If you are bummed out by the grey and white interiors of your office, you are not alone. Most offices hardly have a bright corner for employees to enjoy. But not Microsoft. The tech giant's new office in Noida is a sight to behold. Inspired by the Taj Mahal -- yes, we know -- the new office aims to merge tech-driven infrastructure with the local cultural influence. From the looks of it, they have been quite successful.
The Microsoft India Development Centre (IDC) is spread across three floors of a six-storeyed building in Noida. The ivory white walls are interspersed with jaali work in Mughal architectural style. Arched doorways and domed ceilings complete the Taj Mahal-inspired look of the interiors.
When the Microsoft India team started working on its design for the site, project manager Jagvinder 'Pinny' Mann had the obvious answer. "What could be better than the Taj Mahal, the wonder of the world for this space?" she said. However, brainstorming was easier than realising the vision.
Arunjot Singh Bhalla, managing director of RSP Design Consultants said that the challenge was to figure out how to interpret the Taj Mahal and go a step further and apply it to an office. The result was the Microsoft office that interpreted Mughal architecture's symmetrical and decorative aspects into a functional unit. The look is heavily drawn from Taj Mahal's aesthetic materials, including white marble from Jaipur, and inlay work with semi-precious stones.
"The Taj Mahal's marble domes, minarets, arched entrances, jaali work, and even a visual reference to the Char Bagh Gardens, translate seamlessly in this Noida space. In the core area of the office space, archways and marble cladding create a sublime effect, while lattice perforations of the jaali screens -- in marble or modified for the ceilings -- render the space's texture and depth. The subtle domes, at the same time, add volume," says the company in its blog.
The office also boasts a sustainable space. The base building is LEED platinum rated catering to high sustainability standards of construction and operation. Recycled products, locally sourced materials, energy saving light and water installations have also gone into the making of the space. The workplace is highly inclusive too with customised counters for wheelchairs, Braille signage, hazard warnings and access ramps.
The seamless combination of functionality and beauty was achieved with contribution from both artisans and IT experts. Local artisans worked on the tapestries, inlays and the paintings while the IT and facilities team looked after form and functionality.
The new Microsoft office in Noida will accommodate the Xbox team becoming the first campus in India to host a gaming team.
"I think working at an office is going to be a more beautiful experience than in the past because employees will have a choice. They can work from the comfort of home, or they can come to office and work in a world-class environment where they can collaborate, build social capital and forge a bond among themselves. I really believe that," said Rajiv Kumar, Managing Director, Microsoft IDC.