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Manoj Patel Design Studio (MPDS), Vadodara, the office of Architect Manoj Patel embodies theories, ideas and innovations that abuzz the design and architecture world – sustainable low-cost construction, adaptive re-use, truthful use of material and so on. It also encompasses art, colour and textures interwoven into a sophisticated décor. But the aforementioned is not limited to achieving an office décor or showcasing trends. It is a canvas, a body and a machine designed by Architect Manoj Patel to illustrate design ideas in materiality; all in the course and spirit of experiments.
Within their practice, the firm investigates and explores unnoticed or under-appreciated materials. They lean towards the conventional but push their boundaries, functions and implementation. For his own office, Manoj Patel wished to capture light, shadow, their various compositions and drama. He also wanted to exhibit that frugal does not compromise on quality. He experimented with discarded chairs and plywood chips, but neither proved successful.
The architect found his ‘light and shadow’ muse in metal corrugated sheets given its undulating wavy profile. New corrugated sheets cost 20 – 25 in sizes of 4 feet X 8 feet or 4 feet X 10 feet. But they bought second-hand corrugated sheets at half the rate from a construction site. Certain pieces were damaged at the edges. They were cut and the resulting new size of sheets were cladded horizontally and vertically across the office.
The walls weren't accurately perpendicular to the floor. If fixed on uneven surfaces, the sheets would bend. At places where corrugated sheets needed to be screwed, pinewood frames were fixed to the walls. This created a levelled mount. A ‘beading patti’ detail was used to hide overlaps in the corrugated sheets which resulted in a seamless ‘rising and falling’ wavy profile. A denser pinewood grid was constructed on the ceiling to secure the sheets against gravity.
While the corrugated sheets offered the desired third dimension to the wall, painting them posed another problem. The paint would peel off. Even applying various primers proved unsuccessful. They eventually discovered that two coats of red oxide allowed the paint to settle evenly. The sheets were dried for five days and then painted.
Located in a commercial building, Manoj Patel Design Studio is one of many office-flats arranged in a row. The office has a single window on its west wall which receives harsh sunlight post 2 PM. This area is the architect’s cabin. Vertical louvers are used on the window which regulate the sun rays but ensure that the cabin remains lit. The wall between the cabin and office is a partition wall built with glass panels in a pinewood frame. A cut-out with ventilators at seating level is provided in the wall to keep the office ventilated.
The ventilators are finished in pinewood on one side and painted on the other. The office is either a riot of colours or a space bedecked in classic wood. Similar grids and ventilators are deployed across the office to illustrate different finishes and colour schemes. The wall behind the receptionist’s desk at the entrance is fitted with MDF panels in different colours. The horizontally movable panels are fixed within aluminium channels that can be easily replaced. What appears as a feature wall or accessory is a ‘sample-board’ where clients can try colour combinations. The only constants in the office are its metallic ceiling lights and pinewood floors. Moreover, the office décor; the corrugated sheets, pinewood frames, the ventilators and ‘mock-ups masquerading art’; can be disassembled and assembled sans breakage.
The artistries at the entrance are a curation of the aforesaid design ideas, experiments, models and mock-ups. A mural is created with finishes used inside the offices. The door is made in pinewood frame with glass panels. Corrugated sheets replace glass in the central lock panel. The assembly of the main door against a solid blue wall is the perfect indication of all the explorations and adventures that transpire inside Manoj Patel’s Design Studio.
To stay updated or to check out more of Architect Manoj Patel’s work, visit the studio’s website here.
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