Ishanya Exposition & Design Center

Ishanya is India’s first International Design and Retail Center for the construction industry. A unique concept that encompasses under one roof the gamut of consultants, technology, building services and materials enabling architects, engineers, interior designers achieve a holistic and integrated design/product synergy.

The design brings together the visual arts, architecture, fine arts, music, theatre and cinema that introduces a cultural syntax and brings together the realm of public and commercial space. A series of ‘humane’ spaces, the ‘main street’, ‘courtyards’, ‘kunds’ all woven together into a tapestry that echoes the timelessness philosophy of India and creates an environment that speaks the language of tranquility and serenity that is so essential to creative thought.

The organisation and intertwining of spaces and volumes that exemplify the matrix that is Ishanya needed to be translated through a flexible and lightweight structural system. Steel was, therefore, the natural choice for the primary structural material. It allowed us to specifically model complex intersections and analyse potential problematic areas well in advance. In short, the ability to accurately fabricate the material offsite, as well as its lightness and speed of erection, allowed for significant latitude during the design process. I wanted the environment to speak the language of tranquility and serenity that is so essential to any form of creative thought.”
ARJUN MALIK, Principal, Malik Architecture

Strategic Location
This project is strategically situated in Pune, which in the past decade has emerged as one of the premier business/educational centers in India. Located centrally, very close to the Pune Club Golf Course, just a short drive from the International airport or the city centre, makes Ishanya the perfect, pan-India destination for consumers, the specialty retailers, the architect, space designer, or the builder/developer.

Site Plan
The name Ishanya means North-East – the most auspicious direction according to Vaastu-Shastra, the ancient Indian science of space design. Ishanya is a combination of concrete, glass and steel sinuously and skillfully woven together in lovely symphony, housed in a 10-acre campus with a lush green, yet Zen-like feel! Glass and water bodies are used skillfully to enhance the lightness of the architecture. Carefully designed lighting provides an effect that is both dramatic and aesthetic.

The Mall is divided into six arcades. The arcades are linked together through a circulation spine, ‘The Street’, which runs laterally through the site. This street behaves like a civic space where the visitor is not confined to a closed environment, but is constantly interacting with the outside. Thus, continuously infusing life into the public spaces that otherwise tend to wither due to neglect. Every arcade has its own distinct feature that sets them apart from each other, at the same time echoing a unified architectural language. Ishanya has also implemented intelligent building systems that will result in functional safety as well as energy conservation and efficiency. The roofing is designed with special insulation keeping in mind the energy consumption for air conditioning.

This structure is centrally located on the site and acts as the main entrance space to the mall. Since it is a transitional space between the inside and the outside the visitor enters in a large double height space interspaced with cantilevering and projecting volumes housing showrooms, galleries, cafes etc. Natural light filters into the entrance lobby through large skylights. In plan the structure branches out in different directions thus facilitating access to different parts of the mall. Unlike in the other arcades ‘The Street’ punctures through the lobby on either side making for interesting structural detailing. Due to its grand scale Arcade 0 also doubles as a space for hosting trade events.

Located in the south east corner of the site this L-shaped structure surrounds a beautifully landscaped court, which is dotted with flowering trees. The front entrance showcases a sculptural steel and glass staircase that fluidly snakes upwards, taking the visitor from the outside directly to the first floor. This being one of the longer buildings on site has employed a waffled slab system so as to have flexible, uninterrupted retail spaces within. A basic steel truss roof spans the entire length of the building.

A relatively simple structure with four levels of retail space and a fifth level dedicated to food courts. This building is directly connected to Arcade 0 through pedestrian bridges.

ARCADE 3 & 4
Located in the north east corner of the site this building primarily houses exhibition spaces. This five storey high structure is capped with a dramatic elliptical steel girder roof clad with aluminum composite panels. The roof has well articulated slit like apertures that filter through natural light to different levels in the building. At the entrance the eye is drawn to the upper level, which cantilevers out and makes for an interesting exhibition space.

This is a two storey structure hemmed-in by a large reflective pool to one side and a courtyard with outdoor seating to the other. The structure is divided into two distinct sections cut by ‘The Street’ running through it. The stores fan out along the court with an all glass façade cutting through a high feature wall.

