“We are located in a Blue building. Opposite Haldiram’s shop” said the voice at the other end of the phone
I am on my way to Fort area in Mumbai, a short distance from the iconic Victoria Terminus Station, to visit this very interesting co-working space called Ministry Of New
“Ministry of New is a design inspired collaborative workspace for independent professionals looking to be a part of an international creative community”. (from MON’s website)
I bumped into the Ministry of New FB page (virtually off course), while researching on some design based topic.
I was intrigued. I wanted to explore this spatial concept.
So last year in Nov 2016, I emailed Marlies and Natascha(Founders) and explained who I was and how I was very keen to meet them and see this beautiful space they have created.
I got a positive response immediately.
On my recent trip to India, I got the opportunity to visit this beautiful and inspiring space.
And here I am standing opposite this truly beautiful period architecture.
As I enter the building, the ground floor is pretty basic. But as I start climbing the stairs- now here is where the magic begins
Wooden stairs- the worn steps tell a story of their own.
I chose not to take the lift. Something spectacular caught my eye. The rustic wooden stairs. I could only imagine the age of these stairs by the well worn steps as they swooped gently upwards. The wood work is so well crafted and still being tested with regular beat of footsteps, that I could kiss the hands of the craftsmen who made these years and years ago.
Curious to see what the underside of these stairs looked like, I climbed right up and what a sight!
The underside is covered with wood panels gently taking the curve along the structure of the building. Very sculptural!
At this point I know I am going to love Ministry of New even more.
On second floor- stepping onto a checkered black and white floor,I walked towards the main door.
There, at the reception…I didn’t know whether to stare at the reception desk which was interestingly enveloped in open books, or to gape at the light filtering through the atrium like space.
Main reception with its eye catching desk.
Sunlight was streaming through the windows and skylights, bathing the space in a happy, warm glow.What a visual delight! I was in heaven! Surrounding the atrium, running along the length of the space were corridors backed by rooms of all shapes and sizes. At one end was a space to hold conferences, workshops, photoshoots etc.
Potted plants hung everywhere, Christmas was just round the corner and the place was decorated with charming Christmas buntings. Tables and chairs were kept around the corridors running along the length of the rooms. You can sit inside your space or outside.
I was greeted by Owais (the voice on the phone-remember!)
We started chatting. I had missed Marlies by a few minutes (oh no!).
He explained a bit about the space and how it caters to people from varying industries.
This is getting better. I was under the impression that Ministry of New was mainly for the design industry. But no. There is no restriction to who can rent these spaces. I saw a musician immersed in his work, a conference by a well known telecom company in full swing. Little Black Book (Mumbai), a blog in India has one space, and opposite end belongs to the designer Pavitra Rajaram Designs. Each room has a name, like an identity of its own.
There are desk spaces to rent or rooms of various sizes. A cafe at one end serves mouth watering dishes throughout the day and has a rather engaging interior with wall painted in subliminal, mood lifting artworks.
Above: Desk spaces for hire in an open, light, well designed space.
Below: Chai/ refreshment area.
I was informed that the founders have been involved in designing and creating the interior of the space. I could see that most of the original structure of the building had either been restored or kept intact. The interior accessories is mostly in black and white, as if to let the majestic architecture do the talking.
Above: pleasing decor of the Cafe. Closeup of the wall painting
All along, the space is a well considered amalgamation of old school charm mixed with modern aesthetics.
I believe its rather tricky to marry an old architecture with contemporary/modern interiors and objects, without erasing the past life of the building. But if you get it right- the results are stunning.
Ministry of New has achieved that.
Tall shuttered doors are painted with pale colors to accentuate their heights. Everything works in sync with each other. It is calm, restful and inspiring. A big change from traditional offices.
There is a casual formality to the space. Who would have thought that in a bustling, crazy busy, colourful city like Mumbai, a subliminal oasis of work space could co-exist.
I, for one, am blown away by this space.
I wouldn’t blame them, if people hardly go home to their families.
I found it difficult to leave the space. If not for another meeting, I would have been found lounging in this elegant space.
Must visit for anyone going to Mumbai.