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The stage has been set, filtered light makes its way through the perforated sheets.

A welcome light play outside the perforated façade, seen from outside MuseLAB.

Light and Shadow ebb and flow throughout the space, as filtered light weaves itself into conversations about design.

Layered with different kinds of perforations, the huge façade incites curiosity in passersby and visitors, making it a great conversation starter about the kind of work that MuseLAB engages in.

AI2_13_2017_7_33_48_AM_Main_Image_12Beyond_Schiphol_StudioRoosegaard.jpg
Workspace 10 Feb 2017

Filtered Light and Office Facade of MuseLAB

In the centre of a potpourri of design studios, offices and a pocket neighbourhood, MuseLAB grabs the attention with a perforated façade that will force you to stop and stare (or Instagram) – whether you were rushing for a meeting or walking back from lunch.

Home to Huzefa Rangwala and Jasem Pirani’s bespoke studio MuseLAB, Unique Industrial Estate, Prabhadevi extends a warm welcome, much like a Mumbai greeting – characterized by humidity and nonstop bustle. Amidst the rustling of briefcases and tapping of keyboards, MuseLAB’s Filtered Light facade filters the distractions: directing your gaze to the studio and Huzefa and Jasem’s gaze to their to-do lists.

The stage has been set, filtered light makes its way through the perforated sheets.

Huzefa and Jasem stumbled upon their 300 sq. ft. space on the ground floor while scouting a larger space on the third floor of the same building overlooking treetops. Mapping their way across the room, they knew that though it was smaller, it was the right fit for their layouts and everything they had in mind for their studio, so they hit the buzzer.

An end-to-end design studio, multiplicity is the key to MuseLAB’s portfolio. Filled with an assortment of work from communication design and product development to interior design and furniture development, brewing their creative minds and love for spaces together, Huzefa and Jasem handcraft and build a highly customized experience and environment in all the work that they do.

At MuseLAB, the work process is led by challenges. They use intuitive methods to maneuver the briefs and arrive at a systematic concept and design. So when it came to designing their own space, they turned to the same understanding. Located on the ground floor with a partial storefront, safety and security concerns were at the top of Huzefa and Jasem’s challenge list. While a grill might have seemed like the standard option, they decided to keep the norm out and add some drama to the traditional jali (latticed screen). With MS metal panels as the material, they decided to use perforated sheets with openings of varying types – punched, hinged and pivoted, the three types of perforations used – setting the stage for a play of light.

Whether it’s windy winter days where the Sun is half asleep, or fiery summer days when the skies are on fire, natural light choreographs its way through the dotted façade, creating an ever-changing visual piece. As cars and people come and go, shadows meander across the room constructing patterns that remain a source of inspiration for future projects. Though safety was a primary concern, they also wanted to ensure privacy. With a huge storefront display that offers more than just a quick glimpse of what is on the other side, Huzefa and Jasem roped in the perforated façade as a mediator – strategically designed openings filtering light, pivoted perforations blocking light and hinged openings acting as regulators.

Creating the façade wasn’t as smooth as it sounds. One of the biggest boulders in their way was the costing. After getting the first sample, they realised their panel sizes would burn a hole in their pocket and cause wastage. But a collaboration in the form of Aptech’s Pritesh Shah waved an instant solution. With 4’x 8’ panel size as their guideline, they went ahead and modified the modules. Being in a rented space, it was important to consider recyclability and reusability while narrowing down on the material of the panels.

A welcome light play outside the perforated façade, seen from outside MuseLAB.

Light and Shadow ebb and flow throughout the space, as filtered light weaves itself into conversations about design.

While stainless steel was a trusty option with strong resistance to corrosion, they decided to go with mild steel given its low tensile strength in order to stick with the plan of bending little openings across the surface. But an office in the heart of humidity made corrosion another very essential challenge to think about. When they saw that the mild steel surface began rapidly corroding in the sample piece, they knew they’d have to coat it with another layer to slow down the process. At first they used a sealer but it continued to corrode quickly. Eventually utilizing epoxy paint, they managed to decelerate the process. However, two years later, this summer might see them layering the surface with a freshly concocted coat of paint. Having fixed the panels on a framework, a neat repaint seems easier than ever.

With the wondrous dance of light transforming its way around the room, they extend their love for design to their curated furniture. In line with the protagonist of the space – the façade and filtered light – their approach to furniture too brought in sunny textures and luminous workstations. With Corvi lights and exposed birch plywood desks, the office becomes the perfect canvas for constant ideation and work. The furniture complements the façade with a calming finish; the space also manages to bring in pops of bright colours in the form of stacked spines in their extensive library and little accent pieces that sit on tables and shelves around.

Layered with different kinds of perforations, the huge façade incites curiosity in passersby and visitors, making it a great conversation starter about the kind of work that MuseLAB engages in.

From surface to material, everything about the façade that Huzefa, Jasem and Pritesh created, kindles inspiration. Layered with different kinds of perforations, the huge façade incites curiosity in passersby and visitors, making it a great conversation starter about the kind of work that MuseLAB engages in. While the interior of a space is often the first thing we think about, for Huzefa and Jasem, the exterior was the first introduction to the interior. The ability to splash the façade with different colours when it calls for a repaint, ensures that they have a never-ending engagement with it, much like the eternal light play blooming a medley around their space.