Explore Modern Workplaces In India: Japandi Minimalism, Biophilia, And Beyond

From biophilic design principles to the allure of Japandi minimalism, explore how these innovative trends reshape workspaces into serene, functional sanctuaries.

  • 3 Jul '24
  • 2:08 pm by Virender Singh

Feeling grounded in kinship with the surrounding landscape is not just about watering a ficus plant or playing birdsong ASMR within fusty, poorly-ventilated cubicles. With more peer-reviewed research backing up the direct correlation between biophilic interior design and recovery from psychological stresses, the focus has shifted to “creating an honest space with muted warm tones and textures punctuated by natural wood,” as Prashant Gurjar puts it, the principal architect of Gujarat-based Studio Karigari. 

The Raamah Office – With understated lighting from Ledos, sculptural accessories from Dtale Modern and soft furnishings from D’Decor, this space is his workspace in Vadodara emanates an understated yet refined sophistication. The artwork is by Avinash Gondaliya (Image Credits: Nilkanth Bharucha / Noaidwin Sttudio)


Contemporary workplaces are now choosing to uplift their overall ambience with open concept floor plans, smooth lines and understated hues. Scaling the heights of a luxury building, tentacles of Japandi minimalism have taken over this 3000-sq-ft biophilic office that Studio Karigari designed for Raamah, the leading real estate developer in Vadodara. Decked in forest green marble and hand-painted murals, Gurjar orchestrates a sensorial symphony. To pique visual interest, the design team injected hints of terra and tropical flourishes of wood and cane as a counterpoint to the lime-plastered walls. A paucity of salubrious daylight, ample ventilation and efficient thermoregulation systems can lead to what is known among architects as the ‘sick building’ syndrome. 

Having rediscovered a penchant for open-skied terraces, sliding glass doors and water features clad in china mosaic, Studio Karigari’s design team deftly pares down the inner-outdoors divide so nature can walk in with sylvan feet.

The Raamah Office – With earthy tones paying homage to a wabi-sabi palette, the space really ties together the Be Komfort office chairs, grey washed flooring from Jain Marble and Ledos lighting designed by Prashant Gurjar himself. The sculptural artwork by Abir Chakravarty lends a sublime elegance. (Image Credits: Nilkanth Bharucha / Noaidwin Sttudio)


Borrowing A Page From Nature

To be surrounded by organic elements is now highly desirable for productivity and holistic well-being; thus curved silhouettes, free-flowing floor plans and an unhindered view of the outdoors have increasingly become the status quo in next-generation workplaces. But perhaps more fascinatingly, an intuitive longing for cosiness, almost a life-affirming hygge material palette — having been sequestered indoors for so long during the lockdown — has irrevocably altered the very fabric of contemporary design. A primordial yearning for shapes, colours and patterns found in untamed wilderness springs from deep within the collective memory, transmuting into biophilic design interventions that can mimic nature’s potential to surprise and challenge us.



Also read: This Kozhikode Office Exemplifies The Rustic Minimalist Aesthetic

The Techspence Office – Illuminated by suspended studio-style lighting from Changi, this space incorporates space-saving furniture from Bosq, while the tiles from Kajaria flooring blend effortlessly with the minimalistic visual language. (Image Credits: Justin Sebastian)


The Permeability Of An Open Floor Plan

Open concept workspaces make it easier for colleagues to share ideas, network, and uphold accountability with each other. The Techspence office in Calicut is a homage to how retaining the original structure could be soothing in its spartan, mid-century rawness. A way to soften the edges for everyday use is by introducing an ensemble of potted plants, bespoke fabrics, and statement lighting. Retaining the original shell with its exposed ducts, high ceilings and tons of natural light, this office for Techspence’s cohort of young educators masterfully syncopates nonchalant brutalism with industrial-style interiors. 

The Techspence Office – To peak visual interest, the designers added pops of red in the decor, cement and brick textures and eye-catching wall art. A partition from Saint-Gobain helps delineate private spaces in a discreet, unobtrusive manner. (Image Credits: Justin Sebastian)


An exemplification of fluid spatial geometry, the premises fan out as an experimental playground for over 30 staff members to hold company meetings in the private conference room, work collaboratively at long tables or recline upon the many couches. “The central space is dedicated to the open-plan work area, bordered by an array of private rooms within grid-like walls of glass and metal,” elaborate Mohammed Anas and Nahal Ahamed, founders of Artystry, the Kerala-based firm that crafted this project. 



