In the Okhla Industrial Area of New Delhi, Studio Bipolar has reimagined a former 60’s era pharmaceutical warehouse into a new 6000 square feet office and film studio for a creative agency, named ‘WhiteBalance’.
Architect’s Firm: STUDIO BIPOLAR
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Completion Year : 2018
Built Area : 6000 sqft
Project Location : https://goo.gl/maps/N4Gg2MfdX3y
Photographer : Suryan//Dang
Photographers Website : www.suryandang.com
OTHER TECHNICAL INFO
Lead Architects : Ujjwal Sagar
Team : Manan Talwar, Sanjana Mathur
Clients : Robert Godinh
Contractor : Laying Infrastructure Pvt Ltd
The existing structure was one of dormant beauty. Be it the angular trusses supporting the asbestos roof, or the 14 inch thick exposed brick walls. These were to be the crux for the whole design to follow. A large mezzanine covered almost two thirds of the area and which was demolished entirely to showcase the towering trusses overhead. Another smaller one was built intelligently to provide for maximum viewing angles while not acting as an obstruction.
An existing 2’ thick wall divided the space even further, and was removed to connect the space horizontally as well as vertically. The concept was a simple one; ‘No Visual obstructions’; ‘One space’.
Adjacent Halls were interconnected through arched entries to create a workspace for the editing team. A sleeping nook was created above the private editing suite for this team that likes to work late hours into the night.
The conference room follows the same ‘One space’ principle. Tucked away under one half of the mezzanine, its doors were made of mild steel angles and glass which could slide out thus making the space larger while providing acoustic privacy if need be. Emphasis was given on providing as much natural light as possible and tall 15-foot-high brick arched windows were made on one side of the workspace to allow for the same. The mezzanine continued from one hall to the other via another arched opening thus overlooking the large multifunctional studio space, which would be used for screenings, product shoots or even as a secondary workspace. The mezzanine itself was used by the executives and thus were treated to the clerestory windows of the saw tooth roof, a part of which were made from scratch but followed the same design language as the existing ones.
Bespoke pallet wood tables were fabricated to the highest detail to go with the industrial aesthetic and aluminum-back arm chairs were made to stand out in the executive mezzanine.
It was essential to create a space that was modern and yet had an industrial language which would appeal to the employees of ‘WhiteBalance’ while also serving as a landmark for the rest of the industrial area of New Delhi that true hidden gems reside under the tin sheds of numerous abandoned warehouses, waiting to be adapted into something fresh and off beat.
This was a project where the architect and clients collaborated throughout, navigating the long bureaucratic process together as well as the design and construction phases. As an architecture practice Studio Bipolar believes strongly in a collaborative approach and are always heartened when the results are as fruitful as this one has been. Robert Godinho, founder and director of ‘WhiteBalance’ had this to say regarding his experience and the final product-
‘This is where I feel most at home, enjoying intellectual, creative points of view and having a pulse on all the ongoing projects. The energy and vibe of a creative hub is what defines the soul of the organization. Being in this space, helps me to live in the NOW, yet giving me the vision of what next.’
Sanjana Mathur & Ujjwal Sagar
Studio bipolar was started in 2016. The partners Ujjwal Sagar and Sanjana Mathur were batchmates at Sushant school of art and architecture.
For Sanjana it was a natural entry into architecture being the daughter of architects (Rajat and Sushree Mathur, Fountainhead, they’re based in Delhi and they do a lot of infrastructure work like Metro stations JNU new campus etc, one of their accomplishments include the recently completed Magenta Metro Line in New Delhi), and the strong arts program at Vasant Valley School set the tone by honing her talents.
Ujjwal however, took a little longer to find his way. After school he signed up for a bachelor’s degree in physics at Delhi University. A year in, the need to do something more creative was strong, and he moved into architecture.
The New Delhi-based students met at Sushant School of Art and Architecture where, ‘studying under wonderful professors like Rajat Ray and Anurag Roy who encouraged us to look out into the world and really ponder the meaning of “space”, recollects Ujjwal, co founder, Studio Bipolar.
Sanjana interned at Anagram Architects under Vaibhav Dimri and Madhav Raman. ‘Working directly under them, I was really taught how to design. I worked directly under them during my internship, and was exposed to how they design, and what they look for in a space. The best thing about Vaibhav and Madhav is that they gave me a lot of freedom to experiment with my own ideas, which built my confidence, something that’s really important for young architects. Had heard about this methodology of theirs, which became my main reason for my internship.’
Ujjwal meanwhile did his initial training at Design and Development Atelier (DADA) in Gurgaon under Sumit Arora and Mukul Arora. ‘At DADA, they focused upon, and developed my core technical knowledge. Every day was like a masterclass in fusing great design with great functionality. Their meticulous approach and attention to the minutest detail made a great impression on me.’
He then moved to Anagram Architects where Ujjwal and Sanjana got numerous opportunities to work side by side on projects. Madhav and Vaibhav continue to be their architectural gurus. ‘Not only were they great bosses, it was their approach towards resolving their designs which truly inspire us. They gave us wonderful advice when we left, saying “There will never come a time when you go ‘Ah! Now I know everything!’ All you can do is keep learning everyday”. A unique quality we found was that they don’t have a set “style”. Each project is dramatically, visually and spatially, different from their previous works. They taught us that there is always a new solution to every problem. Since then neither of us have stopped wondering – can this be done better? does it have to be done only this way?’ commends Ujjwal.
When they felt confident, Sanjana and Ujjwal decided to branch out on their own – and Studio Bipolar was born in 2016. Initially it was just the two of them working out of a Chaayos, sda market coffee shop! But gradually a variety of projects entered their growing portfolio and they moved into their own office space, and started to grow their team.
“We chose to call ourselves Studio Bipolar because we think of ourselves as “polar opposites”. We like to think of our work as an amalgamation of opposing perspectives as both us have dissimilar, yes distinctive design aesthetics. Ujjwal loves ultra-modern, minimalist design with graphic elements. I tend to favour a more eclectic/natural look, with lots of exposed brick and earth tones. For our Hwealth Café, we chose to maintain a very simple palette of pinewood and rough white walls. Graphic tiles were added to give a “punch’ to the space, to energise it,’ details Sanjana, and adds laughingly, ‘as you can imagine, trying to work together on anything more often than not ends up in an argument!’
Since starting work in 2016, Studio Bipolar has been involved in various residential, commercial, f&B and office projects. “there is no one kind of project that defines us. We are designing a 15000 sqft classic European inspired chateau alongside an adaptive reuse project converting an abandoned factory warehouse into an office!”