The Thrissur studio space of Lijo Reny Architects speaks volumes about the firm’s approach to architecture
Given its tropical context, the studio of Lijo Reny Architects in Thrissur, Kerala has been designed as a multi-level space that affords its team members natural light and ample breeze through the day. And despite its minimal, yet striking design, principal architects Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo insist that all they wanted was a space that provided a neutral backdrop to their client meetings and design practise.
The duo moved into this space in April 2010, along with their team.
“The new space (though seven years old now) is a far cry from the previous one. We are not more than five people presently and this 633 square feet office is larger than what we really need. However, the multi level space including the mezzanine along with the dynamics of light and breeze offer a spatial experience which in turn inspires us to do better work,” say the duo.
The natural light afforded to the office space by virtue of its location ensures that the team hardly needs to use lights in the office during the day time,with the exception, perhaps, of monsoon season.
The team’s requirements included a waiting area, a meeting space, a common working space, a pantry and a bathroom. The pivot door is a conversation starter. Explain the duo, “We had two openings of 8'x8' size. One was the main entry to the building and the other an opening from the meetings area to access the outdoor landscape strip. After working out several options, we decided to go with the idea of a large pivot door. The door is of a GI box section skeleton covered with plywood and then a coat of paint. The crude industrial fixtures that we developed for this door were exposed and resonate with the interiors while adding a certain irreverent feel to it.”
What catches one’s attention is the “growing wall,” an entire wall dedicated to the couple’s collection of awards, travel souvenirs and design objet d'art. Older pieces get replaced by newer ones over time.
The wall includes sketches by Waro Kishi, Laki Senanayake, Peter Rich, Peter Stutchbury, Bijoy Ramachandran and Timm Ulrischs among others. The illustration of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp by Susanne Mocka is from Notre Dame du Haut while the Eames house bird is from the Vitra museum.
An artwork that occupies pride of place next to the pivot door is the result of a joint artistic effort by the two architects. “Once while walking towards the office, during its construction phase, the evening sun behind us cast our shadow on the entry door. We immediately clicked an image of this. We then vectorised it to form the base of the wall installation. The most important part of this installation is the charcoal work done by each of us, installed in separate boxes. If you look closely at it, you'd see that each box represents our individual sensibilities. However they come together to become a single piece that grows beyond these individual boxes. This artwork on the wall encompass the essence of our practice be it art or architecture,” explain Lijo and Reny.