Thursday, 21 February 2019

Workspace Design – Illumination and Well-being in Workplaces

groupDCA strives to craft workplaces that reflect the brands ethos whilst fabricating an environment that promotes employee well-being, facilitates collaboration and spawns inspiration. With 70% of one’s day spent in the office, stressful environments are induced by boxy and commercialized infrastructure, undermining one’s health and social conditions. In the midst of planning and designing an office layout, tangential components of design – such as lighting schemes – are often overlooked.

A good illumination scheme is a crucial player in sustaining personal health, ultimately steering motivation and production. Lighting structures a vital part of visual ergonomics and perceptions, shaping workplace productivity. Natural light protects vision, boosts concentration and creates healthy working conditions. Poor and misplaced lighting can cause visual discomfort, fatigue and gloominess, taking a toll on employee efficiency. Combining effective daylight harvesting with efficient artificial lighting constructs an optimal illumination system. Natural light if supplemented with strategically placed and adequately numbered table lights, floor lamps and ceiling fixtures can uplift aesthetics and yield positive outcomes.

The layout of Primarc Office evolves along two opposite walls endowed with long windows,
optimally utilized for natural lighting
Primarc Office by groupDCA reinforces the same paradigm by fabricating the design around this principle. The layout of the office evolves along two opposite walls endowed with long windows, optimally utilized for natural lighting and vistas to various spaces such as reception, cafeteria and work-stations. The design of this office not only incorporates efficient lighting but also recognizes the challenge of an often disregarded phenomenon – over-lighting a space. The meeting rooms, conference rooms and private cubicles have been tactically shielded from excessive daylight that may disrupt visual presentations. The dynamic design of this office facilitates an effective assembly of natural and artificial lighting, brought together to suit the vibrant and dramatic tone of the office. Energy efficient LED lamps reduce heat emission, energy consumption and minimize the load on artificial lighting systems, aiding the sustainable approach embarked on by groupDCA.

The meeting rooms, conference rooms and private cubicles have been tactically shielded from excessive daylight that may disrupt visual presentations

Contemporary workspaces are about efficiency, mobility and flexibility. Ditching closed cabins to open plans, not only reduces the barriers that obstruct natural light from coming in but can also position strategically planned landscape and open areas amidst the built form. Materiality, arrangement and treatment of surfaces also influence the lighting level of a space. A bright, illuminated office, deployed with adequate lighting levels, strategically calculated and arranged, enhances the visual appeal of a space whilst augmenting optimal efficiency of the employees. Endeavoring to put together the right narrative to craft engaging experiences, the deliberate process of light selection and customization to create the perfect lighting ambience forms a crucial part of groupDCA’s design ethos.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Workspace Design: Build to suit Human Biology

groupDCA's aspiration behind designing innovative workspaces is to create a unique identity giving users the comfort and ease within work environments by facilitating human interaction with the outside environment. The biophilia theory implies that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other life forms. These deep affiliations are rooted in our biology. Designing spaces that suit human biology is what groupDCA’s workspace designs aim for.

At groupDCA, each project is treated individually with an approach that is most appropriate to the project’s identity, vision, site location and budget. The studio believes in sustainable design, which is well-balanced, contextual and fosters longevity as well as practicality. A conscious effort is made to use local, sustainable materials and technology, while minimizing the impact on the environment. Each project is climate-appropriate and designed to meet specific needs. For example, the design for JD Office – a collaborative co-working space – is a deliberate attempt towards incorporating biophilic design through the use of local materials and natural finishes. Despite the site being landlocked and devoid of sufficient natural light, the vibrant design vocabulary exuberates with energy and enthusiasm. Integration of indoor plants ensures engagement with nature, thus enhancing occupant health, happiness, and overall well-being.

Above: The design of J.D. Office ensures engagement with nature and enhances employee well-being.

In an environmentally progressive world, groupDCA focuses on crafting working spaces that promote good health and well-being of the users, by integrating the outdoors with the built form and bringing air, light and greens inside. To cite an example: Enrich office and academy is designed as a framed picture, just as the landscape is usually seen through a large window. The space uses a warm and grounded design strategy. Enabling breathing spaces and bringing nature indoors, the space is accentuated by a sizeable green wall.

Above: The workstations in Enrich Office and Academy are designed to have natural day-light on one side and greenery on the other.

Given the current constraints of the Indian Economy, the studio tries to keep human beings, their relationships with the environment at the heart of their working methodology. Their design solutions are driven by a distinct focus of delivering design excellence and innovation; rooted within a local, climate-appropriate approach. With 21-year long expertise in the workspace domain, groupDCA's concepts are aimed at bringing out the best through their designs.

