Making most of mature shady trees, Lovekar Design Studio have designed their new office using a simple and free flowing architectural vocabulary that leaves us wanting more.
Wooden gates slide to usher us into a lush green compound, where a quaint bungalow nestles amongst the trees. Draped in earthy tones of rust, the bungalow was recently renovated and converted to function as the design studio of Pune based Lovekar Design Associates.
The new studio, a recipient of the 2013 IIID regional award, is a manifestation of the simple and straight-forward design philosophy of the practice, led by Ashwin and Anjali Lovekar.
Located on the bustling yet quiet Paud Road the studio design features an open plan speckled with interactive zones that connect the green outdoors with the spaces inside. Says principal architect Ashwin Lovekar, “We wanted to employ an eco-friendly design and create a serene and peaceful environment which stimulated creativity.”
A glass roofed porch marks the entrance to the building and sets the tone for the design ethos to follow. Under the visible blanket of tree boughs, the porch as a modern and simple statement, weaves the outside world into its bosom, making it a perfect spot for relaxed conversations.
The simplistic design leads you further inside up a few steps to the reception where a bright blue partition breaks into the rust monologue of the walls.
A quick perusal shows the clear demarcation in functional zoning within the free-flowing plan. “We have placed the main cabin, conference and discussion areas in the west and the studio at the other end of the bungalow,” explains Ashwin Lovekar. When they started working on the structure, a few walls were brought down to create open spaces and certain changes were even made to the external elevation to make way for more interactive areas.
The frontal entrance of the building was shifted to the side and the original porch was converted into a conference room. The designers call this space ‘peculiar’ with its low height ceiling; a remnant characteristic of the erstwhile porch, and its three louvered sides.
The conference room faces west, and hence a solid light barrier was a necessity. White vertical louvers on all three open sides can be adjusted to modulate the bright sunlight as required.
The project encompasses interactive outdoor spaces which are key to the fluidity of design; these create pauses in the flowing space. One can step out into a shaded porch from almost any room, creating the ‘indoor-outdoor’ connection.
An outdoor deck in earthy shades and textures, adjacent to the reception is a pleasant invitation to the visitors and staff alike. This space overlooks the entrance lobby and also functions as an interactive space.
The walls clad in Shahabad and Cuddappah stone, act as a backdrop to the shadows cast by the pergola and the faint music of the water fountains creates an ethereal environment that is further perfected by a large ‘Ganpati’ statue that the couple acquired on one of their trips.
The architects are proud of the personal touch seen in their studio, which they believe is an important requisite for even a work space; so memorabilia, lovingly collected from around the world are spread all over the office.
Another connecting feature is the amphitheatre next to the parking that has become the natural get-together ‘adda’ for student and design fraternity interactions.
The studio is an uncomplicated expression of the designers’ thoughts, flowing unrestrained from one spatial zone to the other. Ashwin says, “The entire space has a straightforward design defined by a play of earthy colours, straight simple lines and a constrained palette of materials, colours and textures.”
In the presence of the shady trees that yearn to enter through the many open decks and flowing spaces, one feels at peace and revitalised to take the next step forward.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs By Hemant Patil