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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Truthful Reinterpretations

By Vinita Wagh
Photography: Rajesh Vora; courtesy SJKArchitects
Read Time: 2 mins
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The refurbished Synergy Lifestyles Office (inset) Team SJK Architects

Honest expressions and transparent spaces - this warehouse-turned-office is a modern-day renaissance project by SJK Architects.

Located in the Kalachowki Mill Area in Mumbai, this space has been home to the Synergy Lifestyle office since 1997. As one of the first industrial warehouses that converted into an office, the project marked a milestone then and has since been a nostalgic breakthrough for SJK Architects, who have now renovated it once again after a fire gutted the interiors.

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The earlier design explored the potential of the roof and skylights, focussing on the continuity between spaces and the uniform light filtering into the volume within. Alternately, the new design offers more programmatic clarity and is transparent and open in terms of its spaces, materials, and ideas.

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Apart from the retained structural framework that lays exposed to guide the project, two elements steal the show - the light and the staircase, their essence carried forward from the earlier design. The exposed concrete suspended staircase, anchored only at two points, marks the central atrium core - creating a strong focus that binds the other spaces together. Natural light now penetrates in through newly created pockets and lightwells, dramatically illuminating the cafeteria and emphasizing the grey POP wall with the staircase in the forefront.

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While the architects choose to entirely retain the window-inlaid Malad stone fa├žade, they alter Juliet’s balcony to include gentle triangular setbacks fitted with large metal doors, thereby visually connecting the levels.

Careful detailing overcomes finishing challenges for exposed and bare elements - from steel welding to exposed concrete. With a muted palette as a canvas for the clean lines of the steel trusses and internal framework, its monotony broken by an illustration of pattern and composition of materials, the space radiates neutrality and highlights architectural features.

Through its unembellished elements, the design continues to embody the spirit of the place - a space that is bold and exposed, yet inviting and warm!

Fact File:
Client: Synergy Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd.
Architect Firm: M/s. SJK Architects
Design Team: Shimul Javeri Kadri, Vaishali Shankar, Roshni Kshirsagar, Michelle Pereira, Nikita Shahdadpuri
Project Area: 5950 sq.ft
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra

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