Any space within a heritage building must reflect its history. When an existing project for Godrej Properties Limited fell short of space for a designated experience centre, they decided to change locations and set up one in the heritage Imperial Hotel in Connaught Place, Delhi. Conceptualised and curated as an FF & E (shorthand for Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment) by Studio IAAD, the adaptive reuse of the 2648 sq ft has been executed within a short span of 2 months with an aim to re-characterise a heritage space within the existing shell. As a result, the experience centre is doused in yesteryear decor.
One enters this floor by a passage leading to the lobby, which is steeped in history with marble colonnades, verdant gardens, Italian marble floors and period furniture in polished Burma teak. The experience centre is located on the ground floor of the Imperial Hotel. The interior execution included curating five lounge areas and a model room with ensuites, each portraying a unique characteristic. No civil changes have been made throughout the course of the project. The challenge was to retain the historical conjunction of the past with the present while respecting the integrity of the original space. As a result, the design intent is driven by an approach that pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of its surroundings.
Reminiscent of the bygone era, the bare shell of each room consisted of pre-existing flooring, wall panels, moulding and lighting in some rooms. The design grammar in every room is thus driven by its historical context that has been deftly preserved while creating functional, modern spaces brimming with unique character. The rooms have been converted into premium lounge areas for exclusive, by-invitation guests.
Nestled amid a historic precinct, the access to the experience centre is via a lobby area with classic vintage interiors such as wooden panels and marble flooring. Most of the accessories, artefacts and furniture have been sourced and not customised. A statement chandelier, an equestrian-themed sculpture and a reception table were added to harmoniously retain the essence of the space. The reception table is finished in a velvety, biophilic wallpaper that has been imported and finished with brass dragonflies to up the ante. On the right side of the reception table is a corridor leading to the lounge and model rooms. Existing wallpapers, wall mouldings, wooden accents, and some artworks were retained to tie the look together.
All the rooms are nuanced in heritage elements and informed by clean-lined designs and an aura of grandiosity. The Statesman is the largest room in the experience centre. Vinyl floating flooring has been used to cover the existing flooring and create interiors that harmonise with the wooden panels and old-world decor. An 8×4 feet coffee table is the focal point of this room. The premium ‘Copernicus’ room is a fusion of eclectic and vintage and features artwork especially procured to accentuate the decor. Every detail unifies the design narrative, from the carpet selection to the sculptures. Considering the room’s decor, it was imperative to camouflage an oddly spaced door. A mirror with a damask effect has been used to shield the same.
The other rooms are defined by distinctive colours and complementing furniture. Some rooms are narrower than others. All the rooms’ en suites have been accessorised without architectural or structural changes. Unique details such as a classic chess board, a quirky sculpture or books that celebrate the heritage convert this experience into a heritage walkthrough.
What makes the Godrej Imperial Experience Centre unique is how the idiosyncratic spaces have been distinctively re-characterised with heritage elements. Thoughtfully sourced furniture, accessories, and artworks segue beautifully, creating a timeless design. As a result, all the spaces in the Godrej Experience Centre establish a profound connection with its historical context and reverberate with cultural significance.
Name of Project: Experience Centre Godrej Properties ltd- Imperial Hotel
Location: Connaught Place, New Delhi, India
Name of Client: TDI group & Godrej
Principal Architect: Rachna Agarwal
Design Team: Neha Raina & Apoorva
Carpet Area (sq ft & sq m): 246 sqm (2648 sq.ft)
Photographer: Andre J. Fanthome