Satellite image of Bengaluru skyline, taken early 2019, shows how the once green city is getting grayer by the day. Is it possible to turn them mostly green again without much fuss, a little effort and a bit of investment? “Indeed,” says Rajesh Kumar Das, founder of the Bengaluru-based design firm 10by10 Studio. He has already shown how it can be done on 12 properties.
“Even if 50% of the terrace area of most companies is turned green with plants, the heat output factor of the city can be reduced significantly,” he says. This could even bring down indoor temperature by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius at the city’s peak temperature. Rajesh is happy that several MNCs are lining up to avail his design services as pressure on them to demonstrate how eco-friendly they are is mounting, especially from the employees.
‘Do first, preach next’ is Rajesh’s team’s philosophy. Their Bengaluru office got nominated for the ‘Top 5 Smart Green Sustainable Office’ by financial daily The Economic Times recently.
The interesting part of the terrace greening campaign is that the team at the firm is re-imagining the ‘free’ terrace space in a way that it also incorporates wellness and fun facilities for employees. “The possibility of open spaces for business meetings too is exciting clients today,” Rajesh says with a glint in his eyes. He says 10by10’s main focus is educating people to use design for solving problem, in a chat with Benedict Paramanand, Editor of SustainabilityNext
Unique Approach to Design
10by10 Studio is a four-year old spin-off of the realty firm Rubenius where it was known as Rubenius Interiors. Rajesh was certain that their unique approach to interior design had greater appeal outside his parent company’s client list. The studio’s primary objective, he says, is “to foster thematic inclination towards sustainability and affordable technology.”
After piloting the business and creative idea for two years, 10by10 was launched in 2015 to work on innovative and sustainable use of space, landscape and product design. The studio is equipped to provide holistic solutions for wellness, welfare, sustainability and technology.
The founders call this initiative ‘LIV AWSM’ & ‘LVL AWSM’ , where sustainable and ecological principles are integrated into work and living spaces for producing better air, water, energy efficient lighting and holistic experiences. These ideas resonate in imaginative landscaping and design in indoor as well as outdoor spaces.
Useful Green Data (source 10by10)
- 6-8 inches of
greenroof can reduce summer energy demands by 60% Roof topgarden and farming can reduce 5-7 degreeof indoor temp.
This can save up to 40% of air conditioner usage and enables 30-40% of
- 1gm of CO2 absorption every 30 minutes by each tree – Up to 10 kg of CO2 a year
- 150gm of plant mass will generate 32gm of O2 Indoor. Which is 20% of the air content we breathe.
- Plants remove toxins from air –up to 75% of volatile organic compounds (
vocs) every 24 hours
- The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°f (1– 3°c) warmer than its surroundings. In the evenings, the difference can be as high as 22°f (12°c)
- Green terraces can be put up for Rs. 900 to 1,500 per sq ft
- Reduced energy use: green roofs remove heat from the air through the process of evapotranspiration, and also act as insulators for buildings, reducing the energy needed to provide cooling and heating
- One hour on moderate gardening activities like planting and weeding can burn between 200 – 400 calories
The Studio’s terrace greening ideas go beyond planting trees or landscaping empty areas. Rajesh adds, “It involves curating plants that better quality of air, they are integrated into existing décor. Studies show how plants at work spaces have positive influence on mental health along with offering improved air quality.”
10by10’s vision to completely replace air-conditioning with plant-cooled systems seems ambitious. It also wants to help cities retain their identities as increasingly most cities start looking the same.
The design studio also gets asked to suggest ways of transforming cities into sustainable cities. There’s growing demand to make the 100 Smart Cities plan of the Government of India into Green Smart Cities.
10by10’s most expressive work so far include terrace solution ideas for Abhaya Bhavan and Beary’s BGRT in Bengaluru. Its next big greening terrace project is for 24/7, a software company, is said to be in an advanced stage. As part of the Smart City Council in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, Rajesh is trying to incorporate several ambitious ideas to BHU-HUB as well.
With designers from the famous National School of Design and people hardwired to put almost every discarded material to use creatively, 10by10 Studio has been throwing up unusual, bold and eco-friendly product designs.
The designers love pets and this shows. They design furniture for dogs and cats using discarded boxes, wood and thatch roofs. They double up as place to sleep and play. Rajesh Das showed his cat furniture design to some people and was surprised when a client ordered 5 units.
The firm is also promoting community-inspired and generated art. The space next to the Studio office looks more like a play school for adults and children. It allows groups of youngsters to dirty their hands with creativity using various types of used material donated by neighboring communities.
Kudalasangama Basava International Museum
Technology is considered as a smart men’s game. 10by10 tries to rewrite such stereotypical concepts in collaboration with ARCOP associates, RDX studios and parent company Rubenius. It is working on a futuristic public space at Kudalasangama Basava International Museum – a 650-acre extravagant experience about Basavanna, a 12th-century Kannada philosopher, poet and statesman.
Special features include, an 80 acre solar lake (solar panel above a lake) and an electric train inside the campus.
Rajesh Kumar Das, 38, a Computer Science graduate, moved to Bengaluru from Orissa looking for a job in the IT sector. In just over a year into it, he realized that his destiny was somewhere else.
His team led the studio’s award-winning project – Luminocage, an experience centre, in Bangalore, for Schneider Electric, an RE100 company. 10by10 envisioned a futuristic method of digitizing the exhibition experience to win the Young Designer’s Competition held by Indian Architect & Builder at the 361 degree conference in 2019.
10by10 is also currently driving the collaboration with BESCOM Ltd (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) by designing a first-of-its-kind to approach for a government body.