Also read: Three Contemporary Workspaces In India That Champion Colour And Texture

Oasis, the Level Supermind headquarters – Each space here emulates a backyard alcove with an Ikea carpet that adds a burst of vibrant colours, locally sourced vintage decor and evocative artwork from Doodle Mapuls. The (Image Credits: Pranit Bora Studio)


A Respite From The Urban Chaos

Helmed by Concepture Studios, ‘Oasis’ is an office space that dwells upon the unique intersection between vernacular sensibilities, colonial-style decor and tropical modernism. Composed by its principal architects Ar. Amal Nair, Ar. Yash Shetty and Ar. Kirthi Pillai resonates with the hyper-productive, life-affirming philosophy behind the meditation app ‘Level,’ this is where all the brainstorming happens. Unsurprisingly they have sought to infuse their stone cladding, concrete flooring and exposed metal utilities with an Indo-Caribbean burst of artwork and concept decor that seems straight out of a dream pop music video. “The approach path to the office is narrow, congested and chaotic, thus our main goal was to create a sense of openness the moment you walk into the space,” the design team revealed. 

Oasis – A menagerie of biomorphic furniture you glimpse here has been designed in-studio by Doodle Mapuls. The flooring has been composed in-situ with mixed marble in a luscious palladiana terrazzo style. (Image Credits: Pranit Bora Studio)


Level Supermind is a wellness app that aims at changing the current scenario of meditation by bringing in modernisation while sticking to traditional principles. Its inward-looking gaze has percolated into the visual language in its workplace design as well. Virtues of transparency and unrestricted spaces are the backbone of this outdoors-inspired expanse that fosters a laid-back vibe for a young, millennial workforce to thrive, away from the pressing needs of the metropolitan hustle economy. A maverick brushstroke paints over preconceived notions of how clerical and utilitarian an office space must look like, instead sprouting a profusion of lush indoor plants, colonial bungalow-style seating and evanescent Mediterranean visual motifs of mosaic replace older ideas of workplaces. “In simple words, we created a space that cancels out the chaos from one’s mind, which is a direct rendition of how the Level Supermind App functions,” the principal architects draw a charming parallel to their aesthetic purpose. 



Also read: A Futuristic Minimalist Office In Mumbai By Tushar Mistry Features Sleek Curves And Subtle Aesthetics

Luar Beauty Office – The founder’s private cabin echoes the brand identity with subtly graceful lighting from The White Teak, chairs and couches from Iram Boxwala Design Studio and Ikea while a centre table by Fleck ties the tableau together beautifully. The rug is from Obeetee and with H&M cushions, we can see visual continuity emerge with a muted palette. (Image Credits: Yadnesh Joshi)


Curved Walls And Smooth Corners

“We took a hands-on approach in customising our furniture, crafting the couches with wooden legs and softer edges for a comfortable yet stylish appeal,” reveals Iram Boxwala, an emerging architect from Mumbai. She recently composed an artisanal workplace for this upcoming personal care brand, Luar Beauty. With its rattan shutters, herringbone wooden parquetry and glamorous track spotlights, the Iram Boxwala Design Studio has seamlessly extrapolated the prevailing Beauty’s brand identity into the physical space. Constructed with fluted and clear glass, a clever two-way partition demarcates the founder’s private cabin from the communal open plan area, fostering connectivity and also allowing in natural light. Wrly designed tables with lime plaster legs and stone tabletops offset the flooring for a more uniform, cohesive look.

Luar Beauty Office – This reception is gently evocative in its fluid lines, bean-shaped supports, and stone countertop desk. The lighting from Golden Triangle, lime-plaster paint on the walls from Nileya Wall & Decor and Ikea chairs are a testament to functionality peppered with geological inspiration. (Image Credits: Yadnesh Joshi)


“A strategic placement of mirrors and minimalistic backgrounds ensures that the office seamlessly transitions into a versatile studio space for product shoots,” Boxwala explains. Starting as a cubicle in mornings that doubles up as a huddle space at the end of the day, our present-day workspaces have embraced multifunctionality with unprecedented flair. This way the social battery of the built environment is extended by a significant leap, establishing resourcefulness and belonging among employees. 

As you step into the founder’s private cabin, your eyes are immediately drawn to the lime plaster paint with a nano-coated texture omnipresent throughout the office, adding considerable depth and dimensionality to its walls. The shelves mirror the sensuous curvature seen in the reception area, maintaining a consistent visual language, tied together beautifully with local craftsmanship reflected in the tabletop décor. Every detail ranging from the choice of materials to the design elements is a nod to suppleness, indigenous materials and the value of appreciating imperfections. Much like a mundane, quotidian routine that may not always be exhilarating, the authenticity of ‘wabi-sabi’ in workplace design relies more on slow-cooked patience. 

A momentous departure from sterile, corporate workplaces, the zeitgeist among modern designers is all about elevating the human experience. From the serene sophistication of Raamah Office’s earthy tones to the urban oasis of Oasis at Level Supermind headquarters, each space reflects a thoughtful integration of natural elements and contemporary aesthetics. Whether fostering creativity in Techspence’s open-plan office or embodying artisanal elegance at Luar Beauty, these architectural marvels harmonise form with purpose. Going to work has never been more meaningful. 



Also read: Tira Beauty’s New Office In Mumbai Is An Ode To Skin Redefining The Workspace