say the firm is all set to leap to the next level with this.
Text By Christabelle Athaide
Photographs Gareth Hoover Photography