Dezeen Magazine

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

Offices in a converted warehouse centre around suspended concrete staircase

A concrete staircase overlooked by a glazed showroom and library forms the centrepiece of this headquarters for a textile brand in Mumbai designed by SJK Architects.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

The offices for Synergy Lifestyles are housed in a former warehouse in the mill area of the Indian city's Kalachowki neighbourhood.

It was one of the first industrial buildings in the neighbourhood to be converted into offices when local office SJK Architects designed the original interior in 1997.

The initial design utilised the existing pitched roof and introduced skylights to bring daylight into the voluminous space. But in 2015 a fire destroyed most of the interior and required the building to be rebuilt from the inside.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

Following the fire, the outer shell remained intact and was retained, but an existing mezzanine was removed along with portions of the roof and a suspended wooden staircase.

The original design focused on lightness and spatial continuity, which are qualities that are retained in the reconfigured interior.

A new staircase that cascades down through the centre of the building echoes the previous design, and creates a focal point for the project around which the rest of the spaces are arranged.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

"The staircase has moved to centre stage physically and connects every other functional space like a courtyard," architect Namita Kara told Dezeen.

"With this avatar of the project, space and light were the key protagonists and we stripped away all other thoughts and materials to retain this essence."

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

The central "courtyard" area is illuminated from above by new skylights that extend along the length of the space, whereas the previous ones ran width-wise along the trusses.

The staircase is anchored to the ground and the metal structure of the upper level. A wide landing at the midpoint required additional support so it is suspended from one of the roof trusses.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

Studio spaces, workrooms and offices on both levels are enclosed behind glass partition walls that maintain a visual connection between the various departments and allow light from the central atrium to reach these peripheral areas.

Whereas the previous design featured plenty of vibrant colour, the renovated space employs a more muted palette that allows the company's bright textiles to stand out.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

The architects created a predominantly grey box that provides a neutral backdrop and focuses attention on the architectural features and honest surface finishes.

The exposed mild steel column-and-truss structure was stripped back and painted black to emphasise its geometric lines.

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects

Rough concrete walls introduce a distinctive patina, while wooden surfaces and a tiled floor add instances of warmth and pattern to the space.

Photography is by Rajesh Vora.

Project credits:

Architecture: SJK Architects
Design team: Shimul Javeri Kadri, Vaishali Shankar, Roshni Kshirsagar, Michelle Pereira, Nikita Shahdadpuri
Structural engineers: Unique Concrete Technologies
Interior contractor: M/s Nirmaan
HVAC consultant: Rumi H Bharucha Consultants
HVAC contractor: Space HVAC Systems
Electrical contractor: SEW Engineering

More images and plans

Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects
Ground floor plan
Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects
Mezzanine level plan
Office in Mumbai by SJK Architects