Noida-based Studio Symbiosis works a design palate that is a beguiling mix of the elegantly simple, the futuristic and the complex.
Led by founding partners Studio Symbiosis and Britta Knobel Gupta, Studio Symbiosis emulates the connotation of its name to the hilt. The firm’s thought process tosses together not just design ideas, but implications decided by topography, geography, culture and many other considerations beyond the strict confines of architecture. It also accords healthy importance to the idea of sustainability.
In terms of the look and form, the firm’s projects are marked by their predilection towards clean geometrical shapes, including eye catching loops which have a hypnotic aura about them. As the following three projects demonstrate, Studio Symbiosis carries a studious air of efficiency embedded in flamboyance.
Kanpur Riverpoint Development
“The unique position of being next to the holy river Ganga but not being able to access it or enjoy this unique location was the main design driver,” states the design team about this project. City re-development projects make for exciting study subjects because they encompass a wide array of challenges, ranging from topographical, cultural, and as is in this particular case, even the religious.
This 457-acre stretch along the Ganges is naturally influenced by the river’s undulating form on one end, and the existing cityscape on the other. But the key Studio Symbiosis touch here is the deep sensitivity shown to the pre-existing and the planned addition of new structures without disrupting any of it.
The aim of this project is the relocation of the area’s tanneries away from the pollution-troubled river, rehabilitation of its banks, and also provision of housing solutions to the slum population here.
The team coupled the water and waste management with energy efficiency by creating green corridors to inspire unprecedented transport accessibility.
Living alongside the legendary Ghat will be newer formations like restaurants, public plazas, a museum, a shopping arcade and more.
The master plan has great respect for the connecting paths within this patch and has tried to maintain it in good spirit even while making its efficacy more environment-friendly. Even the skyline plan is in tandem with both the edges i.e. fluid near the river and matching of the scale on the city-side.
Studio Symbiosis has no qualms in admitting that with this project the team wants to create something “iconic”. To be completed in 2015, this five-star hotel complex plan includes a fabulous façade whose ambition is to pull guests into its flashy embrace from the first step in. The fulcrum of the design magic here is the seamless marriage of the dramatic and the relatively mundane hotel design business.
The entry points and the public areas will be located in the lower floors of the building and the entire space will be encased on both sides in three giant waves of solid aluminium that dance out on both ends to form free-standing, cantilevered steel truss entry canopies.
These waves, inspired by the shape of natural canyons formed by the slow erosion of rivers, will undoubtedly be the centre of all attention as they rise, thick and proud when high, and then taper off slightly when low.
Vertically, they subtly dance off and straighten up to form more conventional shapes to mark the rooms in the upper floors. The ground-level café and a bit of the banquet area will help guests feel one with the façade and the extended landscape. Right at the top is the terrace with a swimming pool and a sky lounge, aided of course by mouth-watering views of Ahmedabad.
Undulged Living Delhi
This white-and-gold, multi-textured space full of swirling back-lit curves is fit for ‘The Jetsons’ to live in. Studio Symbiosis was commissioned to design this bespoke lounge-cum-guest space inside a Delhi residence, and the team has responded in characteristic style by combining eye-catching forms, efficient space division and careful cost-effectiveness.
The 37 sq m of available space has been stylistically split into two areas – a seating segment and a feature wall. The former has a concave table, a long supine sofa capable of seating a whole school of party guests, a smaller sofa shaped like a video-game controller and a low-frequency LED lighting scheme that creates the perfect relaxing atmosphere.
The sofas are filled with foam and fitted with hand-stitched upholstery, but the most remarkable thing about them are their beautifully-crafted wooden ribs that bring to mind the fossilised remains of prehistoric birds.
To uphold sustainability, locally available resources were put to use; low-impact and renewable materials were utilised by local craftsmen at the site. This project further confirms that Studio Symbiosis is brilliant at conjuring up remarkable spaces, no matter how big or small the built area is.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect