Iram Sultan Design Studio conceives allegorical interiors for pharmaceutical giant Zydus Cadila’s office in Ahmedabad
NOV 16, 2020 | By Aneesha Bhadri
Zydus Cadila’s new 20,000 sq ft office in Ahmedabad doesn’t look like your stereotypical workspace of a pharmaceutical company. Spacious and contemporary with curved corners, clean silhouettes and a light palette, it has been transformed by Iram Sultan Design Studio into a distinctly aesthetic centre with thoughtful allusions to the medical field.
Iram Sultan and Mohit Kansal worked on the project along with site contractors Garnet Pvt Ltd. “The space was a raw, bare shell when we first saw it. Zydus Cadila is a pharmaceutical company and the design intent was to ensure that their office reflected what they do,” says Sultan, adding, “Our designs are always inspired by the two Cs—context and client. So, first up, is the context…that this is the office floor for the chairman of a large pharmaceutical company.”
So, Sultan and the team turned to the two shapes most common in pharmaceuticals—that of a capsule and a pill—and incorporated these into the design. This is clear from the layout itself, including the brickwork that renders rounded corners. The smaller, subtle references include the inlaid pieces of bronze on either sides of all doors and the mouldings that depict two halves of a broken capsule.
The receding arches create an interesting perspective in one of the long corridors leading to both the wings…as the ceilings dip, curve and vault in fluid continuance. Art plays a significant role in the design of Zydus Cadila’s office. Works by prominent Indian names such as Atul Dodiya and Arpita Singh elevate the space, while British artist Damien Hirst’s pill series is hailed the piece de resistance.
“We worked with various designers—Zikwa created custom pieces for the office, Rooshad Shroff created a table with pressed dried flowers, Loco Design worked on the massive board table and a desk, and finally, Klove Studio fashioned a wall installation based on equipment used by apothecaries of yore, the origins of pharmaceuticals. The design is bespoke and contextual in more ways than one,” says Sultan.
Colours for the custom crafted, leather table in the board room are borrowed from the company logo. The table also playfully interprets the cross form in multiple ways—from bronze inlays to sculpted 3D forms. Meanwhile, the flooring inlay pattern seen across the corridors is also derived from the logo.
The division that works on developing purely organic products is given a custom designed table for its meeting room, where the base mimics a rock. The curved corners of the walls have a handmade installation of porcelain art pieces by Zikwa, which is an abstract representation of all the natural ingredients that the products are made of.
The materiality of the space is crisp, balanced and elegant. Warm dyed oak veneer on the walls is offset by sharp black and white stone inlay of the flooring. The pale grey stone floor is soft yet warm. It contrasts against the wooden floors of the individual, darker toned offices. Understated strips of bronze draw clear lines to accentuate the spaces. Another element of softness is the dining room table with lacquered dried flowers, while the lighting by Vis À Vis takes the interiors to the next level.
“Detailing is vital to this space. Take, for example, the interplay of materials such as the thin bronze coloured metal sheets that wrap around the arches and conceal a gentle light or even the various plaster-finished ceiling forms,” says Sultan.
“This project is very close to my design style. The client and I had great synergy and the entire process was extremely harmonious as a result. At my studio, we pride ourselves on always working backwards from a brief and making a space intimately our clients. I strongly believe that our client is our context, our first collaborator on any project and their wish list is our direction,” she concludes.