Studio Osmosis likes its spaces to be low-clutter, high-functionality kind of masterpieces. The team is an expert hand at combining multiple materials to create plush, warm interiors that blur the lines between formal and informal settings.
The team at Studio Osmosis knows its inspirations. The firm works on client requirements religiously while at the same time staying close to its affinity for basic metal surfaces, a restrained lighting scheme, and use of elements that represent the concerned brand or owner’s defining characteristics.
Shilpa Jain Balvally and Sameer Balvally founded this practice in January, 2010, and have since led impressive work in the fields of interior design, architecture, master planning, and furniture design.
Pizza Express, Mumbai
Powai in Mumbai is a place of proud industrial roots, even if its current reputation is defined by luxurious high-rises and a well-heeled populace. Pizza Express is a brand which was founded in 1965, with headquarters in London and with a foothold of over 400 outlets across Europe and more. The baked-in visual legacy attached to both these names had to, thus, naturally come through while planning the interiors of a new outlet in India. Studio Osmosis stuck to a dexterous balance of inspirations, combining industrial roughness in honour of Powai, a low-clutter flooring plan illuminated by warm lighting to create a youthful appeal, and a few elements of uniqueness that would distinguish the outlet from the long list of others in the world.
The team had 1,800 sq ft to realise this scheme, and succeeds in creating a memorable experience through a focus on the fauna and flora of the neighbourhood. “The design of Pizza Express Powai was inspired by the peace, tranquillity and the beautiful biodiversity. Unique birds abound in the Powai Lake even though it is in the midst of this buzzing and highly developed suburb of Powai,” the team asserts.
The clincher here, indeed, is a beautiful cluster of metal birds sitting on wires (MS hollow tubes) affixed at the ceiling and overlooking the linear expanse of American deli-like seating that features plush sofas and chairs and tables in aqua-green, light grey, and aqua-marine hues.
Edison bulbs spewing yellow light (‘bird lights’) hang down from in between these birds. The lighting scheme, including the basic metal lamp-shades, highlight the calm of the wood panelling with its herringbone pattern, the wooden trusses, the marble table-tops, the stout in-situ concrete wall columns, the sweep of brick walls, and the Pizza Express-regulation 3D-esque floor pattern of white-grey-black, pre-cast cement.
This effect of breezy brightness is accentuated by the generous natural light streaming in from the sectioned glass and black aluminium entrance wall, the black-painted 12 ft-high ceiling and the Black Portoro Marble-adorned service areas that have been left open and spot lit with gleaming steel. This eatery is a complete industrial chic delight!
Ambuja Intermediates Office, Mumbai
This office is luminous, and exists in surprising contrast to what one would expect the work station of a dyes and dye intermediates-making company to look like. The client asked for a Vaastu-compliant and budget-respecting office design that also made a distinct visual impact on everyone. The Studio Osmosis team wrapped these basics around an uncluttered seating scheme and a palette inspired by the company’s sustainable practices and reputation for precision.
To save the space from straining under corporate stiffness, the team has peppered the swathe with statement elements – like, a lovely patterned wall to backdrop an unexpectedly casual sitting space near the entrance; an artificial green wall in the MD’s cabin; lovely show-pieces like brass art pieces, wall masks, and an almost art-popish rug; scattered hexagonal wood wool panel wall detailing in the private lounge; and a highlight wall featuring an array of test tubes affixed as plant-holders.
These add whimsy, yes, but they also hold the more utilitarian parts of the office together in a happy embrace. At the centre here is the executive cabin cluster cube, standing flushed with light cutting through the coloured film coating of its glass divisions.
The general feel of the 3,500 sq ft space remains open and interconnected, thanks in part to the team’s continued romance with simple white work surfaces that square off with wood; uncomplicated and consistent floor claddings; and open ceilings. It is an office where the formal and informal balance each other off, and that always is good news for work efficiency!
Seaside Studio Apartment, Mumbai
This studio apartment looks out to the fascinating Bandra skyline, and the Arabian Sea, from its 7th floor perch. The views’ shifting light is framed by wide windows in the kitchenette-cum-lounge section as well as the bedroom, complemented inside by the subtle yellows, browns, and metallic elements of the interiors basking in warm lighting. The combined effect in this space is of peace; this is undoubtedly the abode of a calm soul given to deep introspections.
The home also is a prime specimen of space-division in simple modern homes meant for singletons in a metropolis. The sequential arrangement here is emphasised by the continuous stone flooring and a spare furniture scheme of custom-made pieces. The spaces multi-task, and tend to blend into each other, especially evident with the central troika of spaces, with the bedroom here allowed a shut-in using a semi-glazed retractable partition.
The small living room doubles up as a guest bedroom, and the beautiful window ledge here is also the study. In the bedroom, the bed has been designed to look a tad afloat, and the wardrobe and the panelled wall stand together in brilliant camouflage. The team hits the spot with this 560 sq ft space because of its low-barriers approach to the interior layout.
The home never looks a notch below inviting and plush thanks to a colour canvas featuring sober greys and browns, and lots of natural light creating a feeling of openness. I am sure this is precisely the kind of ‘stylish’ K V Bala, chairman for BVK Group, would have doubtlessly hoped for!
Text by Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Sebastian Zachariah/Studio Osmosis/ Kunal Bhatia, KB Studio