Bengaluru-based Sanctuary Architects & Interior Designers have designed the perfect office for themselves – it is spacious, simple, sports an earthy material palette, and is surrounded by trees that are never out of sight.
This office is made for placid ruminations. Its design wanted to embrace its surroundings and its site’s past even while creating something new. The language that was used to express this was to be natural, in celebration of all the essential textures and patterns.
The team from Sanctuary Architects & Interior Designers was to sit here to make the most of its creative energies. It was decided, then, to keep the workspaces fluid and the elongated sections were so designed that they pull in all light all through the day. “The new structure is juxtaposed against an angular, plastered and painted old concrete structure.
The change of materials, scale and volume in the new structure clearly defines the transition between the old structure and the new,” state the designers.
Located in a leafy residential part of Sadashiv Nagar in the busy city, the Sanctuary Office is spared the worst of traffic noise and confusion. It is instead allowed warm green views of trees, affording the team members all the pleasures of a tastefully re-done terrace of an existing structure.
The 1,700-sq ft area here spreads across two levels; a folded metal plate staircase connects the lower level with the mezzanine where the principal architects sit. The altitude, understandably, influenced the form and tenor of the space as well. “The exposed structure allows one to experience materials in its barest form. As the studio is on top of an existing building, the structure had to be light, of good thermal quality and easy to dismantle,” states the team.
The roof is the most visible result of this strong influence. The two-layered roof system is topped by a GI sheet – a visual element that establishes the space’s quasi-industrial aesthetic leanings – while below it is an independent arch made from Aerocon blocks.The air gap thus created allows for the necessary heat loss.
As the team attests, the colour in this space comes from the work culture whilst everything else promotes an earthy ambience to encourage creativity. The angular leaning of the design layout reins in any confusions and spill-overs, disciplining the free-flowing vibe of the office within professional boundaries. There are the tall walls housing glass doors and windows with knotted pine frames. Then there are the wooden ceiling sections where the rafter pattern splits the illumination from hanging tube lights. Other overhead lamps are affixed to or hang down from metal tracks that run along the arched roof.
The grey cement concrete flooring stretches across the lower level, reliably bringing that under-construction look with it, while the flooring on the mezzanine changes to a polished wood look.A multi-functional unit sits at one end of the workstations, smartly gathering up the files, the printing and the library materials, and other resources, and clearing up the main areas for better movement.
One obviously quasi-casual element is the outdoor seating scheme in this office. The lower floor has a lovely green patch that is linear, open to a close rendezvous with the trees and the sky, and a surprisingly cosy place within a work zone.
The office folks can wander into this nook to relax, eat, or hold meetings, while sitting at the beautiful, wavy wooden table. This is also the entry courtyard, laying out a relaxed welcome to whoever steps into the main work zones. Attached to the mezzanine is another outdoor sitting area where a simple glass-topped table is accompanied by four chairs and lots of leafy shadows.
Have we mentioned the trees yet? The office’s immediate neighbourhood is dotted with coconut and gulmohar trees, their visage always visible from the workstations and their drooping branches happily invading any open spaces. On the mezzanine, a coconut tree is part of the wall, its elegant body snaking into the room before escaping through the ceiling. As the designers have stated, the trees are part of the scheme and not its fringe.
The smooth dark shelfing, display and storage cabinets on the upper floor have been designed to complement the graceful tree and not to upend it. “The preliminary concept for the structure and the design was to rope in the surrounding trees as a part of the space. Hence the design was oriented to open up to the west facade; allowing the trees to become a part of the space,” the team confirms.
The Sanctuary Office lives up to its name. It is calm in a self-assured way and is formed so that open-minded acceptance of different ideas is ensured. The spartan material palette and the deliberate eschewing of colour could have easily tipped the space into mundanity, but that possibility is avoided by the angular perfection of the space and the design scheme’s deep interest in remaining close to its environs. This is a low-clutter, high-productivity interior design – and it is beautiful.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy the Architect