In an industry full of structured briefs, dependent on specifications and restricted by budgets, how do you go about a project where the brief is just a single line…
“I want the best office in Bombay.”
Vinod Garg was an acquaintance long before we got the opportunity to work together. Frequenting the same gym, we would often have short conversations about our work and our workouts and that led us to becoming good friends!
One fine day, I get a call from Vinodji and he tells me that he has acquired a new space in Parel which he wants JTCPL Designs to set up as his base of operations.
Vinodji, is well known in the steel industry for his sharp commercial acumen, analysis and reading of the steel market and initiating reforming measures for the steel industry in particular that has led to several new policies and measures being introduced at the Government level for the steel industry.
I was initially reluctant taking the project up as it wasn’t in line with the work that we usually did. Vinodji’s reaction to my reluctance, “Nothing doing, boss! You have to do this!”. There’s something about the guy, he shrugs off all formalities and speaks straight from the heart, holding no qualms and yet not losing sight of his aspirations. That’s a quality that always catches my eye and I knew I just had to accept this project.
Coming back to the brief, Vinodji wasn’t used to shelling out formal structured briefs that had become the norm for us in our dealings. We at JTCPL Designs were suddenly back in touch with pure emotion and the love of design. Sometimes, no restrictions can also restrict you just due to the sheer shock-value!
The space he chose also provided us the flexibility that was unavailable in corporate structures. And frankly, at that point we were unaware of how many enterprises were about to rise from the workspace that we were about to design.
Vinod Garg, who carries with him a rich industrial experience spanning 33 years spearheads the Vibrant Global Group. The group is into manufacturing of flexible packaging, iodised salt as well as food service packaging in joint venture with Huhtamaki. It focuses on steel trading and has reached a turnover of Rs 600 crores in FY 16 under his leadership.
And all of this within 3 years of setting up shop, and we’re overjoyed that we were part of the initiation of this conglomerate!
The pillars of this project were faith & trust, Vinodji gave us a freehand and we experienced the limitation of freedom for the first time. Decades into the industry, firms are likely to get used to being in a cage. We on the other hand just got caged out of a cage. Being in the cage we were free, as we knew what to do in the boundaries.
We had to think realtime & we realised why he chose us for his office. He valued the correlation of cost & time; which along with client satisfaction are the cornerstones of JTCPL Designs. We ensured he wouldn’t miss out on those at any cost. And that’s where structure is needed.
I fondly remember a very animated discussion that we had in my cabin, where we discussed each detail in such detail that even a non-technical person could visualise how the office would look like.
With the amount of thought and recommendations that we added to the plans Vinodji stepped in and finally put in a limit to the budget. “Logon ko lagega ki lottery lag gayi hai!”, he said playfully as probably even he didn’t expect how we visualised the ‘best office in Bombay’.
The design approach was inspired by the man himself and his roots, being a prominent name in the Steel industry, we decided to celebrate steel in our own unique way. We imagined what a blast furnace would look like from the inside, obviously aesthetically re-engineered, and kept that as the foundation of the office.
We were also fortunate enough to work closely with Vinodji’s son, Vaibhav who gave his valuable inputs to the design of the office space. After graduating, Vaibhav has been taking forward the new businesses of the Group and has proved to be a leader with sound managerial capabilities, only showing what a bright future the company has even in the time to come.
Three months of animated discussions & creative rushes later, the Vibrant Global office, as we know it, was ready.
At the launch of the space, we were introduced generously as the creators of the space by him among a diverse culture of close associates with immense delight!
A delighted client is the biggest parameter of a successful project. Were there lessons learnt? Yes. Was it close to our aspiration? There were certain gaps so not quite. But all of that was secondary. For me when my client is happy, it’s a successful project, everything else takes a backseat.
Some base their successes & failures on what I’d like to call the white table metaphor; focusing on the one spec on the cloth and discounting the vast clean expanse. Being grateful for the things that worked rather than being resentful of the things that didn’t is my outlook towards life.
The most gratifying part was the way Vinodji stays in touch even today, years after the project’s conclusion, sharing his wins, all that’s happening with Vibrant Global and that feels very good.
There are many things to learn from Vinodji, his enterprising mind and parallel-entrepreneurship ability rekindles one’s faith in the power of dreams.
Dreams on their own are nothing, Dreams with action are a lethal combination!