Today, I had the opportunity to visit the Oxford University Press office in Korangi, and up till the drive to the office, I was completely blank about what the building looked like. But one glance at the Front Elevation, and it all came rushing back to me – this building was designed by Kamil Khan Mumtaz.
The car stopped at the front door – a beautiful traditional metal door, made from Lahore. The entrance resonates the typical Mughal grandeur – with a double heighten space illuminated with a skylight, with some wonderful pictures on the walls, showing Oxford plans and maps. Into this space opens a beautifully designed Jharoka – again representative of the Sindhi townscapes.
The fact of the matter was that I had seen images of this building before, but then for some reason, I had simply rejected it. I understood today why that had happened – the reason being too simple – The pictures just didn’t do justice to the building.
It is at this point, t hat I concluded that In fact it is not even the building that was intriguing me – it was the interiors that captured me completely! It was like being in a surreal painting – full of light and colors.
The building has been completely inspired from Sindh and its tradition. From the floors, to the ceiling to the wall panels, everything went back to connect with the Sindhi roots.
The floor was atypical cement floor with simple geometric patterns inspired from the British Tradition, while the roof plays on the traditional art of Naqshqari. And for me to see such a ceiling was simply awe-inspiring. I hate the typical gypsum board ceilings that have become so synonymous with the office environment. To me they are simply, boring and dull and hardly inspires anyone to work!
Overall, the building is simply beautiful, keeping in touch with the old and the new, in the most elegant of manners. The building ensures to make every element of the traditional craft its very own, before it can be employed in this building.
To see more of Kamil Khan Mumtaz’s work, click here.
Images from http://www.kamilkhanmumtaz.com/