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A canopy of trees brings Studio Lotus’ workspace closer to nature

  • Interior Design
Dec 19, 2023
Beige workspace ideas – Beautiful Homes

Built over the late MLA Chaudhary Prem Singh’s home in Lado Sarai, New Delhi, the architecture and spatial design firm has created a space to grow a community of leaders

“The reason we moved here was because we were thrown out of our previous office—which was in a DDA flat—for taking up too much space in the colony’s parking lot,” chuckles Ambrish Arora (founder and principal at Studio Lotus, a New Delhi-based multi-disciplinary design practice) recalling his previous office built by the Delhi Development Authority. Once upon a time set up to plan, develop and construct affordable houses and offices under the Delhi Development Act to promote the development of the city, the burgeoning number of residents has now led to overcrowding in several of these localities.

 

In stark contrast, today, their studio in Lado Sarai spreads across three floors—which have been built as the team has grown. Each workspace looks out onto a courtyard that wraps around a green cover, which forms a protective canopy over the studio. “We started looking for places and were immediately drawn to this courtyard when we first saw the space. And it’s been a fabulous journey ever since we moved out of the residential complex,” says Ankur Choksi, a principal at the firm.

Each workspace looks out onto a courtyard that wraps around a green cover, which forms a protective canopy over the studio. Such is the unique setting at Studio Lotus, an architecture and spatial design firm in New Delhi that has created a space to grow a community of leaders.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

With generous-sized windows and doors across all the walls of each floor, the place is steeped with light and ventilation through the workday. “When we found this place, we had the opportunity to expand it, so we ended up carving out a lot of workspaces that directly face the courtyard. We also have terraces at multiple levels, and there’s an abundance of daylight that drenches the office at all hours. When we step into it in the morning, the place is fresh and alive. If one wants to work in the daylight, there are a lot of spots and corners to pull up a drawing and sit on a desk facing a window,” Choksi elaborates.

Team of designers that worked for this workspace – Beautiful Homes

Ambrish Arora, Asha Sairam, Ankur Choksi and Sidhartha Talwar of Studio Lotus.

Arora shares that the owner of the building they’re in today is the late MLA of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, Chaudhary Prem Singh, whom they felt would serve as a protective figure over the studio and its foreseeable future. “In fact, now, his family has had to move out of certain spaces to accommodate our growing business, but we’ve worked it out amicably,” he says.

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Generous-sized windows and doors connect each space to the outdoors.

“We never really got into how we’d evolve as a studio or how large we’d want it to grow over time,” says Asha Sairam, a principal at the firm, describing how she was part of a team of 25 when she joined in 2010, and today they stand strong with over 100 colleagues. “The growth has always been created by the people in the organisation—their desire to want to move to a new level or responsibility. Every time we find ourselves at a crossroad where there’s someone who feels they’re ready to take on something new, we sit together and design the organisation around them. This isn’t just about building beautiful spaces to work in, but also creating leaders.”

LESSONS LEARNED

Sairam says every project and every site has taught the firm new lessons about designing for a specific country or topography, its materials, and even the technology available. “Also the constraints we never saw coming,” she shares, explaining how while designing the restaurant Masti in Dubai, she learnt more about the materials that were available there and discovered how to use them in a responsible and sustainable way according to the country’s climate. There’s a similar arc in this studio, as well, where the red-brick façade, large open corridors, tall ceilings, communal workspaces that look into nature, and the strategically placed green cover outside keep each place naturally well-lit and breathable.

Wooden working desks for your office – Beautiful Homes

A lot of workspaces are designed to face the courtyard directly.

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Along with keeping the space naturally lit, the wall made with glass blocks also maintains privacy.

“I think our studio is quite unique,” says team lead Swati Seshadri of the space that started with a single floor and today spreads across three levels, with each one looking into the other across the central courtyard. “You can always see who’s coming and going through the staircase which is located outside—it's sort of a peek-a-boo situation! There are also different studio and meeting spaces on each floor, so we’re constantly going up and down for meetings, phone calls, brainstorming…it makes it more fun!”

 

She describes the organic setup without cubicles and closed-off spaces that’s visually “grown over a beautiful home. The surrounding trees that form a lush canopy over it always keep us closer to nature, fresh air and light. If you look from the courtyard, you’ll notice all the spaces that have been built over time coming together like patchwork.”
 

STEEPED IN CULTURE

For senior team lead Anusha Pulapaka, her favourite spot in the studio is the workspace where everyone sits together, which is on the level where the tree canopy opens up. “We look out onto this green cover which catches different hues through the day’s changing light. It becomes a very engaging, vibrant space that keeps us going through the day. I also step out onto the terrace often to take calls. What I really enjoy is that the studio isn’t designed to look and feel like a conventional office space—the indoors naturally flow into the outdoors, without getting cut off anywhere,” relates.

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The office features a red-brick façade and large open corridors.

“Our live-together, work-together culture is what makes the studio so special. We’ve all grown together as a community through the past ten years, and it’s been a fascinating journey,” Seshadri beams, adding “What’s special about the culture at our studio is that despite being in an industry that demands long working hours—often leading to late nights at the office—we have such a lively and friendly atmosphere here. It feels like we’re not really working but spending our time doing something we’re very passionate about enjoying ourselves along the way. Everyone comes together in the time we put in, and that’s what this studio has enabled.”

 

 

All Images by Avesh Gaur

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The firm’s accolades and reputed work have been displayed in the office.
Windows & curtains for your workspace – Beautiful Homes
A lot of spots and corners are designed to sit and work while facing a window.
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The place is steeped with light and ventilation throughout the workday.
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The office is designed with an organic setup without cubicles and closed-off spaces.
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There’s an abundance of daylight that drenches the office at all hours.
Vintage outdoor ideas for office – Beautiful Homes
The office features a red-brick façade and large open corridors.

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