Spaces that speak

Break out area 'Istanbul' theme in Mercer Noida by Lopez Design   | Photo Credit: Anthony Lopez grjgm

As a nine-year-old, Manjiri Rajopadhye made her creative breakthrough when she rejected a pair of Barbie dolls and went on to create a fabulous set-up from utensils gifted by her mother. “I made a dressing table with a Chanel 5 box attaching a mirror from a compact case, a sink out of the reflective part of a torch light, and a furniture piece with matchboxes,” says Rajopadhye. Smart and human-centric thinking characterises her Mumbai-based firm Mangoblossom’s accelerating design statements. As the website proclaims: “We call ourselves the ‘big thinking’ boutique.” When Pot Pourri, a café and bar at Inorbit Mall in Vashi came to Mangoblossom for their logo and menu design, Rajopadhye was inspired to go beyond just designing graphic emblems. She convinced her clients that a restaurant ambience was critical and branding had to be across all the touch points. “It’s about the total experience. It’s not enough to do just a pretty restaurant anymore. The eatery must have a personality.” Pot Pourri would be a lively place to hang out, have a good laugh and not worry about fat in the French fries. She set the pace with her line ‘Eat Carbs. Drink beer. Stay happy’. A cheerful yellow dominates bringing peppy energy from menu cards to uniforms and meticulously designed icons. For their integrated branding experience, Mangoblossom was the proud winner of the prestigious Kyoorius In-book Award in 2015, competing with many big name firms. Rajopadhye says, “Everyone is waking up to the fact that branding is not separate from the product itself. The brand needs to come alive.” For Godrej Properties, Rajopadhye created a multi-dimensional perspective collating photographs of parts of the site under construction. A window within lets you see a portion of the finished building space giving the prospective buyer a vision of what the future can be.

“I always had this sense that environment speaks about brands”, says Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design, Delhi. After a project for a jewellery design store where the chief architect brought in textile designer Angira Shah, artist Walter d’ Souza, and communications firm Lopez Design together, Anthony was enthused. “It was a very fine balance between a showroom that sold kundan and meenakari jewellery, and the woman of today.” In their next project for Headstrong, Lopez pushed forward this notion of graphics that speak to people over a long period of time. “Office environments are usually cold and impersonal. A good part of life is spent in the office but very few corporates give the workspace this importance.” Bringing out the social aspect of the work environment has been Lopez Design’s forte. Each of their projects uniquely reflects the character of the client organisation and personal preferences never interfere with the output. For Mercer, in conversations with the CEO, Lopez Design found the ethos of the company was strongly guided by values and ethics. The designers collated material to create a multi-layered discourse: they visualized a ‘Mercer Tree’ celebrating values, talent, expertise and success. Illustrated narratives from Aesop’s Fables and the Panchatantra brought in the cultural context within a universal framework. Break-out areas were modelled after cities on the coffee route, Istanbul and Old London, giving people a welcome break. In 2014, the firm won the CII Design Excellence award for Environment Branding for the Mercer Noida project.

Rajopadhye and Lopez independently concur on a couple of issues: One, they enjoy delivering the happiness quotient; two, they often have to convince their clients that their program will infuse a fresh energy. The confidence that environment branding can deliver a change in actual functioning has taken their beliefs forward successfully. Words, games, colours and illustrations are all interwoven infusing the brand language into the environment. For their clients, the risks have always brought sizeable returns.

Pot Pourri’s owners are thrilled with the radical change in their eatery by Rajopadhye. Lopez says, “Our client from a Nepal office told us — not only are the employees happy but they are also dressing smartly and are more self-assured.” Happy spaces are truly productive spaces.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 11:49:30 PM |

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