Recognised by WAN, Fast Company and Architizer A+ Awards, Imagine Studio at The Trees weaves nature, heritage and urbanism through a compelling narrative of evolving contexts to create an experiential narrative of legacy and vision for Godrej.
Replacing a large industrial campus in Vikhroli, a site integral to Godrej’s history, the collaborative scheme that began as a design for a marketing office evolved into an exercise for place-making in ‘The Trees’, a flagship development for Godrej Properties Ltd.
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 its elements were recycled not only to underline their relevance in past eras but also add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative. Studio Lotus + GPL Design Studio presented the Imagine Studio as an attempt to re-envision the customer journey for ‘The Trees’. The storyline was grounded in authenticity and a larger vision for the city germinated with timeless values.
Programmatically the buildings adapt into a marketing office, meeting spaces and a café besides several outdoor spaces to showcase upcoming residential and commercial properties. Two former power Co-Generation Plants and a Boiler Plant were repurposed to accommodate new functions as a Studio, Workshop and Cafe respectively. The timeless 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’, allowing the buildings to age beautifully over time.
The old louvers of the primary plant, now the Studio, were repurposed in Corten Steel and perforated with patterns. The newly-designed interiors derive inspiration from the “memory” of the metal silos - cylindrical units at the site. The silhouette of these forms offers contrast to the rigid geometry of the building, hence acting as a sculptural insert. Creating the gateway to the entire development with the Studio, the Workshop is a multi-functional space with sample apartments, a meeting area and a multi-purpose gallery for cultural events.
The 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. A tall chimney redolent of bygone industrial aesthetic has been treated as a graphic memorial. The Boiler Café, Workshop and Studio together create the edges of a vibrant public space that demonstrates the core philosophies of ‘The Trees’ and comes alive through events, a market street, an urban farm, an amphitheater and areas for public art installations.
Amalgamating and integrating industrial scrap with the plants, the landscape uses them as a story telling device. A Corten Steel strip inserted into the layout acts as a guiding pathway that subtly indicates the key experiences of the entire marketing journey. The buildings of Imagine Studio are newly defined as the memories of an industrial past; its contemporary form ready to shape new thoughts within its body. These sit sculpturally into a landscape, which with its places for public engagement and participation, will go on to evolve new ideas for the future.