Dawood Shoes Office
Mumbai, India
In 1982, Nari Gandhi designed the interiors for the Dawood Shoes office, located in Lohaar Chawl, Mumbai. As of February 2008, the office has three distinct workspaces: the owner's cabin, a smaller adjoining cubicle, and a larger work area for general staff.

One enters the office through a hinged wooden door facing the staff area and the owner's cabin, with the secondary cubicle on the right.

Entrance to the owner's cabin is through a partly glazed, centrally pivoted wooden door almost 1.7 meters wide. The floor plan is a five-sided polygon with a skewed angular junction behind the owner's seating area, while walls separating the cabin from the staff working area meet at a perpendicular junction. This irregular plan is resolved by placing shelves and drawers at the irregular junction and by aligning the owner's desk parallel to the wall separating the owner's cabin from the staff working space. This dividing wall has small rounded-rectangular openings that are evocative of those in a boat's steerage. They provide a partial visual connection between the staff and the owner.

A door (.6 m wide) directly connects the owner's cabin to the staff workspace. Exterior windows that open to the street follow a design similiar to the small apertures in the dividing wall, and have rounded jambs, sills and lintels. The exterior windows pivot from the center, and when open at 90 degrees, rest on a projecting wooden arm on the jamb. The owner's cabin, like the staff workspace, has walls paneled in thin strips of recycled and Paduak wood, measuring around 25 mm wide with varying lengths, patterned vertically. The strips of wood are nailed to plywood boards from the back and then mounted onto the partition walls. As a result, no nails are visible on the finished face, creating a clean finish of continuous wood strips.

The staff workspace was completed after the owner's cabin, and follows a similar design palette, with curved worktables and lofts finished in wood strips with rounded edges.

The visitors' chairs in the owner's cabin are made from a variety of materials: wood for the seats, upholstered cylindrical leather backs, and external metal frames with small wheels on the legs. This 'industrial' look may have been inspired by the materials locally available in the precinct of Lohaar Chawl, which translates to 'Blacksmith's lane.'


Sources:

Hawker, Michael. 2007. "Celebrating the Works of Nari Gandhi." Friends of Kebyar: November 2007.
Location
Lohaar Chawl, Mumbai, India
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Events
1984, 1992
Variant Names
Dawood Shoes Office
Sadruddin Daya's Office
Variant
Building Usages
office building/complex
commercial