Excerpt: GMM Pfaudler is a commercial space designed by architectural firm SHROFFLEoN. The space was intentionally broken down into smaller, more intimate spaces that allow the different teams to function efficiently and independently. The intention is to foster a boutique and smaller office environment, rather than the large open office floor plate that most corporates gravitate towards. The team, designed with clean, minimal surfaces that stand out against the window behind, is curated to create a visual and functional backdrop.
[Text as submitted by Architect] The project brief involved designing the head office for the leading supplier of engineered equipment to global chemical and pharmaceutical markets. Located in the upcoming business district of Mumbai, New Cuffe Parade, the 7500 sqft office space encompasses three zones; the directors’ chambers with its allied facilities, the senior management zone, and a general office area.
The directors’ zone holds the cabins for the two directors along with a spacious shared director’s lounge, tying the two spaces together. A remarkable floor-to-ceiling wooden and metal shelving unit takes centre stage in the director’s cabin. The team, designed with clean, minimal surfaces that stand out against the window behind, is curated to create a visual and functional backdrop. In the directors’ lounge, suede and copper panelling, designed as a modern avatar of the traditional panelling found in country clubs of old, finds feature.
The large general workspace is centrally located, with the senior management cabins on one side and the chairman’s zone. The space was intentionally broken down into smaller, more intimate spaces that allow the different teams to function efficiently and independently. By introducing multiple senior pods in semi-open cabins throughout the space, the fluidity of an open office plan was retained. The intention is to foster a boutique and smaller office environment, rather than the large open office floor plate that most corporates gravitate towards. The senior management cabins adjoining the general workspace see the use of polycarbonate sheets as partition walls, ensuring a certain degree of visual connection between the management and staff without disrupting the privacy of the individuals.
The reception area is marked by a greeting desk made of translucent backlit plexiglass, a statement piece of furniture custom-designed for the space. The cafeteria, designed as a place to relax and unwind, is complete with a glowing baffle wall of plants separating the executive dining from the typical cafeteria, hinting at the possibility of an open to sky courtyard between the two spaces.
Materially, the palette was restricted to subtle, neutral colours, with touches of blue, in sync with the colours of the brand, working towards an aesthetic that is executive in spirit yet not entirely imposing. The blue makes appearances throughout the office, serving as a base reference for numerous backdrops and storage units and as flooring in some of the cabins. Greystone cladding and dark brown veneer were mindfully selected to complement the various hues of blue that echo through the space.
The façade attempts to break away from the traditional fenestrations and provide a refreshing change in its aesthetics with a playful composition of openings. A stark material palette of black and grey zinc, punctuated by warmer panels of Parklex, is dominant throughout the facade. The construction of the façade occurs in layers, with the black outermost layer visually structuring the façade. A series of setbacks of horizontal bands in grey and vertical bars in Parklex fragment the controlled format, resulting in an irregular façade.
The outer skin of the building wraps itself in zinc composite panels. The zinc panels have a pre-engineered joining system, allowing for a maintenance-free façade with clean joints. Moreover, zinc, a self-healing material that develops a protective layer of zinc carbonate or patina as it ages, ensures the structure is sustainable for the years to come.
The residential tower is complete with an entrance lobby and a landscaped plaza on the ground floor. The focal point of the double-height lobby is a glossy brass ceiling with irregular punctuations for light. The brass panelled ceiling extends outside, creating a sheltered entryway to the lobby and acting as a guiding element, directing the individual to the elevator. The terrace houses an intimate entertainment zone and an infinity pool overlooking the Arabian Sea.