PMA Madhushala strikes a balance between nature and architecture for its studio in Pune

JUL 17, 2021 | By Sharayu Shinde
The main studio space opens up to a meeting space on one end and a ‘think-tank’ workspace on the other. The refurbished unit, demarcating the two zones also doubles as storage and workspace with a window facilitating casual interactions; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
Reclaimed wood and upcycled furniture from the previous studios grace the studio space. Full Length windows with wooden details replace the wall on one end, letting in ample light and air; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
The flexible meeting and discussion space on the other end of the studio is equipped with a table and workspace. Stairs retained from the previous designs serve as additional seating during larger meeting; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
A go-to for coffee breaks, the outdoor gazebo shelters a meeting table and multiple open zones. Lush planters line the walls on either ends and nests a bevy of birds; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
Natural earth screen offers innovative solutions to keep the studio cool and water the nearby flora. A customized metal art turtle by artist Prabhakar Singh elevates the foyer wall; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
Nestled next to a window, the office furniture has been adopted from the older studios. The studio’s resident cat can often be seen frolicking around the office, soaking in the morning sun; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
The interesting shadows cast by the louvers and windows help in breaking the monotony of the room. With mellow sunlight cascading in throughout the day, the details also provide privacy from the surrounding residential area; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye
Merging with the walls and floors, the in situ basin is an economical aesthetic detail. The humes pipes above the basin create natural ventilation and project interesting patterns on the opposite walls; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The search for PMA Madhushala’s third studio was centred around striking a balance between nature and architecture. “It has always been a conscious choice to search for leftover urban spaces along with its constraints and limitations, and then to turn it into a creative studio space,” explains Prasanna Morey, principal architect at PMA Madhushala.

The first two studios drew from the philosophy of embracing nature and retaining it as it comes. Embodying the close connection to the earth and sky, the former studios were encircled around 5 trees within the setback of a bungalow. “The present studio of Madhushala is an outcome of collective learning from the past journey of our two workplaces,” says Morey. 

A low rise partition separates the office desk from the think-tank. An ideal gateway for light and air, this spot is favoured by the studio members and cats alike; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The designers, in an effort to minimise the overall footprint of the space, set stringent spatial boundaries. Delicately weaving together the past journey of Madhushala with the collective learning from the two studios, designers Prasanna and Divya revitalised this abandoned urban space. 

Natural earth screens and windows make up the front wall of the studio. The planters in each window are mindfully placed to enhance the connect with nature;  Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

Spread over a comfortable 690 sq ft, the lush sanctuary is a calm, secluded temple to work and learn, right in the lap of nature. Efficient construction techniques are the foundation of this one of a kind structure. Generous help from student volunteers helped perfect this unique installation and is one of the best memorabilia of the building process. Natural earth casted in modules make up the multifunctional structure which allows water to flow through its crevices to the surrounding flora and acts as a natural air conditioner. 

The innovative structure gives a unique appearance to the main entrance wall. On busy days, people can be seen perched up on the windows next to the green planters;  Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The first studios thrived with minimal yet flexible, cosy zones. The inviting and collaborative workspaces used upcycled, natural materials to create shelters and pavilions that are demarcated by a central water body. On one end is the main studio and on the other, a model making area perfect to host occasional discussions and meetings. The studios’ fluid nature, enabled by porous materials, added to its charm and warmth. This unique trait is also fundamental in the design of the third studio.

With conscious efforts to avoid restrictive spaces, the partition between think-tank and meeting spaces features low height windows and openings. These creative spaces often host casual conversations and fun discussions; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

Offering an insight to sustainable details intermingling with aesthetic and ornamentation within the studio, Prasanna explains, “The studio is flooded with natural light from windows and skylights for most part of the day. Along with the lush greens and the warm yellows, the cool blues have also been an integral part of the Madhushala ecosystem. The water body in the studio helps in cooling the space by adding moisture in the environment. All these parameters gradually reduce overall energy consumption of the studio.”

The studio cat rests under the louvers, which let in beams of the morning sun. The studio is a safe haven for nearby animals that often flock into the studios and open spaces;  Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The studio boasts of a pragmatic approach to design. The furniture is exclusively made out of reclaimed wood and light fabrications. Adopted from previous studios, the upcycled movable furniture, windows and studio tables helped keep the costs in check. Handpicked from the rejected and unused stock of a stone showroom, the flooring adds an alluring, earthy touch. Built-in seating spaces and in situ basin minimised the use of materials, especially hardware, aligning with the architects’ goal of maintaining a low footprint.

An in situ sink, with minimal use of hardware is a strategic feature in all the washrooms. With keeping the use of artificial materials low, it also effortlessly blends in with the colour palette;  Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

An earthy and natural palette unifies the novel spaces of the studio. Skilled use of innovative materials and distinct, contemporary approaches characterises each studio, nonetheless, the brand’s essence runs throughout seamlessly.

The turtle has been an inevitable part of the Madhushala journey. The presence of multiple artworks and designs honours this connection throughout the studio; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The inclusive atmosphere across the studio promotes equal responsibility and independent way of work. The designers emphasize that an important aspect of Madhushala learning is generating a sensitive approach towards nature. The design intently blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor, crafting an open, non restrictive plan.

The think-tank, a moderate water pond near one of the offices is the heart of the studio. A hot-spot for creative brainstorming this place was witnessed the birth of plenty ingenious ideas;  Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

The spaces aim to facilitate working in close proximity to nature where one can develop an individual connection with the earth. Owing to the tactful integration of biophilia, the studio is also a welcome abode for pets, birds and fish and turtles.

The one seat setting of the studio offers privacy and a quiet work environment. The furniture has been upcycled from previous studios and customised to fit in; Photographs by Ruhma Ukaye

Prasanna summarises the ethos of Madhushala, “Sustainability is a sensitive thought towards our living, and we believe that it has to be reflected in even the smallest of our activities. We believe that small decisions always make a world of difference and therefore everything from building a studio to running it is a collective of conscious decisions, decisions that would minimise the overall burden on earth.”

If you love the use of natural materials and elements at PMA Madhushala’s studio, you must check out the floating frame house by RSA+Tattva