By Marina Correa
Photography: Ravi Kanade;courtesy the architect
Transparency and functionality seamlessly integrated with technology in a ‘streetscape’ narrative infuses the new SP Jain School of Global Management, Mumbai with youthful exuberance…
Designed by Ar. Rajesh Patel, this 15,000 sq ft campus follows the branding principles of its predecessors in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney, stretching the mandatory classroom environs to an integral social scenario via a pedestrian street concept.
Extensive use of glass for the café, breakout areas, meeting rooms, library, etc. brings to life the concept of a meandering street with see-through shop windows, where activities can be seamlessly viewed, wrapping up the entire space in a contemporary idiom and fostering a smart and lively ambience.
A largely unassuming backdrop is peppered with dollops of colour, as the industrial ceiling with its barrage of services is aesthetically camouflaged in black; heightening the volume and highlighting the interior vistas. While grey tiles in the passageways and cafeteria aptly mimic a cemented street, an eclectic choice of carpets in all other areas fulfills acoustic requirements. Strokes of organic forms in the cafeteria tables; fluid red ‘striped’ cafeteria ceiling, mustard yellow pendant lights in the executive lounge... speak for the strong influence of a global cultural shift.
With smart technology being a driver for all modes of communication, the real challenge lay in concealing the wiring of all gadgetry within a chic aesthetic – a feat that is accomplished with aplomb.
The highlight is the subtle but definitive life’s lessons that make for metaphorical allusion in this campus. Dark ceiling vs. vibrant interiors could perhaps be likened to the war that wages within the student - between obtaining raw information and learning to process it into polished management jargon; aqua green walls and indigo blue carpet in the simulation room - symbolic of an ocean of knowledge; honeycomb ceiling pattern referencing teamwork; or the fluid forms being allegorical to the receptiveness of a young mind to be moulded into a responsible adult…
The campus does not for a minute allow the students to forget their purpose of being there: wall decals, 3D pop-ups, graphics of management gurus made out of actual books coalesce to reinstate wisdom from highly revered corporate honchos, and pop icon Lady Gaga too, clearly emphasizing that the institute and its architect have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the youth!