- Amit Aurora and Rahul Bansal

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Workspace Design: Reimagining communal balance in workplaces

The design ideology of groupDCA embraces flexible and interactive configurations of workspaces in an effort to keep pace with shifting office trends. In recent times, contemporary practices are keen on employing transparent and adaptable environments to promote constructive dialogue and collaboration amidst employees. 

Responsive designs crafted by groupDCA cite an insightful paradigm of the new language of workplace ethos. A balance between physical and social infrastructure in a workplace instills a sense of place whilst nurturing community building and teamwork. These multi-functional spaces can be a café, breakout zones, a quiet room or even a corridor as seen in the design of Nando’s Office by groupDCA. A Long linear corridor divided into various interactive zones accentuates the spatial drama of the space, whilst providing for an array of open, co-working and individual space. Designed as per a brief of creating a vibrant and vivacious space, the playful and informal design of the workplace breaks away from the monotony of a stereotypical office.

Sketch of Nando's Office: A long linear corridor divides the space into various interactive zones
and accentuates the spatial drama of the space

The relaxed environment of such arrangements reinforces work culture in an informal extent and instigatesproductive discussions. With a pragmatic approach of crafting an egalitarian workspace, groupDCA's designs foster creativity, collaboration, and conversation. With 48-50 hours a week, every employee spends an overwhelmingly large amount of their time in the office. This emphasizes the significance of treating social spaces as premeditated design standards than just an extension of spare areas. These ideologies, if deployed effectively, compose inclusive designs that tend to the well being and productivity of its employees.

- Amit Aurora and Rahul Bansal

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Workspace Design: Eliminating Hierarchies and Establishing Engagement

groupDCA's design philosophy behind conceptualizing workspaces is driven by a focus on spatial setting and disregarding traditional notions of professional hierarchy, thereby encouraging democratic engagement within the workforce. The firm strongly believes in conceptualizing collaborative and flexible spaces that do away with physical metaphors of authoritarianism.

Office layouts, over time, have come to delineate the culture of the organization, thereby lacking communication, whilst hampering work productivity and well-being. groupDCA recognizes the need for more interpersonal relationships, an environment of free discourse and communication of ideas. In a world full of static workplaces, the firm focuses on crafting spaces that foster creativity, collaboration and conversation in addition to promoting good health and well-being of its users. Dissolving hierarchal segregations to accommodate socially and physically transparent infrastructure is an integral factor in the design of these spaces.

By acknowledging the significance of socio-democratic offices, groupDCA’s designs recognize and reflect the growing trend of flexible workspaces. Open plans, economically efficient and flexible, have been interpreted to be employed in their designs, in a bid to boost team-work and co-ordination. This concept has been embraced and innovated in the design of Enrich Office and Academy, Mumbai. The plan of the office has been conceptualized as an adaptable floor plate, free of private cabins and physical barriers. 

The fabrication of interactive spaces, such as the discussion booths in the open cafeteria, functions as a breathable extension to the reception, thereby fostering healthy communication and discussion. Workstations have been aligned with windows, allowing ample glare-free daylight into the spaces, unobstructed by walls, promoting employee well-being and productivity. The office design, as a result, reflects the brand’s guiding philosophy, which is predicated on establishing a collaborative work environment that supersedes conservative hierarchal structures.

groupDCA’s endeavor of crafting office spaces that reflect an egalitarian structure can be observed in their receptive designs that are inclusive of natural influences drawn from social and physical perspectives. These designs eliminate orthodox norms and steer towards adaptive workplaces that are characteristically flexible and agile to suit the ideologies of a new-age work force.

-Amit Aurora and Rahul Bansal

Friday, 23 March 2018


The walls are painted, the light fittings intact and the furniture is all set. However, for a space to be extraordinary needs to determine that one piece of special something that would bring up the visual interest of the entire space.

According to principal architect Amit Aurora of groupDCA, “The Art of Display is unique to every individual and space. It cannot have a set rule that fits all, as it needs to reflect the personality of the individual”. Successful displays are about character, composition and a pulled-together palette. It should reflect the dynamics of the user as well as space. Within the modern context, in addition to the essential need of optimal use of space, art of display is increasingly recognized as an important element; the eclectic fusion or mélange of elements should be one of the prime focuses for the architect/designer.

The Residence for Anands by DCA showcases these intrinsic qualities. The simplistic color palette accentuates the effect of all the other physical elements like the furniture and the artifacts. The balance in the arrangement of these elements is remarkably soothing. This is also an example of how lighting is of paramount importance to enhance the art of display and how all the elements in the art should complement each other to create a homogeneous story. It can be composed of varied elements but they all need to be woven together.

The Aggarwal residence also exemplifies the harmonious ensemble of displays. The striking contrast used with the dark toned artifacts and the light colored background helps in bringing out a powerful outcome of the overall composition.

