Located inside the Ecospace Business Park, Kolkata and spread across 3700 square feet, Fanattic Sports Museum is India’s first sports museum designed in place of a non-operational food court. The project brief called for creating a unique, one-of-a-kind sports museum which would develop a conscious sports community. The challenge was to complete the research and commission the project within a time span of two months using the least amount of capital resource and design the building within a 20 acre campus as per the Gold Rating requirements of LEED. Apart from presenting the city with a sports museum, the intent was also to inspire the corporate crowd on campus to participate in a healthy dialogue on sports.
The idea was to showcase the personal collections and memorabilia collected for over 29 years by the renowned sports journalist Boria Majumdar. At present the museum houses 133 exhibits, 60 graphic boards, 10 life-size cut-outs of sportsmen– making the space interactive by creating photo ops for the selfie crowd. There are over 18 videos to watch, an indoor stage, a deck theatre which can accommodate 50 people along with a retail outlet that sells exclusive sports merchandise.
A conscious approach was adapted to challenge the conventional interpretation of museum design in terms of linear and guided circulation schemes; making it sporty and the movement experiential and explorative. This led to the augmentation of a spatial design which presents the visitors with a possibility to choose their own avenue for delving into the space. According to their interest in various sports they can take their own route of exploration of various interactive artefacts. The larger perspective that facilitated the conceptualization of the design was, how ‘sporty’ could a Sports Museum be.
The complex invites visitors and sports enthusiasts through a diagonal entrance enhanced by a false extension projecting out of the building mass. The gallery located just after the entrance houses frames that picture glimpses from the world of cricket. To the left, there are graphic illustrations highlighting the history of cricket and display sections showcasing memorabilia from the sports of soccer – a visual and literary treat for the soccer fans. The museum contains glass displays that showcase framed highlights from the Olympics as well as articles lauding the achievements of the famous athletes and sportspersons. An enticing collection of cricket jerseys, framed memorabilia, bats, and life-size standees of cricket legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly etc. is displayed on the walls of the museum. Memorabilia from hockey and tennis is exhibited via an elaborate setup right in the centre.
The design encourages adaptive reuse and resource optimizationin order to reduce the investment and operational costs. Most of the existing floor and wall finishes have been kept intact, whereas the complete external glazing remains unaltered. In order to establish a visual connectivity and seamless integration of the outside to the inside, scenic views of the green campus have been infused within the spatial experience. The sitting gallery is oriented to participate with the diffused light filtering in through the lush foliage. The reception connects with the outside landscape with side orientation. The layout around the glazing allows daylight to spread till the farthest point without breaking it with any element in-between. The existing MEP was re-employed into the interiors with HVAC ducts, while the interior layout was slightly changed to accommodate the ducting on the ceiling. By creating semi partitioned zones, spatial and psychological segregation of zones was successfully established without intensive HVAC ducting. These display partition tunnels also help in facilitating and regulating smooth flow of the crowd in the museum.
To develop the interiors, certified MDF has been installed complying with the colour palette of the pre-existing floor tiles. MS sections have been procured from the scrap yard, ripped from other places and installations, and have been utilised to create minimal support frames. To regulate light pollution and optimise illumination, all light fixtures are LED-based with specific diffuser selection parameters. Walls have been painted with water-based, low VOC content paints in order to cut down cost, omit any harmful, strong odours and reduce the impact on the indoor-air quality.