Rahul Kadri, Partner & Principal Architect – IMK Architects

The new workplace for VEE Technologies, an IT service management company based in Salem, Tamil Nadu, blurs the boundaries between an office and a garden, creating a positive, invigorating environment for 450 people to work, collaborate, and engage with the outdoors. Interspersed with landscaped sit-outs, the design of the office invites people to step away from their screens and into nature, all within the building premises.

As the first building in the 9-acre-high-tech commercial business park, this 30,000 sq. ft-office paves the way for sustainability for the upcoming buildings. The office building is constructed using recyclable and reusable materials like steel and a flexible structural grid. The design offers a cost- and time-effective solution, for remodelling the building to fit a different function once the business park is fully operational in a few years.

What are the owner’s requests for this office building?
The brief for the project was to create an employee-centric workplace with plenty of filtered natural light and access to green breakout zones where people look forward to working and spending time. The nature of work at VEE Technologies required a secure office without personal mobile phones and outsiders. Thus, a high-security environment was a necessity. Plans were in place to convert this building into a cafeteria once the business park is fully operational. Therefore the owner requested cost and time-effective solutions for remodelling the building to fit a different function in a few years.

What solutions do you offer to owners?
Overall, the solutions offered to the owners aimed at creating a sustainable, efficient, and employee-friendly workplace that contributes to a positive and invigorating work environment for 450 people to work, collaborate, and engage with the outdoors. Interspersed with landscaped sit-outs, the office design invites people to step away from their screens and into nature, increasing the productivity of employees and benefitting all stakeholders involved.

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An ‘office within a garden’ for VEE Technologies, what are the benefits of this design idea?
The ‘office within a garden’ design idea for VEE Technologies offers the benefit of a positive work environment. The north and south facade of the building have larger openings which provide views and access to the gardens on both sides outside. The design creates a lively and invigorating work environment by blurring the boundaries between the office space and nature. It allows employees to engage with the outdoors, which can contribute to improved well-being and overall job satisfaction. The design provides them a workplace they can look forward to working and spending time in. This employee-centric approach can boost morale and productivity. Additionally, having outdoor break spaces to unwind can positively impact employees’ moods and well-being.

Employees work all day in the office. What solutions do you provide to make the work atmosphere healthy and comfortable?
The VEE Technologies office offers several solutions to create a healthy and comfortable work atmosphere for employees who work all day:
1. Biophilic design:
The “office within a garden” design integrates nature into the workspace with landscaped sit-outs, courtyards, and gardens, providing employees with a positive and invigorating environment. Courtyards and gardens within the office premises serve as outdoor break rooms, allowing employees to relax and rejuvenate during work hours.

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2. Climate-controlled comfort:
The office layout features floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing ample natural light to improve employees’ efficiency and mood. Energy-efficient air conditioning systems respond to outdoor temperature changes, maintaining a comfortable indoor climate for employees to work in throughout the day.
3. Focus on functionality:
Custom-made zig-zag partitions on desks create a glare-free viewing angle, optimising productivity and comfort. The employee-centric design approach ensures that the workplace meets employees’ needs, fostering a positive work culture.

Located in a region where temperatures rise to as high as 45 degrees in the summer, what solutions do you provide to overcome this issue?
The building is oriented towards the North-South direction to minimise heat gain without compromising on daylight. The east and west walls of the studios have fewer openings which creates an energy-efficient glazing system, further minimizing heat gain during the day. These solutions are aimed at optimising the building’s design to mitigate the impact of high temperatures, allowing for a comfortable and conducive working environment for the employees even in hot summer conditions.

Can you explain the purpose of creating an energy-efficient glazing system?
The east and west walls of the studios have fewer openings – creating an energy-efficient glazing system, further minimising heat gain during the day. By having fewer openings or windows on these walls, the amount of solar radiation entering the building is reduced. This helps in maintaining a more stable indoor temperature and reduces the need for excessive cooling during hot days. As a result, the energy consumption for air conditioning is lowered.

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How to apply strategies that are energy and cost efficient in the office building?
The building is completely powered by rooftop solar panels, through which the office building generates its own renewable energy, reducing its dependence on traditional energy sources and lowering electricity costs. Additionally, the office employs smart air conditioning systems that adjust their settings based on the outdoor temperature, optimising energy usage and minimising wastage.

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The office uses custom-designed lighting solutions that automatically adapt to the surrounding lighting conditions, ensuring that lights are only used when necessary and conserving energy. Also custom-designed are the zig-zag partitions on work desks that optimise spatial utilisation and provide a glare-free, exclusive work experience.

By implementing these energy and cost efficient strategies, the office building aims to reduce its environmental footprint, lower operational costs, and create a sustainable and comfortable working environment for its employees.

Can you explain the custom-designed lights inside VEE Technologies’ office?
The custom lights at VEE Technologies adjusts their intensity based on ambient lighting, thus conserves energy. This enhances the employee’s experience, creating a well-lit, comfortable workspace that boosts mood, focus, and well-being. This aligns with the goal of a positive, employee-centric work environment, fostering productivity and satisfaction.

Can you explain the custom-made zig-zag partitions inside VEE Technologies’ office?
The custom-made zig-zag partitions in the VEE Technologies office are specially designed and placed on desks. These partitions are arranged in a zig-zag pattern, creating separate spaces for each employee. They also make a comfortable, glare-free viewing angle for two screens, optimising people’s productivity, privacy and spatial utilisation.

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