Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
It is very common for one to misconstrue what the ideal 'office life' is. We all quite instinctively think white shirts, blue ties, formal shoes, and a suffocating air of seriousness and to some extent boredom following you around through out the day. While some offices will help somewhat remove that misconception, one office, if any, that will successfully change your mind completely is Studio Bangi- and in the name itself, you know.
Studio Bangi is primarily a creative design studio.
The reason to why such a name was selected also has a story behind it. “Back when I was in university, this was used as a derogatory term. But primarily it means 'bangali'. I don't understand why it was used so negatively. I wanted to shed some positive light on the term, and so we kept the name for the studio. We are all 'bangis', after all,” says Salzar Rahman, Co-Founder and Director of Studio Bangi.
It is next to impossible to limit them to one single area of design. Their members are all experienced in their own fields- architecture, interior design, animation, video editing, cinematography, music and more, while they are constantly learning new techniques and skills from each other.
“I think all art is linked to each other,” says Salzar. “We can design an interior, a music video, or even a wedding card; it will all require a lot of effort and a lot of creativity. What studying 5 years of architecture has taught me is how to approach any design. So the concept for any creative work and the approach is the same.”
The end of his studies in Architecture was where his unique ideas began cooking themselves up in his mind. “I always felt like architects were too closed in their boxes. Our courses at university are very open to other fields of art, from design, to photography, to filmmaking. So I wanted to use all that I learned into whatever I did” he says.
He took a year off, after a couple of exhibitions at Drik Gallery and Bengal Art Gallery of his art works- mainly sketches, when Co-founder of Studio Bangi and friend of Salzar, Mogno, who Salzar joined later, began the School of Everything Else (SEE). SEE was interested in all that is there in the realms of Art & Science, which pretty much covers everything, and subjects that appear beyond these fields. After SEE, Salzar went on to do some more work in different fields, before Studio Bangi was established. “I wanted to do some more work with animation and videos. A friend of mine asked me to make an intro video for Amar Desh Amar Graam, after which I worked on my graphic novel called The No Man's Land Project,” he says.
After a good reception of the novel, the band members of Nemesis, also friends of Salzar, approached Salzar to do a cover art for their then upcoming album- Tritio Jaatra. “But I was persistent on making a music video too. After some poking and prodding, they gave me the project. And thus, Mogno and I began Studio Bangi, along with Zohad, from Nemesis, and Shawon.” Eventually, Mogno left the group for personal reasons, while the group now consists of Salzar himself as director, Zohad as sound specialist, Shawon as 3D animator, Shaiq as cinematographer, Shehzad Chowdhury, founder of Leela, also as cinematographer, Farah and Zareen as architects, Mahreen as manager, along with many others.
Studio Bangi, even though plays 'hard to get' with their fans, releasing quality videos and work every once in a while, still has quite a portfolio worth every praise. Their music video of the song Kobe by Nemesis brought about a very different approach to the industry as animation work was first stylishly introduced. The diverse group of creatives went on to designing the famous Jatra Biroti rooftop lounge; they have done stop motion advertisements for various products such a Surf Excel and Cell Bazaar. Their video advertisement for Airtel was a hit amongst the youth of the country, alone with their work for Bkash. Their recent Mother's Day video went viral on the Facebook newsfeed on Mother's Day and after. They are currently working on a boarding school in Sylhet and a video advertisement for Cats Eye. “Architect Zareen Hossain is joining us for the designing of the boarding school in Jaflong, Sylhet.” They are also beginning 'Bangi-Tech' which fuses art and technology.
“I joined this place because I believe in my creativity. And so do they. This place helps others give birth to new dreams,” says Shaiq Ahmed. “I don't have a formal degree in cinematography. But Studio Bangi has given me the opportunity to learn before I stepped into it. Apart from just that, I'm getting to learn every other thing. While we all work in our specialised areas, we have opportunity to learn from the others.”
Walking into the office, you will instantly feel like you are joining a new family. Smiles will greet you, as you walk from room to room and explore art and its wonders. A bright blue wall has a drawing of a large whale, drawn with chalk. The sketchbooks lying around can keep your gaze locked for a good few seconds before some one comes and shares some unique ideas with you, as if you too share this this beautiful bond.
“I have to give credit to Salzar. He has successfully brought a bunch of crazy people bursting at the seam with ideas and creativity and he has thrown them into one room and gotten work out of all of us. We have become a family. Our clients become our family, our friends who stop by become a part of it. And working here doesn't feel like work too. Whatever we do, we do with all our heart,” says Shawon, who can never look away from the screen for hours when working.
Truly, this office, no matter what the current stereotype dictates, is the ideal one. Where one can come in, discuss, brainstorm, draw, sing, paint, and use all the energy available to create magic, and create it together- as one big Bangi family.