Certain spaces can have a hero component where as other spaces may require a bunch of components that need to be consolidated to form one complete story. For example, the double height volume in the Gujral Residence by DCA has been ornamented with a stunning chandelier which hangs down and gives the space a whole new definition. No other element is evidently needed to support the magnificent effect rendered by the light fitting.

The Art of display needs to be well thought of, yet natural & progressive, it cannot be forced. The elements should not be artificial rather they should have a soul of their own and a relationship with the over all space. The flow and authenticity of elements should be the focus, only then can one create a conformation that is pleasing to the eye and can be truly called a master of innovating for blank canvasses.

- Amit Aurora & Rahul Bansal

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


Over the years, ‘space’ as an expression has acquired multiple meanings and has evolved in terms of its perception and design. Spaces may need to be dramatic & emphatic, warm & calming, straight & functional, or minimalistic & simple. Different users derive different usage out of a space. In a day and age where large spaces are either very few or very expensive, the importance of  ‘relevant design’ and ‘value-engineering’ has become paramount.

While macro spaces are perceived as a combination of the larger ambience, spaces surrounding it and its use by masses, micro spaces witness a more personalized and customized approach. In today’s era of specialization, modularity and flexibility, spatial designing and multi-functionality have become a common and detailed phenomenon
Designing and Articulation of pre-existing small spaces is recommended in a manner that it creates a fresh definitive space, yet also maintains a relation to the previous meaning / experience lent by the space. The driving factors to instill the same come from a variety of elements that can be used to ornament a space. Factors such as highlights, contrasts, harmony and balance could be inculcated through the conscious choice of material, lighting, color palette etc.

Small spaces also need to be versatile in order to compensate for its limitations in structural changes and volume. Multifunctional items like modular tables, which combine together as conference tables and/or storage in offices, sitting that couples up as storage, or kitchen work-tops that are adaptable as dining spaces in homes – increase the efficiency of a space. Use of elements like glass, mirrors and green plants lend a spacious & positive feel.

A simple office corner cubicle with elements like ambient lighting, glass partitions, a neutral color palette and a touch of green could do the trick.  Greenery could be infused from even a small potted plant, but it will permeate to give a completely different experience as compared to a cubicle left bland, dull and mono-functional. Additionally, incorporating art (as per the likes of the user) gives a warm-personal feel to the space. Detailing of elements in a small space has the capability to impact a user to a great extent.

To sum up, the productivity of a space can be judged from the satisfaction its user derives from it and a designer is called proficient if he/she is able to ensure the same.

- Amit Aurora & Rahul Bansal

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Designing a Home..

Designing living spaces is one of the simplest yet most complex tasks for a designer. Its simple because there is no fixed norm to design a designer can be limitless in his creativity. It is complex because the creative design must conform to the desires of each family member and must ensure practicality & functionality. A design that reflects the inhabitant’s soul & lifestyle could be a daunting task if not addressed passionately.

A ‘home’ is always referred to as an entity, independent in its entirety. Not only should it provide a comfortable haven to its inhabitants, it should be adaptable as a work space, a celebration space and be able to accommodate design changes/enhancements over time. Therefore, following are the 3 basic principles listed to throw some light upon variousaspects of designing a quality living space. 

    In the lap of nature -The layout of the houses should be such that it readily lets in nature and its intangible elements like air, rain and sunlight. Features like courtyards, skylights, terrace gardens, pergolas etc. help in welcoming these essentials.  This should be done as an ‘ode to nature’ as it is always the built that invades the un-built and it’s necessary to respect the balance between these. This will help the inhabitant to be in complete proximity with natural surroundings, even if the same is limited by cityscapes.
   The zones have to be right Public and semi-public spaces co-exist in every building. However, a private zone for an individual only exists in his/her house. Zoning in a house has to be done right in order to make the house proficient and proactive.Depending on their functions, the privacy levels required in each house are different for varied spaces. A designer’s job is to analyze the functions correctly and zone the spaces accordingly.

   A home should be able to inculcate a sense of repose - After a hard day’s work of, everyone wants to head back ‘home’.This is so because the aura it evokes in a person, the feeling of content and relaxation, is something which cannot be experienced elsewhere. Therefore, the design has to be such that it enables an individual in attaining tranquility and comfort. Using subtle tones and a minimalist approach towards design helps in building these qualities.

‘Living the Space’ & ‘Loving the Space’ go hand in hand. Hence, a design should consist of elements that instill in the inhabitant a reminiscence of their roots, an introspection of their present and a forecast of the future. Successful living spaces are the ones, which impart the sense of freedom and solace to an individual.

DCA with its residential projects tries to work with these principles in an effort to transform a house into a home. With the aesthetics and the layout, most of the projects focus on the client’s comfort and lifestyle rather than being mere structures decorating the skyline of the place.