For professional photographer Harish Shankar, his office provides an ideal opportunity to project his own personal style, creativity and passion, in two fantastic dimensions. And to interpret that concept as eloquently and imaginatively as possible, Harish allowed interior designers Aditi Kabra and Jamila Kapasi to mix sleek design with raw touches. You & I visits the photography studio that provides a variety of flexible spaces that exude colour, charm and character.
Stepping into the Jubilee Hills office of photographer Harish Shankar, one can’t help but notice the positive energy in the room. Raw yet lively, substantial yet relaxed, the space brims with both clarity and creativity, stemming from both the interior designers and Harish alike. Credit can be given to any number of factors, from the artfully layered photographs and quirky furnishings, to the less-is-more industrial aesthetic and the welcoming personality of Harish himself. “We understood the environment Harish wanted, and the project brief was to create a space that is a completely unfiltered expression of his aesthetic. To achieve this, we focused on a clean, masculine workspace, incorporating a mix of contemporary and quirky furniture and lighting to add character, while maintaining flexibility in the design,” begins Aditi Kabra, a freelance designer who has created the workspace with Jamila Kapasi.
When you’re in a business that resonates with both clarity and creativity, you want to be sure that your workspace displays these qualities loud and clear. The duo designed a relaxing work environment, with multi-functional zones like a lobby, studio space, a low seating area-like meeting space and the extended window seating – which also happens to be Harish’s favourite areas in the office – all with large windows that provide views of the surrounding neighbourhood. Strategically placed throughout the two-storey workspace are pictures, artefacts and other personal items. These items, which include vintage cameras, quirky shelving and accessories, double as props for Harish’s interaction and engagement with his clients and brainstorming sessions with his staff.
On the seating room and in the workspace, the high-ceiling lights run off the walls and across the ceiling, rather than onto the walls. Aditi explains, “We went for hanging lights because with the raw interiors, when everything touches the wall quite lightly, it adds more drama,” which is a feature that fulfils the aesthetic requirements. Although the glass windows maintain the natural light flow throughout, it adds texture and complements the existing palette of wood, steel, and brickwork beautifully. A stairway plunges through the side of the open-office floorplates linking the two levels. The second floor, like the rest of the office space, has been upgraded to meet the demand for Harish’s photo shoots with his clients.
Whitewashed columns and walls with grey accents provide a neutral backdrop, while the wood flooring – used throughout on the staircase and the second floor – and the bricks add interest. “We played with elements like metal, cement texture, unfinished wood and the raw brick walls to give a rustic touch. Basically, we were looking for texture and nothing too pristine,” Aditi says. On the colourful and quirky furniture selection, Aditi and Jamila bought a few from Mumbai and designed the rest themselves. One can go overboard when you are going for an industrial, timeless aesthetic; especially when it’s all already there, the task is to carefully bring it back. And in the end, the designers did just that. “While we used a lot of solid wood furniture, clean lines, and neutral colors, to make all of the spaces seem cohesive, we also incorporated the color palette of distressed blue, a tint of yellow, and used the shades sparingly so they wouldn’t overwhelm the room” she added.
Overall, the studio is a great example of how to merge urban with raw. They’ve accomplished this by using a carefully restrained colour and material palette in order to create a space that invigorates Harish’s clients, and ignites his team’s enthusiasm. - Anisha