INDIA TRAVELS : MINISTRY OF NEW

I had been dying to visit the most talked about new spot in Bombay – the Ministry of New ever since I wrote about their interiors on Design Sponge and finally managed to orchestrate a pit-stop during our annual Christmas holidays to India at the end of last year.

Launched in 2016 by Dutch art director Marlies Bloemendaal and Natascha Chadha, the Ministry of New is intended to be an oasis in the bustling Indian metropolis of Bombay – nicknamed the “Maximum City” – where it can sometimes be hard to catch a breath. The space is resplendent in sky blue and ocean hues, natural materials, playful working spaces, and plenty of textile and pattern play.

‘Members Club’ style Co-Working spaces are still a relatively new concept in India. In a society where there has always been such a division of class and a history of private elite spaces away from the masses – this type of venue goes a little way to level the playing field socially – bringing together a mix of people at relatively affordable rates.

It’s always interesting to experience a space after you see imagery of it online because in my industry we all know that a pretty space can all be smoke and mirrors. Clutter can be swept out of shot and furniture can be styled to look eternally magazine ready. I think that designing spaces where a lot of people pass through like offices can be even harder to pull-off because you have to rely on so many people to keep the look together.

This space was 100 times better than the images because well… it was in India… which immediately charged the interiors with a warmth and energy that is only found in this country – did you note the green tinsel on the rattan lampshades? Such a cute and kitsch little Indian touch!

Our taxi had dropped us off on a busy main road in Bombay’s Fort district and we wound our way through a covered strip of booksellers –  took a tiny lift up around three levels and came up to a sunlight filled historic space that was a welcome breath of fresh air away from the bustling road below.

The entrance is composed of the reception desk which is made completely out of books (a nod to the space’s past as a book warehouse) and a communal light filled atrium adorned with plants and little Indian details that I loved like plants potted in plastic buckets and hanging baskets made out of stainless steel dishes! I would probably spend all of my time here – whiling away the hours on Bombay Atelier‘s super stylish basket weave stools.

The main workspace is generous in size accommodating around 40 people and housed large communal tables, daybeds by Studio Wrap made of layered monochrome mattresses and antique Jaipur Rugs adorning the floors. The rest of the rooms that came off the central atrium were all themed in different styles and could be hired as private offices for businesses.

Oh – and the room with the great swing – The Library was my favourite space. A communal living room area stacked with books, board games and a surfboard-shaped swing. The area is used to host talks, documentary screenings and game nights.

Ministry of New
Third Floor, Kitab Mahal, D. N. Road, near New Excelsior cinema, Fort.

Author: Rohini Wahi

Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.

She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at mail@rohiniwahi.com

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