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A dig down the Windmill PlaceBy Nikita Lall
Architecture Tweet 1 Comment(s)
Located in the suburbs of Gurgaon, within the heart of Aya Nagar village, an old house has been converted into an extraordinary architectural studio. Flanked by country style brick boundary walls and a wooden fence gate, the office of the architect has derived it’s notions from its peaceful surroundings as the architect puts it. The exteriors as well as interiors are given a weathered look with exposed brick walls, painted doors, timeless furniture pieces and carved decorative pieces.
Architect Pradeep Sachdeva, the mastermind behind public spaces like Dilli Haat and Garden of five senses believes in the philosophy of creating spaces that contextually blend with their surroundings. He wants the spaces to innervate the souls and hence his office is blessed with a sprawling green garden speckled with carved stones and decorative stuff that have served as prototypes of various projects.
Interestingly, there are three entrances guided by three staircases from the front, the garden and the courtyard. The refurbished office is built around a courtyard and as you take the stairs leading to the studio from any of the three sides, you will have to pass through few narrow bridged balconies connecting the two studio offices and the furniture showroom.
The ground floor around the courtyard as Senior Architect Vishwesh explains houses the furniture workshop where all the manufacturing work is done.
The exposed bricks on the inner courtyard walls have been restored with vibrantly painted windows. The tangerine pillars flanking the courtard strike their visual resemblance to the doors and windows on the first floor.
We could see the craftsmen engrossed in their amazing artistry. A staircase to the left led to the architect’s studios on the first floor. As Vishwesh Vishwanathan, Senior Architect at PSDA tells us, Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates was started in 1994 and back then, they had the office in Khirki Village.
We moved here in 2002.We were expanding and we needed more space. In Delhi, it’s quite difficult to find a space that could fulfill all your requirements. This land at Aya Nagar Village seemed quite affordable and promising.” He explains further.
This space was indeed big enough to incorporate the furniture manufacturing workshop, the showroom and the architectural studio backed up by a beautiful garden, a library, a store, a pantry and a room for scholars and people to stay over.
The studio is facilitated with a good number of seats, big enough for a team of 20 employees and is backed up by proper hardware and software required for working.
Meandering over to the furniture showroom, we could see an extensive display of designer furniture. There were sofas, chairs, coffee tables, wall hangings and home accessories.
The use of bold colors and extraordinary designs breathe a new air into the space. Built in the traditional country style, the showroom boasts huge arched doors and windows painted in a rainbow of intrinsic colors.
The floor is mosaiced throughout and the ceiling houses a bricked dome in the center. And, for a keen observer like me, doors and windows don’t go unnoticed. Each door painted in a special color theme has a special handle; I could spot in an instant elephants, leaves, flowers and various other shapes in door handles.
To me, the interiors give a reminiscence of houses built in 1930s-1940s where we had rooms adjacent to each other and separated by common doors. We can reach the second studio from the showroom via storeroom and library. The library has enough storage to take care of the sea of books pertaining to architecture and design.
The other end of the courtyard has a small terrace and a guest room. Descending down the stairs, you could enter the garden. The landscape was completely barren when they arrived here.
It was in the year 2004 when the developments began that work on the garden was started as well. Now after 10 years, the garden is populated with amazing varieties of citrus trees and bamboos and is inhabited by a variety of birds.
There are boulders and carved stones designed for a resort in Shimla, metallic figures designed for Delhi School of Art and benches designed for Garden of Five Senses.
One of the most striking aspects of the garden is the Reed Water Bed which is installed right in the lawn. The water from toilets flows through septic tanks and gets stored here. The harvested water as Vishvesh recounts is used for irrigation.
Then there is the pantry - where the team usually meets for lunch and sometimes, when occasion permits, they gather for a party.
Contrary to modern office cafeterias, the pantry in Windmills Place does not exhibit any sort of pomp. Rather, the décor is kept conventional - very much like other rooms in the building. The cafeteria also has vintage music system with speakers.
Well, in a nutshell, the Windmill Place is a right quintessence of a workspace that has been endeavored to embrace natural and original elements that keep the working spirit on a refresh mode all the time. And we don’t need to judge the productivity. It’s immensely evident.
Photo Credits: Devashruti Banerjee
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