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Written and Contributed by

Studio Lotus + GPL Design Studio
Delhi, India + Mumbai, Maharashtra


An adaptive re-use project in Mumbai, the Imagine Studio weaves nature, heritage and urbanism through a compelling narrative of evolving contexts.

What is the project about?

The scheme, which was initiated as a design for a marketing office, shaped into an exercise for place-making in ‘The Trees’, a flagship development for Godrej Properties Ltd. The Imagine Studio project replaces a large industrial campus in Vikhroli, a site integral to the Group’s history. It is here that seeds of a modern, integrated industrial township were planted, realized and are now being taken forward into the 21st century with the contemporary mixed-use master plan of ‘The Trees’. Designed as the Experience Centre for ‘The Trees’, the Imagine Studio addresses the challenging need to relate the forthcoming chapters of Godrej’s vision through the realm of its origin. 

The intent was to illustrate an invigorated public realm as a microcosm of the master plan while preserving the essence of the site’s industrial heritage. Existing buildings and their elements were recycled to underline their relevance in the bygone eras and add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative. The buzzing public spaces will eventually extend the edge of the gated development to include the community and city in its activities. 

Two former power co-generation plants and a boiler were repurposed to accommodate new functions as a Studio, Workshop, and Cafe. A tall chimney redolent of bygone industrial aesthetic has been treated as a graphic memorial.

The old louvres of the primary plant, now the Studio, were recovered and repurposed in Corten Steel and perforated with patterns. The design simulates the filtering of light from the leafy canopy of rain trees at the site – changing as the day progresses and connecting the spaces to key memories and identities.

The newly-designed interiors derive inspiration from the “memory” of the metal silos – cylindrical units that occupy the site. The silhouette of these forms offers a contrast to the rigid geometry of the building and hence shows up as a sculptural insert. The silo and chimney suspended within the space root it as a recall of the industrial process and are used internally as a cycloramic projection for the marketing team.

Creating the gateway to the entire development with the Studio, the second co-generator plant has been transformed into the Workshop. A multi-functional space, it houses sample apartments, a meeting area and a multi-purpose gallery for cultural events such as art shows, talks and performances. The interiors connect seamlessly with the outdoors thus expanding the areas of the activities and driving the dynamism of the landscape and the public domain.  

The existing Boiler Plant was converted into an all-day café by retaining the structural framework and a boiler tank as a memory of its original intent. The Boiler Café, Workshop and Studio together create the edges of a vibrant public space that demonstrates the core philosophies of ‘The Trees’. The landscape design strategically re-purposes the heritage environment in a more urban, community-centric setting. Amalgamating industrial scrap and integrating them with the plants, uses them as a storytelling device. 

Project Funded by

Godrej Properties Ltd

Stakeholders Involved

Design Lead:
From Studio Lotus: Ankur Choksi & Pankhuri Goel;
From GPL Design Studio: Anubhav Gupta, Namrata Mehra

Design Team:
From Studio Lotus: Ambrish Arora, Arun Kullu, Mira Asher, Sanjay Kullu;
From GPL Design Studio: Madhavi Sathe, Shraddha Dasgupta, Karam Sharma (Legacy Silos), Jyotika Purwar (Urban Farms) 

Site Team: Amit Sharma, Shirish Kulkarni, Ninad Kocharekar, Santosh Gupte

Structural Consultant: Pramod Sahasrabuddhe, Sterling Engg Consultancy Pvt Ltd
Mechanical Consultant: Rakesh Sharma & Rahman Shaikh, ECOFIRST
Electrical Consultant: Rakesh Sharma & Rahman Shaikh, ECOFIRST 
Landscape Consultant: Amod Shevde, AMS Consultants
Plumbing Consultant: Rakesh Sharma & Rahman Shaikh, ECOFIRST 
Lighting Consultant: Design Dhruv Jyoti Ghose, LDP
QS & Costs Consultant: Turner & Townsend
Structural Contractor: Kalpesh Chawda, Pooja Architectural System Pvt. Ltd.
Interiors: Parag D. Sangekar, Technic Construction

What is the impact?

The buildings of Imagine Studio are newly defined as the memories of an industrial past; its contemporary form ready to shape new thoughts within its body. These sit sculpturally into a landscape that will go on to evolve new ideas for the future with its places for public engagement and participation.

Imagine Studio was a Finalist for the Adaptive Re-use Building of the Year and Metal in Architecture Project of the Year at the World Architecture News (WAN) Awards 2016. It has also won Special Mention at the Architizer A+ Awards 2017, Honorable Mention at the Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards 2016 and the Blue Elephant at Kyoorius Design Awards India (2015 & 2016).

Images by Studio Lotus, GPL Design Studio, Edmund Sumner | © all rights reserved

Technical Drawings:
Drawings by Studio Lotus & GPL Design Studio| © all rights reserved

Links to read more:

A link to the project.

About Studios:

Studio Lotus:
Founded in 2002 by Ambrish Arora, Ankur Choksi and Sidhartha Talwar, Studio Lotus is acknowledged as a thought leader in the country for its work in the domain of Architecture and Spatial Design.
Our work is grounded on the principles of Conscious Design, an approach that celebrates local resources, cultural influences, keen attention to detail and an inclusive process. We follow an iterative and incremental methodology of innovation and root our learning in history and local context. We aim to craft benchmark solutions that address society’s changing ways of living and working.

GPL Design Studio:
Over 700 million Indians look at Godrej to access a better lifestyle. At Godrej Properties, our product proposition is predicated on design-led innovation that is based on research. Our in-house GPL Design Studio is a unique collection of creative leaders who work with the best and brightest minds globally to co-create and deliver our promise of brighter living for every project.