In order to cope with the growing needs of a design firm, this studio space was renovated utilising the combined space of two existing penthouses and dealing with all the limitations that came with it.
The studio, a home project for the team at Studio Saransh, headed by Malini and Manish Doshi, is housed in a relatively old building. The studio needed to be planned around the existing limitations of the two penthouses on the top floor. “Located on the fourth floor in a relatively old residential building, the two penthouses were used as an architectural office and a residence, having undergone multiple renovations over the years.”
Renovations are trickier than new design-builds given the umpteen restrictions that come with the existing facility. Keeping in mind the requirement for a growing studio strength, the design team executed a scheme where an open floor plan took lead for a robust and clean format. Highlighting the process, the team explained “Originally, each apartment consisted of three bedrooms, dining and living spaces, a kitchen and three bathrooms.
The existing premise was stripped bare and rebuilt with minimal transparent partitions, barring the reception area at the entrance. This was a conscious decision to allow everyone working in this space to know what is happening across the studio always. Major structural changes were not practical, which ruled out altering the walls or openings too drastically.”
Classic and crisp are two words that resonate off of the clean white walls, the black metal door frames and wood treatment on the floors and walls. Owing to the design studio’s nature of work, the workspaces flowing into one another bring about a sense of creative unity – one of thought and process. Consciously planned so, barring the enclosed reception all other spaces free-flow into one another taking in energy from the abundant natural day light available.
Walls only form suggestive barriers in this brightly lit studio space that takes its cue from the daylight that reflects off it creating a positive work space. Introducing natural elements in a restrictive environment is no easy feat; here it was achieved by the team by adding skylights in strategic locations.
“Retrofitted with glass, skylights and courtyard, the duality of whites and wood and highlights of blacks and reds are the mainstays of the Studio. The spaces in Saransh Studio are underpinned with abundant natural light and a sense of openness and augmenting this openness, a minimalistic material palette is used. All the exterior and transit spaces predominantly use white with wooden highlights; inside, most surfaces use wooden laminates, with white acting as the accent colour,” boast the designers.
Taking a cue from the client’s requirement, the spaces were articulated to accommodate specific processes that take place during design development. Creative progression almost always happens in two modes – the brain storming or thinking and the final production.
For Studio Saransh the floor segregation went through a similar juxtapositioning of spaces “The space for thought has a more direct natural light source as it surrounds a courtyard, while the space for production has an indirect source through north-facing skylights. A large terrace attached to each penthouse unit became the balcony abutting the conference room – a whimsical, contemplative zone.”
Given the location of the project in hot – dry Ahmedabad, the designers at Saransh took into account the vernacular limitations and climate conscious enforcements that need to be put into play. Like all renovation projects, internal orientation with respect to the planning is crucial when implementing climate sensitivity into the new design.
The design team at Saransh iterated that, “The floor plan – and consequently, all interior spaces are oriented east, which ensures that the influx of direct light is restricted to early mornings, resulting in minimal direct daytime heat. The limited southern and western openings admit very little heat. The recessed balcony and green bottle wall helps reduce radiant heat gain.”
Lower maintenance is often the first pick when it comes to design materials and in this studio space the laminated wooden floor boards keep to the latest trends while, “the wooden flooring inside the studio also uses laminated floorboards; this ties the whole space together, and is also quite resilient to heavy use and spills.”
Reduce, reuse and recycle played an important role in the formation of the newly renovated studio space. “By reducing the need for artifical lighting with the help of retrofitted skylights and large windows and reusing and recycling the old studio furniture, we brought about a sense of personal space for the studio staff.
Doing away with veneers entirely, natural wood, bare plywood, or wooden-grain laminates were used instead, which invigorated the warmth of re-used furniture, thereby successfully permeating the message of sustainable design even in an otherwise challenging renovation project,” share the team.
Text By Virupa Kantamneni
Photographs Courtesy The Architect