Telling a story through design
LocationMIDC, Andheri, Mumbai
Design teamNinad Tipnis, Vipul Tapke, Vikas Chodankar, Abhishek Manerikar, Janhavi Nargolkar, Aakanksha Tayade
Civil contractorJTCPL Designs
Project area65000 sft
Initiation of projectApril 2015
Completion of projectDec 2017
There is a lot that the practice of architecture shares with that of jewelry making; both rely heavily of aesthetics and design. Deftly combining the principles of practical office space design with the intangible magic of what the jewelry symbolizes, JTCPL Designs brought to life a structure for KBS Group that embodies the brand’s ethos and personality, where each space tells a tiny tale that eventually adds to the Group’s story and journey so far.
Designing office spaces is a complex process. Unlike residential spaces that are expected to ideally reflect the personality and preferences of the inhabitants, office spaces have a number of variables. Firstly, they have to be designed in a way that suits the functions and activities of the business. Then, the employees need to be comfortable, relaxed and inspired by the space they inhabit for most of the day, or night in case of shifts. The space also has to reflect the culture of the organization. Moreover, it must clearly mirror the ethos and vision of the business. And lastly, it must inspire the client’s trust and willingness to conduct business with the organization. Any discrepancy in any of these complex variables could often lead to dissatisfied employees, or worse, unwilling clients. Needless to say, both these situations can be massively damaging to the organization or business.
This is especially true for business that cater to the aspirational needs of clients. Such businesses rely heavily on creating and maintaining credibility amongst their clients. Their brand perception and image are thus extremely important, and at times for the classic ‘first impression is the last impression’ principle. Thus, for architects designing spaces for such businesses, the challenge is compounded even further. For JTCPL Designs, the creation of KBS House in Andheri, Mumbai for the KBS Group too posed a similar challenge. KBS Group is a renowned name in the diamond and jewelry industry, with over four decades of industry leadership
to their credit. To commemorate four decades of existence and leadership, they envisioned a flagship headquarters that would embody their brand, its legacy of high quality materials, creative designs, and impeccable execution.
For this, the clients had identified a site in Andheri, a former industrial precinct in West Mumbai that is now a prominent business district. The area has undergone considerable changes in the last few decades and is now one of the prime locales for corporate offices. Perhaps this rise that Andheri has experienced– from a humble industrial precinct to one of the most prestigious business districts of contemporary times – found resonance with
the KBS Group that has evolved over the last 40 years, and thus, locating their headquarters in an area that has, much like the Group, grown to enjoy a place of pride seems apt. The idea was to develop an innovative, world-class space that would house inspiring workspaces for employees and experience centres for clients that would showcase KBS Group’s values, heritage and the future growth trajectory the brand expects to embark on.
The brand prides itself on being a one-stop shop for bridal diamonds. This 360-degree, holistic approach involves a flawless end-to-end process right from sourcing stones, product manufacturing, polishing, product design, marketing and execution, with precision, focus and quality-mindedness deeply entrenched throughout the process. Thus, to ensure that this quality is also present in the design of their headquarters, KBS Group was particularly keen on the architects also involving a seamless, single-source delivery that involved visioning, workplace strategies, architecture, interiors, MEP design and construction services. Thus, mirroring the KBS brand’s connection with a 360-degree vision and flawless execution the architects took on the project on an end-to-end basis.
The building has about 65,000 square feet of space that includes 7 floors and 2 basements. The design is a juxtaposition of different zones that come together to form a holistic picture, much like pieces of a puzzle. Some areas are stark, grey while others are a riot of colours. Some areas provide spaces for contemplation and introspection, while some showcase the brand’s ethos and products with pride. Some space channel Bollywood, while some resonate the environment of a pub-café. And yet, throughout these seemingly disjointed spaces and ideas runs a central theme – of love, and rings. As the brand deals in bridal rings, diamonds and jewelry, the central theme of rings is a brilliant choice, reinforcing brand recall wherever you go within the building. Even the façade has an abstract of two rings, a hallmark of the KBS logo, set within a network of interconnecting nodes, representing the company philosophy and global connectivity.
Having complete control on the interior can often be a disadvantage, especially if the architects are unable to incorporate restraint in their design. Often, in such cases, one tends to go overboard with accessories and artefacts, deviating the focus from the brand. Yet, the KBS House is delightful in this sense. Though there are several rooms, or so to speak, with several design themes, the central theme keeps them connected. There are quirky inclusions like swings, and tree trunks used as seating or tables, meeting rooms where the walls are punctured with showcase-like voids, typography and quotes as highlights on several walls, quirky chairs and artifacts like an ‘ice-gola’ machine and auto-rickshaw meters… all add to the charm of the spaces. Not only does it delight the everyday employee, but also visiting clients that are enticed with the sense of discovery as and when they enter a new space, and discover something new. The casual yet classy treatment is what relaxes the clients, who might already be overwhelmed by important shopping decisions –we all know how stressful wedding jewelry shopping can be! To have successfully added a fun, informal element to an important shopping event that doesn’t trivialize the brand and its products is perhaps what the design does best here. It is also to be noted that Sushil Choksey and Devanshi Shah, who were key members from the client’s team eventually transited to the architect’s team and supported the project wonderfully.
If jewelry design is an art, designing structure that houses such artistic talents is a bigger challenge. It requires the practicality of office space design, with the flexibility of an art studio that not only inspires creativity, but also fosters the brand’s vision into the subconscious of the inhabitants – whether semi-permanent such as the employees, or transitionary or temporary such as the clients who visit. The visual vocabulary of the KBS House does this, and more. And in doing so, it also infuses efficiency into the process by using the brand’s single-source delivery model, thus cutting costs and streamlining the execution to achieve flawless results, much like KBS does with wedding jewelry.