An Altered Perspective

Imagine Studio, Vikhroli

Studio Lotus and GPL Design Studio

In an age where modernisation is deemed to be the key for development, people are rapidly moving towards creating advanced and concrete landmarks while ignoring the eco-friendly quotient. For such a scenario, recycled design is the need for the day. Studio Lotus & GPL Design Studio collaborated to create the Imagine Studio at Vikhroli by using adaptive reuse techniques that preach sustainability

Vikhroli has always been a vibrant test bed for new visions, experimentation and innovation. More recently, the Trees, GPL’s flagship development, has emerged as a successful prototype of a new way of thinking and delivering real estate in India. A brand new vision is currently underway – one that celebrates the Godrej legacy, values and offers the opportunity for brighter living.

The development journey for the project offers an interesting insight into mechanisms for value creation in real estate. The Trees is Godrej Properties’ flagship project and its success can be attributed in large measure to the clear and deliberate focus on design across scales from master planning to innovations at the dwelling level. The narrative of ‘Imagine
Life in the Trees,’ has consistently influenced the project’s positioning and product strategy, design, visual identity, place making, marketing communication, and customer outreach strategy in one seamless narrative.

Designed as the experience centre for the project, the Imagine Studio was envisaged as a microcosm of the mixed-use master plan, and as a place-making device within the development. The 3900 square metre Imagine Studio complex is an attempt to re-envision the customer journey with a narrative grounded in authenticity and weaving nature, heritage and urbanism through a compelling story of evolving contexts.

The collaborative project between Studio LOTUS and the GPL Design Studio transformed the small cluster of non-descript industrial buildings and its surrounding landscapes into commemorative identities seeped indelibly in the Godrej legacy yet an invigorating part of its new purpose. The intent was to illustrate an engaged public realm as a microcosm of the masterplan while preserving the site’s industrial heritage. Existing buildings and its elements were recycled, not only to underline their relevance in the bygone era but also to add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative.

Programmatically, the spaces of the Imagine Studio are adapted into a marketing office, sample flats, meeting spaces, a small café, as well as several outdoor spaces. Two former co-generation plants and a boiler were repurposed to accommodate new functions of a studio, workshop and a café respectively. A tall chimney redolent of bygone industrial aesthetics stands as a graphic memorial.

The newly designed interior experience derives inspiration from the ‘memory’ of the metal silos that occupied the site. Old louvers of the primary plant, now the studio, were recovered and repurposed in corten steel and perforated with patterns. The design stimulates 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.

Creating the gateway to the entire development with the studio, the second co-generator plant has been transformed into the workshop. A multi-functional space, it houses sample apartments, a meeting area and a multi-purpose gallery for cultural events such as art shows, talks and performances connecting the development back to the city and its people. The existing boiler plant between the studio and the workshop buildings was converted into an all-day café. Coupled with the large chimney, the studio, workshop and boiler café frame a large plaza ideal for activities embodying the project’s positioning of – ‘Live. Work. Learn. Play’. The public spaces come alive through events, a market street, an urban farm, an amphitheatre and spaces for art installations.

Sustainability is a key development principle for this project. Salvaged industrial scrap and found objects have been thoughtfully integrated with the landscape. A Corten steel strip inserted into the layout acts as a guiding pathway that subtly indicates the key experiences of the entire experiential journey to the avid discoverer. ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ – a collaborative art installation with artists Ali Akbar Mehta and Vidha Saumya provides an interesting glimpse into the Godrej’s group’s history that mirrors nation building and is depicted through the past, present and future within found silos clustered together in the legacy park of the complex.

The sample apartments at The Trees are thoughtfully curated by the GPL Design Studio to experientially imagine life in the development. The narrative is based on demographic research carefully woven into story telling across various touch points for both the 3 and 1 bed apartments. Evoking the idea of a family or homeowners with distinct personalities that have chosen to make a home here, the experience begins when the viewer walks in, and interrupts a regular day in the family’s life whose preferences and personalities in home making can be felt but they seem just out of sight. As the observer journeys through the rooms, a number of sensory stimuli tickle their imagination to create associations and aspirations that assist in making spaces their own, imbuing the experience with a powerful personal narrative.

About the firms

Studio Lotus is a multi-disciplinary design practice that believes in delivering enriching design solutions through a value-driven process empowering all stakeholders and the environment. The practice was founded in 2002 by Ambrish Arora, Ankur Choksi and Sidhartha Talwar.
Studio Lotus follows an iterative and incremental methodology of innovation and roots its learning in history and local context. It aims to craft solutions that are benchmarks of sustainable design in the way they address society’s changing ways of living and working.
The GPL Design Studio can be described as an open source framework that applies the principles of Design Thinking and powers the organisation to – ‘make good business sense, by design.’
The Studio’s collaborative co-creation format that has helped create tremendous intellectual property and shared value across geographies, agencies, projects, scales and experiences. The Studio’s strengths are a narrative based story-telling approach across space and media with work spanning design services across scales.


Fact File
Location The Trees, Vikhroli, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Client Godrej Properties Ltd
Design Team
Studio Lotus Amrish Arora, Ankur Choksi, Arun Kullu, Pankhuri Goel, Mira Asher, Sanjay kumar
GPL Design Studio Anubhav Gutpa, Namrata Mehra, Madhavi Sathe, Shraddha Dasgupta
Site Team (GPL) Amit Sharma, Shirish Kulkarni, Ninad Kocharekar, Santosh Gupte
Lighting Design Consultant Dhruvajyoti Ghose, LDP
Landscape Consultant AMS Consultants
Structural Consultant Sterling Engineering Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
MEP Consultant  ECOFIRST
QS & Costs Turner & Townsend
Structural Contractor  Pooja Architectural System Pvt. Ltd.
Interior Contracter Technic

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