31 Aug A funky office space for college students to create and collaborate in
Those who have studied literature or, for that matter, those who like to read, must have heard of an essay by Virginia Woolf, titled as “A room of one’s own”. This room that she spoke about was a literal and figurative space for women like her; a space that they lacked. This essay was a game changer in the field of literature, where it was believed that female fiction writers couldn’t be as great as male writers, like Shakespeare. However, Woolf argued through her essay that women are not given the peace and quiet of a private room, in the comfort of which their creativity can flow. Once, they are given that, their innovation will know no bounds.
This is true even for young college students. They are not ‘too young’ or ‘too inexperienced’ to take up big projects. They are ready for it. What they require is a ‘room’ of their own.
No, I’m not talking of a personal room in the parents’ home; most of them already have that. But they require the right space to channel their restless energy: a space which doesn’t restrict their ideas or extinguish their spark, and a space which inspires and facilitates their zeal. A space like Enterprise.
The Enterprise Space is a co-working space for you, the students of Pune. And it has been designed by one of you, Tanay Bothara, a 22 years old architect, fresh out of college.
Tanay received a call from the founders. The brief was simple. Design a funky co-working space for college students, a place they would like to work and hang out in. His timeline to complete the project was a month and a half. And on the next day, he was leaving for a 3 month-long trip to the USA!
But, he jumped at the opportunity, humbled by the trust the team put in his abilities to make it happen while being miles away. One visit to the site, which was an old typical office in disuse and Tanay’s mind was erupting with the possibilities of the space. His plan was formulated that day itself. All that remained was the execution.
Combining his forces with Yusuf Hakim, our very own resourceful man, Tanay commenced the transformation of the site. He gave directions over Skype and Whatsapp, while Yusuf procured raw material and did the groundwork. Disregarding the difference in time zones and the possibilities of a miscommunication, they made it happen in three months. The most astounding part is that the architect, himself, saw the space in person only after it had been completed!
When asked to describe the space in one word, Tanay called it ‘raw’.
For someone who hasn’t visited the space, I would like you to imagine what comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘raw’. It’s something unfinished, isn’t it? A thing in its natural state; untampered and fresh. And that is exactly the feeling you get when you step into the office.
The walls made of bison board have been left bare to give the look of a site under construction. Along with that, the black aluminium sheets used for the walls of the area we call the ‘katta’, the exposed pipes of the electric wiring and the element of the exposed red brick wall inside the ‘Deep Space’ room, are well aligned with the industrial theme.
The underlying ‘colours’ for his design have been black, white and grey. Even the ceiling in half of the space is black. And somehow, it magically makes it look more spacious than limiting the light. The brand colours, blue and fuchsia red, were introduced later into the design to align it with the brand image, designed by Anisa Shaikh. The blue is used in the carpeting, on the walls of the Pantry and in some of the text on the wall. While the red is used minimally to highlight the values of Enterprise written in Devanagari script, another unusual element of the space.
The space has been designed with flexible features so that it can be transformed for various activities and events. As you enter from the main door the first thing that confronts you are the words “Anushasan Sahas Vinamrata” or “Discipline Courage Kindness” written in Devanagari. These set the tone of the space and are the values which Enterprise represents. To the right of the main entrance is the Bizzbay, a small room for meetings, and right in front is a low stage. Diagonally to the left, is the main work area which has an open set up. Only one office-type work-station is made available on the far end. In the centre of the space is a high working platform with high stools.
The balcony area has been incorporated into the main hall, with bean bags thrown around for the students to lounge in. The rest of the area has been left free for movement. And when you look up from here, you can see the sky. Not literally, but a reproduction of the infinite blue sky on a resin surface, by Huzefa Hakim, Yusuf’s brother, has been installed.
It is a metaphor for the heights which the enterprising souls can reach.
There is a door, from the buzzing activity area, named Deep Space which leads to a smaller room, a room meant for contemplation. Here, the only pieces of furniture are a bookshelf and a stool. It has the softest carpeting so that anyone can sit down comfortably, to think, write, listen to music, meditate and just be with oneself. Even a young budding entrepreneur requires some peace.
The coolest rooms, though, are the two Think Tanks. The tiniest units, with fuchsia walls, are the only places where no one will disturb you. Where you can sit and come up with the best of your ideas, and have your very own eureka moment. Because the Think Tanks are the restrooms!
Apart from naming the toilets, Tanay has had fun with the space and added details which make it interactive. There is chalk in the washroom to scribble on the walls while thinking. Also, the doors of the cabinets and half the wall in the Deep Space have been made from whiteboard material, so that people can note down their to-do lists right there. And the element that ties it up together is the lighting. There are LED lamps which can be controlled through a mobile application and be made to produce any colour on the RGB scale!
It introduces the students to the internet of things.
It was a difficult task, though, to not go overboard and make it café-like. Tanay said, “I took a minimal approach for designing the Enterprise Space and kept it formal enough for work yet funky enough for students. The space is free to use as the user wants. The lighting was thoughtfully done to make it look like a studio rather than a café.”
What adds to his design capabilities is a social awareness. And Tanay, being environmentally conscious, has reused wood from the old office furniture to construct the tables and cabinets. He has revamped the whole place with upcycled resources.
Yusuf, who worked in close coordination with Tanay was very impressed by his fresh outlook. “He was very firm with the objective of the space and the vibe he wanted to create. But he was flexible within that framework. He was open to trying out different methods of actually achieving it.” They went to and fro on many occasions, making many revisions and changes, but Tanay was always flexible when required and firm when he needed to be. “These skills make him a true professional.”
The design has been well thought out to make young entrepreneurs think out of the box. Thought-provoking photographs, motivational words and inspirational illustrations are still being added all over the walls. The space is truly fluid. It is a work-in-progress, just like the minds of the students which will be moulded in this space. A room of their own.
Tarannum is a writer by profession. Having studied History and subsequently, Law from Government Law College, Mumbai, she analyses every aspect before she pens down her words. Her forte is telling stories which resonate with people across all age groups.
A compulsive Instragrammer, she prides herself on her ability to hook a viewer to her ‘story’.
Tarannum is currently working as a freelance content writer in Pune.