The AOT Group office in Mumbai is a monochromatic oasis of natural light, stylish interiors and some breath-taking views of the city’s legendary skyline.
This has been said many a time before – workspaces can be drab. They can easily slip into high-function mode and sacrifice all aesthetics and most of their comfort in the bargain. Offices that buck this trend are the ones that let the personality of the work and workers occupying its spaces dominate its design. The AOT Group office in Mumbai does just that, especially because the Nuru Karim-led design firm NUDES brought in a plan that prioritised space-optimisation and a distinctive colour-scheme.
At the centre of this monochromatic universe is a pod – slick, transparent and capable of performing multiple functions. Like an alien entity that landed and has now occupied the heart of the expanse, it is eye-catchingly mysterious and builds instant curiosity. CNC’d aluminium solid sheets are wrapped around this hybrid space.
As more regulation work-stations bustle outside, the pod can be the spot of training sessions, talks, workshops, etc. with its movable furniture allowing for a smooth slide into ‘break-out’ or recreational sessions of a more informal tenor. The outer cover of the pod is a pastiche of shiny glass and patterned white CNC skin, the latter inspired
by AOT’s philosophy of networking and growth.
Depending on how you interpret it, it showcases either a large branch network of a mighty tree or a complex interconnected web of wires. Irrespective of that inference, it is a striking visual that literally and figuratively centres the look of the space. The skin and the gleaming glass split the inside lights, creating just the right amount of drama for the interiors. It brings good balance to days undoubtedly dominated by serious business talk.
The interconnected web-like skin first comes up at the reception desk, in fact. This area is all white walls, polished and gleaming surfaces, and fluorescent lighting, with a neon display announcing the establishment’s name. This may be an office, or it could be a futuristic laboratory. One will only find out after stepping further in.
What may seem slightly unusual is the meeting room standing right near the reception desk. Inside, the work-stations follow a grid system designed keeping space-maximisation in mind. The long tables have simple divisions and clean filing cabinets below.
Overlooking the space is an industrial-style ceiling, the exposed beams painted in dark shades and the suspended tube lighting reinforcing that old feeling created at the entrance – of being in a place of high-tech experiments.
Less obvious inside may be the carpet, but it helps solidify the slightly broody demeanour of this office. The black floor covering is in keeping with the monochrome pledge of the design, and the white stripe patterns on the carpet form that minor detour in expression. The simplicity of the work stations stands well against this light ripple of change in design. There is plenty of natural light streaming in, and the reflective surfaces create pools of light and shade all around.
The cafeteria continues the monochromatic scheme, keeping the layout exciting by mixing and matching chairs of the two hues at every flat-topped table. The views from here are fantastic, the city skyline in full view through the wide glass windows. The light, naturally, is plentiful, and the patterned backs of the chairs throw out lovely shadows on the floor with its help.
The floor spread in this office measures 11,700 sq ft and the seating for the staff of 180 has been planned in a way that all are accommodated in a naturally-lit stretch. The AOT Group is in the business of accommodation and travel-related services, so the staff needs workspaces that are reflective of that open, free-spirited core of what they enable. Thankfully, they have this office in Mumbai, where style meets comfort, and all the city bustle is kept far off!
Text By Shruti Nambiar