A decluttered playground of work and creativity—Inside the Surat office of D’WELL

JUN 13, 2022 | By Sneha Gandhi and Pratishtha Rana
A natural material palette is used across the space with lime based plaster for the walls and cast in situ micro terrazzo for the floors; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla
A witty blend of furniture and minimalism seen at the office space; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla
Minimalism reflects at every turn and corner of the D'WELL office; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla
The D'WELL office in Surat evokes curiosity; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

A designer’s mind seems to be under the same spell as Bellatrix Lestrange’s Gringotts vault (yes, that’s a reference to the world of Harry Potter!). Tap one thought and several others pop up. Admittedly, how does one escape long enough to find the ultimate focus?

The intriguing question of bringing focus amidst the constant city bustle somehow forms the precis of this office. Surat-based duo Jhanvi Mehta Shah and Rakshit Shah, Founders of D’WELL reimagine their architectural office as a minimalistic vessel and a creative cave positioned amid an urbane setting. 

Aptly dubbed The White Cave, the 750 sq ft studio nested in a commercial locale of Surat commands the attention of its occupants by cutting the clutter inside. A sense of mystery guided by the overarching theme of no-clutter and many corners that turn into abyss of creative design make you admire how well-being and work meld seamlessly in this office.

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The D’WELL office in Surat is imagined as a cave of minimalism; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

Segregating the indispensable from the dispensable, the office is stripped of all its distractions to render a binary setup. Dressed in white, the space is devised as a catalyst to zone out from the outside world and concentrate on the task in hand.  

“The ideology of minimalism is not constrained to the look and feel of the space but goes beyond, taming the emotions of the users and visitors,” divulges Rakshit.

The walls here model a lime based plaster; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

As one steps into the cave, there is an intentional transition from colour to monochrome, alerting the senses. By the time one reaches the reception area, the mind is already picking up on the subtleties of the cave.

The reception is a multi-purpose area serving as both a waiting zone and a dining setup by the day and doubling up as the entertainment hub post office hours.

A no-door concept is witnessed at the D’WELL office; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

Taking the focussed fortress theme a notch higher, the studio eliminates the static door design to opt for sliding doors that camouflage into the surroundings. The concept of no doors creates a ‘lost room’ of sorts. “So when a visitor enters the reception area, they are a little lost and require a moment to figure out the entry to the cabins,” reveals Jhanvi.

The instant disorientation engages the user, making them more aware of the structure, the space and the present. 

Deep toned furniture stand juxtaposed to the serene lime plastered walls; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

The reception further reveals the two focal areas of the studio otherwise known as the main office cabin and the staff cabin followed by the pantry. The main cabin, on the left, harbours all client meetings and group discussions. To diffuse the harsh West side sun, the cabin introduces a translucent glass wall curtain enabling optimum lighting conditions for comfortable working. 

On the other hand, the staff cabin borrows natural light from the entrance foyer via the book rack. The space takes the office’s no-clutter policy to heart by tucking away all excess storage to produce a clean room that replicates a blank drawing sheet eager for the next project. The space houses two movable stone tables meant to be clubbed together for occasional model-making sessions. 

Well being and tranquility imbue the sections and corners of the office; Photographs by Dhrupad Shukla

Echoing a monochromatic mood, the studio employs impeccable white walls enhanced by black-stained wood furniture and greys hued furnishings. The lime based wall plaster and the cast in situ micro terrazzo flooring are conscious preferences.  

The overall spatial arrangement of the office promptly conveys D’WELLs clear and meticulous hold on contextual planning and organising of any space, instilling work-friendliness, feeling of community as well as a sense of disconnect that lingers for a moment more than you’d imagine. 

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