The building (later renamed Bengal Centre) was a run-down garment industry built in the late eighties. It is a 5 stried building, with each floor measures 8000 sft. The architect's brief called for revamping existing floors, doing layouts for offices, fitting out the interior and creating an exterior shell. The architecture was conceived keeping in mind that the building is sited in a urban oasis with lakes and natural woods all around. The floor layouts respond to the surroundings by opening up view corridors of the lakes and greenery. The brick pylons defining the edges stabilise the simple glass and concrete frames in-between. The textured brick masonry creates a dialogue with the rough and untamed surroundings. The interior is conceived as a running gallery with wall spaces yielding to a display of myriad artworks.
Established 21 years ago, Aranya is a fair trade enterprise dedicated to the revival and promotion of natural dyes. Abashan was commissioned to plan, refurbish and fit out its outlet on Kemal Ataturk Avenue, at Banani, Dhaka. The scope included setting up a restaurant in the ground floor, revising the shop layout, and creating a lighting and display scheme. The project was completed in two months in 2011, while the retail continued to function.
Bengal Art Lounge was established by Bengal Foundation in 2011 as its second cultural venue in Dhaka. The space, which previously functioned as a restaurant, was redesigned for a gallery by leading architect Kashef M Chowdhury. Abashan played the role of the project and construction manager. The elegant architectural language deployed for the space is best exemplified in the minute details of the design and the marriage of textures. The palate creates a rich experience of volumes subtly overlaid with grainy surfaces.
The Haritaki Lounge is on the ground floor of the Banani outlet of Aranya Crafts. Commissioned in 2011, it was conceived of as a comfortable food and art lounge which would reflect the special brand of Aranya aesthetics. The interior is a dialogue between natural materials and organic hues. The interior becomes an extension of the ‘Aranya’ experience by having small painted windows which look into the busy workshop and the terrace.