PROJECT AREA: 5000 Sq.ft. | Completed December '2019
Our client, a dancer by profession, decided to turn part of her property at Nepean Sea Road into a gallery space for exhibiting and promoting craft. The existing stand-alone two storey structure was a circle in plan, the lower level completely column free, save for a fat central column, and a doughnut-like peripheral mezzanine that created a double heighted central space. In keeping with the brief and our client’s simple, restrained but clear sense of aesthetic, our proposal involved peeling away years of false ceilings, claddings and hoardings to the reveal, enjoy and celebrate the simple geometry of the circle and the clean symmetric lines of the existing 1980s structural system.
The road abutting the site, having two levels, created a visual relation to the interiors that could be experienced by the onlooker at both floors. As a result, except for the walls required for display internally, all other external walls were converted into doors / windows to bathe the space with natural light and to bring the context within the visual experience of the space. At the lower level wood and glass paneled doors were proposed as opposed to typical glass display windows, to firmly announce that the Craft Centre is not a regular retail commercial outlet, but a space that invites one and all for discussions and exchanges on all things art, craft, and heritage that are worth preserving. At the upper floor, on the other hand, wooden paneled windows made the façade very dated; so we provided large sheets of glass fixed seamlessly in a polygonal format to work with the curved external wall. This combination onthe façade at the two levels makes for an interesting juxtaposition – simultaneously old world and contemporary.
As the space is intended to exhibit work of artisans, the design also intends to adopt craftsmanship prevalent in the construction industry. Thus the material choices for the Craft Centre were based on traditional building ‘crafts’. Amid the wooden panel doors; custom fabricated brass hardware, brass fabricated railing/display rods and in-situ terrazzo flooring are crafted elements that constitute the interiors. Alongside, old paneled doors and decorative lighting fixtures have been sourced from Lakda bazaar and Chor bazaar which have been re-configured to be fitted with hardware and lighting technology relevant to today’s market availability and context.
Thus just as all craft must reinvent itself to survive with the times, so is the design of the Crafts Centre layered with contemporary detailing – much of it emerged as a way to deal with the unique geometry of the existing structure and the site.
Plan of the office layout
Exterior of the building