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Home > Urbanscape Architects’ studio: A contextually curated, artful workspace

Urbanscape Architects’ studio: A contextually curated, artful workspace

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Fact file
Location: New Delhi
Size: 560 sq m
Designer: Dinesh Panwar
Photography by: Andre J Fanthome, Studio Noughts & Crosses


Urbanscape Architects Studio is a reflection of the designers’ proclivity for a strong identity. Set amidst the eccentric aesthetics of Shahpurjat, an urban village in Delhi, it packs a motley of spaces, figures, and their interactions. A façade of exposed burnt brick offers a sense of continuity, with a commercial storefront giving way to a central entrance that leads to the workspace above. The design of the Urbanscape Studio evolved from a designer’s proclivity to forge his path and a resident’s sense of nostalgia. Complementing this eccentricity, the studio space offers a sense of continuity along the street, housing a store and steps to seat passersby along the storefront, which lends way to a central entry point for the architectural office above. Oriented towards the northeast direction, the façade is crafted in exposed burnt brick. Aligning itself toward the Alstonia tree at the front, the tree visually dissects the site into two halves. Acknowledging the strong presence of the tree, the studio is designed to visually integrate it across all floors. The existing site allowed for a small floor plate, which was used expediently rather than being seen as a deterrent.

The ground floor is appropriated as a commercial fashion store named Kushal’s. Establishing itself as the entrance, the upper ground floor houses the reception area, a lounge, a conference room, and a dining area for the staff. One enters the studio via a uniquely designed staircase made from stone and concrete and lined with wooden panels that offer a sense of privacy. The floor terminates with a sculpture created by Aditi Garg, inspired by the cover of Pink Floyd’s album “Division Bell.” The steps lead to the reception area, where the reception table seeks to break the reliance of design on standard material sizes. It also serves as a partition between the lounge and the dining area, making the space appear larger. The wall adjacent to the reception desk is adorned with artist Vibhor Sogani’s “Master Stroke,” a wall installation that runs across all the levels. The artwork, crafted in iron and stainless steel, is inspired by a pencil stroke and fittingly describes the studio’s ethos. The lounge has a contemporary character with artwork on the walls and chic lighting fixtures from Louis Poulsen. Raw-exposed surfaces offer exciting spaces that resonate with the nature of the studio.

The first floor houses workstations and an informal conference room. The workstations are designed with a focus on the minutest details, with slight recesses to prevent stationery from rolling off. The informal conference room consists of a distinctive lighting fixture by Bover, which almost seems like a sculpture. The walls are done in exposed concrete and adorned with images of some of the studio’s works. A piece of seating designed by Krea appears as a bench juxtaposed with the conference table, both in coherence with the rustic vibe of the room. The second floor houses the principal architect’s cabin and workstations. The cabin is planned with an idiosyncratic approach, with furniture that reflects panache and modernity. A light suspension by Kreon, above the table in the cabin, visually connects to both studios on different levels through the central cutout. A cluster of workstations in the centre is flanked on either side by rows of workstations. The 40-foot Barrisol luminaire on the second floor visually ties the entire floor plate together and highlights the axis created by the Alstonia tree. The cabin and the conference room are enveloped entirely in glass with full-height vision panels facing the central cutout to enable spontaneous communication, dialogue, and transparency.

The third floor opens up as a residential space with a bedroom, living spaces, and a staircase of its own. A cut-out space is created that runs uninterrupted through all the floors. On each floor, the walls of the cut-out are enhanced with artwork designed by artist Vibhor Sogani that resembles pencil shavings, aptly representing the studio’s character. The interiors are aimed at being a series of seamlessly unfolding spaces connected by a bridge on all floors and a staircase across floors. The staircase is conceived to serve more than its utilitarian role—as an open library running across all floors. All pieces of furniture are conceived as parts within the whole scheme with their unique stories. An opening cutting across all floors enables the cross-over of information, music, and ideas, thereby enabling appreciation of the human scale and interactions and tying together the functions and operations within the studio. A formal conference room on the upper ground floor, connected via the lounge, houses a conference table that represents dialogue and synthesis between individuals and groups who come together with various world views; it orients users to sit facing one another rather than a screen. The studio is a rustic, earthy, and contemporary expression of architecture and design, placed in a busy and unconventional setting.

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