Interview
Space Matrix launched its state-of-the-art Workplace Innovation Lab in Bengaluru recently incorporating the latest technologies.

Space Matrix launched its state-of-the-art Workplace Innovation Lab in Bengaluru recently, where a range of technologies have been displayed that help elevate the workspace into a smart, agile and responsive environment. Space Matrix is a leading multinational design consultancy firm headquartered in Singapore.

The Workplace Innovation Lab is intended to serve as a use case and is a live example of how technology can be integrated efficiently into workplace design. It displays solutions that can create a seamless and efficient user (employee and visitor) experience in an office environment.

In the Innovation Lab, for instance, users can book and schedule meeting rooms and desks for better management of spaces and productive schedules of employees. These systems are further integrated with Building Services (lighting, HVAC, occupancy sensors etc.) and other technologies (like AV, Meeting Room / On-desk Pantry Ordering) to offer a coherent workplace solution. Other technologies include: smart-interactive collab screens with real time annotations, classroom white board solution with inbuilt wireless presentation and conferencing software; a visitor management system with Facial Recognition and Host Notification System that eliminates the front-desk register and completely digitises the process of checking-in and out, without compromising on security protocols, amongst others. 

An interesting aspect is that most of these Technologies and WorkPlace IoT Solutions are integrated with each other by an “Umbrella Platform” that enables all of this to be accessed and used through a single app /cloud link on the user’s phone /tab /computer.

Space Matrix has offices in 6 cities namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, and Chennai, and the company’s operations are jointly spearheaded by Regional Managing Directors Akshay Lakhanpal and Jaiprakash Alidasani.

The India team comprising of 250 people successfully executes over 50 to 60 projects around the country every year. Space Matrix specialises in experiential technology and works towards solving business problems through design. Space Matrix has designed workplaces for Airbnb and Superdry in Gurugram, LinkedIn and CSG International in Bengaluru, Epam Systems in Hyderabad, Astrazeneca in Chennai and Piramal in Mumbai to name a few. 

In an interaction, Gururaj Raghavendra, Director of Space Matrix, discussed about various aspects including the inception of the company, main clients in India, trends in this sector.  

Here are excerpts. 

How did you start operations? 

We started as a boutique design firm in 2001. What happened after that was that our designs were not getting translated into how we had envisaged. We were creating fantastic designs but they were never getting built. 

We further strengthened our construction management offering because we were a niche design firm. We called in people from Toyota and they came and studied what was going wrong. We had a lot of snags, quality issues, etc. We came up with methodology on the build service also. All our empanelled contractors and vendors work on the methodology with us with the intention to get it right the first time. 

In 2007, we signed on Suzlon as a client in Pune and executed a 6 lakh square feet design and build project for them at that time. The order was for around Rs 120 crore. It was an award-winning project. It was a beautiful campus, which is still there in Pune. That’s when it all started. 

USP of the company

Being a design firm is our USP. But beyond that, we have been offering an overall experience to our clients. For us, the journey doesn’t end when we hand over the project but goes beyond that. While handing over the project, we design a welcome brochure which is basically a small placard that talks about the office that we have designed. That’s something unique which nobody does. 

We put a CCTV camera live feed at all the sites where we are executing a project. So if the client is anywhere, we provide them the link and they can monitor things live. We create a time lapse video of the entire footage and play it on the day of the inauguration. After project completion, we come back again after six months to understand how the design has actually worked for the client. So we understand the shortcomings and address them in the defect liability period. We believe in long-term relationships and have a repeat business of 70% to 75% from the same clients which further helps us in executing the next phase of the project. 

We also have what is called the lean build methodology. We went for a modular system, that is factory-finished products. The methodology entails getting it right the first time. We implemented it and changed the management culture. 

We do 3D-rendering of designs. Our Animation Centre (AC) is based out of Bangkok. We have a few people here in Bengaluru who work closely with the Bangkok team and we give 95% accuracy in real estate for the 3D renderings. 

Who are your competitors? 

We can compare ourselves with Moser, Gensler. In terms of revenue and head count, we are ahead of others. 

Some of your major clients in India

Some of our major clients include LinkedIn - 100 thousand square feet project, Microsoft - half a million square feet project in Bengaluru; Adobe, Akamai campus; and co-working office spaces like Hive, Skootr. We are working with Anthem Insurance — a US company known by the name of Legato in India. We also have several banking clients like JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. We have also worked on the AirBnB office in Gurugram last year for which we won an international design award in the Asia-Pacific region. We have designed the Axix Bank main corporate office and the Abbott corporate office in Mumbai. Apart from this, we have worked on the corporate office for Piramal Group. We have been doing multiple projects in Chennai, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram. We are doing up the Lulu group corporate office in Kochi as of now. In Thiruvananthapuram, we have finished the Nissan Innovation Centre and we are working on Ford's office in Chennai. 

Trends in this sector

Architecture and design are becoming more glocal today. This means that brands now need to integrate the global and local cultures – and technology is becoming an enabler and a common factor in all aspects.