The Imagine Studio is an adaptive reuse project that weaves nature, heritage, and urbanism through a narrative of evolving contexts. The 1000 sqm scheme, which was initiated as a design for a marketing office on a 1-acre site, was shaped into an exercise for place-making in ‘The Trees`, a flagship development for Godrej Properties Ltd. in Mumbai, India. 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 era and add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative. Two former power co-generation plants were repurposed to accommodate new functions. The old louvers 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. A tall chimney redolent of bygone industrial aesthetic has been treated as a graphic memorial. The Workshop houses a multi-functional space, sample apartments, a meeting area, and a multi-purpose gallery for cultural events such as art shows, talks, and performances. An 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 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. The architectural forms derived from the current industrial sheds and the materiality of concrete, Corten steel, brass, and timber work on the principle of ‘Wabi-Sabi`, which allows the buildings to age beautifully with time. The materials were deliberately chosen to add layers to the sequence of events planned for the project. While concrete indicates the existing shell work, Corten steel reinterprets the idea of the original form. 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, it uses them as a storytelling device. The buildings of Imagine Studio are newly defined as the memories of an industrial past, sitting sculpturally into a landscape, which, with its places for public engagement and participation, will go on to evolve new ideas for the future.

Constructed, 2015
Commissioned, 2013