In the 1960’s, the Defence Colony neighborhood, or DefCol in New Delhi parlance, was where retired members of the Indian Armed Forces resided. Today, it’s a commercial hot spot lined with retail stores and exotic restaurants. One of the area’s new low-rises is home to an office with an American backstory, but it’s by homegrown firm .
The Indian outpost of Esquire, the New York–based men’s media brand, was built to house employees of an upcoming Esquire-themed nightclub nearby. “The client saw the office as an ambassador for the club,” Studio Bipolar co-founder Sanjana Mathur says. “He envisioned potential partners walking in and immediately understanding what they were investing in.”
The result is a bright and quirky 1,200 square feet filled with pattern and Piet Mondrian–esque colors inspired by art deco, the era in which Esquire magazine was founded. It’s a far cry from the glass and wood boxes common among the city’s other workplaces. “Our client encouraged us to think of the space as a beacon for the modern, sophisticated-with-a-twist man,” co-founder Ujjwal Sagar adds. The open plan offers various places for the 12 staffers to work, including a bar-height counter accessorized with a half dozen framed Esquire covers.
Instead of walls, there are partitions of blue powder-coated steel inset with panels of red and blue glass in round, oval, or square shapes, allowing for easy—and colorful—face-to-face collaboration. Black and white enters the palette via the striped vinyl wall covering and a communal work table topped in the same material. All these vivid interventions, by the way, had to be installed without making any structural changes.
Additional challenges came in the form of having to translate English-language construction documents for Hindi-speaking laborers. But the outcome is an almost exact reflection of the original design, otherwise known as, according to Mathur, “sophisticated madness.”
Project Resources: From Front: R Z Design: Custom Wall Covering (Meeting Area). : Custom Wall Covering Material. : Custom Chandelier (Conference Room), Custom Lamp (Break-Out Area). Sattva: Beanbag Chair (Break-Out Area). Throughout: : Inset Glass. : Glass Film. : Custom Floor Strip. : Lighting Consultant. JSPL: Metalwork. Bhavanna & Sons: General Contractor.