This is the last of the 6 arcades, but in no way is it less striking than the others. ‘The Street’ ends at this building in an internal court, which is flanked with two water bodies. On either sides of the court there are cafes where people can unwind after a long day at the mall. The main structure in this arcade houses art galleries. Many of these galleries cantilever off the structure one even sloping down to the ‘Kund’, which lies beyond. A little further ahead overlooking the ‘Kund’ is an amphitheatre. The amphitheatre stages different cultural events periodically transforming this site into a center for cultural development.

Use of Space
The Kund, the Amphitheatre hosts seminars, conferences, and workshops by day and transforms into the cultural hub with exhibitions, cultural events and fine dining by night. This 450-seat amphitheatre, hosts theatre shows, music, dance and other performing arts. A laser and water show, using animation, lighting effects and fire, transports the spectator into a world of color and light. The show is produced in London, and directed by LSE, Belgium. In addition to the above the Kund, is quaint garden interspersed with large potted trees, skylights and seating areas imitating an Indian market in an abstract and contemporary design format. It offers 9,000 sq. ft. of space for individualized workshops for professionals to manage small-scale events.

The Auditorium and Banquet Hall housed within Arcade 04, hosts conferences, workshops, symposiums, and even music shows and performing arts concerts. A sports bar with a basketball court, pool tables, punching bags, dart boards, giant screens showing the latest sports events and a gaming zone is an exciting place for kids and sports enthusiasts.

At the heart of the project are two art galleries, showcasing sculpture and creative installations. One of the galleries overlooks the wada style court. The Tilting Art Gallery, that gently tilts toward the kund and overlooks the amphitheatre. Indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces designed for flexibility of size and location provides an arena for expo’s, art shows and product launches.

The entrance Arcade exhibit area is constantly changing thus maintaining renewed interest. The exhibition area generates opportunities for vertical display of exhibits in large halls designed in steel, with state of the art lighting systems to enhance the products. A huge library displaying a gamut of information on planning, interiors, furniture, architecture and art history, is amongst the best in the country. Workstations with computer simulation facilities help in developing design solutions and envisioning the finished project.

Appearance and Finish
The project was conceptualized as a series of ‘Humane’ spaces, the ‘Main Street’, the courts reminiscent of the traditional ‘Wada’ typology, the ‘Kund’ all woven together into a tapestry that echoes the timelessness of the thought and philosophy of India.

The Street – is the main circulation spine that ties the secondary and tertiary spaces like the courts and arcades together. This street behaves like a civic space that has been carved out of an otherwise completely commercial scheme.

Wadas – were the traditional form of Maratha architecture predominant to the area in and around Pune. Its style was an amalgamation where features from Mughal, Rajasthan, and Gujarat architecture were combined with local construction techniques. Features like high walls, distinctive fenestrations and buildings of two or more storey arranged around open courts have been incorporated in the design.

Kund – (step-wells) where steps lead down to the water, were not just wells but were also used for religious ceremonies. They developed into an art form. The building scheme features an amphitheatre that overlooks a ‘Kund’ like leisure pool. Throughout the building scheme you can see instances where local architecture has been redefined using contemporary design parameters hence seamlessly relating the project to its surroundings.

Innovative Technology
Use of steel in the buildings coupled with concrete and glass has been a major factor in saving construction time. Prefabricated steel sections were brought in from the workshop just before they need to be installed, this reduced site storage space. Recycled steel was also considered for its value as a sustainable construction material. The interior spaces are designed for flexibility to provide for large exhibition spaces without making any structural changes.

Coffered slabs were used with 8m spans so that large column free areas with ample height could be provided for showrooms and expo’s. These slabs also provide for lighting fixtures within the coffers thus reducing the false ceiling heights. Permanent Aluminum cladding and form finish concrete were used to increase the life of the facade and to reduce maintenance that generally arises with paint finishes. Tensile fabric structures used in the courtyards as shade structures.

Storage and collection of objects that can be recycled facilitates the reduction of disposable waste generated. Storage areas located on site for collection and storage of materials like paper, glass, plastic etc., facilitate recycling. During the construction debris was segregated into concrete, steel, ductwork, wood, paperboard, plastic and packing material etc. and sent to manufacturing recycling plants or used on various other sites that the client was developing.

Recycled steel was used in construction of all steel structures. Recycled aluminum as flashing, framing connectors and window parts was used in the facade in addition to fiber glass insulation used in the aluminum cladding section.

Waste water generated on site is recycled using a sewage treatment plant located in the basement area. This plant filters the water enough to make it suitable for irrigation and flushing purposes. An old wooden house that existed on the site was salvaged and the wood is being used to build a bungalow for the same client in Panchgani, Maharashtra.