Interview with Mr Robin Chhabra- Founder and CEO of Dextrus Workspace
Robin Chhabra is the CEO & Founder of Dextrus, a coworking space. Dextrus was setup in 2018 as a coworking space in the growing commercial center of BKC, Mumbai. A variety of companies call Dextrus home and they range from large tech companies to hedge funds.
Robin has previously worked as a Senior Architect for Serie Architects, Mumbai. Serie Architects is an international practice based out London, Mumbai and Singapore specializing in architecture, urban design and research. Serie’s work is known for spatial intelligence, formal elegance and contextual engagement.
During his tenure there, Robin led projects of multiple scales in the domains of residential, hotels, schools, sports facilities etc. His role dealt with all aspects of running the project from design to execution.
Prior to this, Robin has worked in Singapore with a boutique architecture firm, Kay Ngee Tan Architects, where he worked on projects of different scales from theatre set design to heritage hotels.
He has done his schooling from Winchester College, UK and has a B.Sc. in Architecture as well as a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
In an exclusive interview with Mr Robin Chhabra, Founder and CEO of Dextrus Workspace explains how he start his entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself
Robin Chhabra: I have studied architecture and am professionally an Architect. I did my B.S. in Architecture and a Masters in Architecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
I have studied and worked in the UK, USA and Singapore over the course of over a decade.My parents were both working professionals, my father a lawyer and worked for over two decades as General Counsel for a large FMCG company.
My mother taught Hindi and History for most of her life and is a teacher at her core. My brother lives in the USA and works as Senior Vice President for a large tech company..
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.
Robin Chhabra: I worked as a professional architect in a reputed design firm on projects of various sizes and typologies. That experience really helped me hone my design skills and see the world through a very different lens. We worked hard, very thoroughly and made great designed spaces.
I really wanted to learn the business side of designing and creating the build environment and wished to bring a design thinking lens to the entire process of development.
Coworking spaces are a great juxtaposition of creativity and operability, where designers need to be careful of the aesthetics and function at the same time. I thought it would be a great place to experiment the ethos of design thinking merging with business thinking.
Kindly brief us about Dextrus, its specialization, and the service that it offers.
Robin Chhabra: We started Dextrus in late 2016 and spent a long time researching and preparing for our first center. We launched in BKC in May 2018 and launched our second center in April 2021 in Lower Parel.
Dextrus offers workspaces to Enterprises, MNC’s, SME’s, professionals. Our client companies range from real estate to financial services to data center companies and much more. We also put in alot of effort in our service excellence to give clients a great experience so that they dont worry about much else other than growing their business.
What is your biggest USP.
Robin Chhabra: Design and service quality are our biggest USP’s. We design, build and operate our own spaces and hence the synergies of each helps the other to give a very holistic Dextrus experience in the end. Our Design capabilities extend to being able to provide flexibility, customization and great aesthetics to help companies create unique office spaces that suit their requirements.
What made you choose this type of business?
Robin Chhabra: Natural synergies, Architecture and Real Estate are very interlinked.
Recent developments of Dextrus.
Robin Chhabra: We are 100% occupied in both our centers with a waiting list and we have been looking into expanding our footprint.
What is your Leadership Mantra
Robin Chhabra: Lead from the front with empathy.
What was your mission, goal and objectives at the outset?
Robin Chhabra: We are a real estate company and will be looking to innovate at every level of our workflow. We wish to innovate in design, construction and in services.
How hybrid work models have boosted the demand of co-working spaces in India.
Robin Chhabra: Companies need more options on the table, from size of offices available to furnishing options to lease options. Traditional options do not provide that flexibility.
Companies are also rolling their teams in batches and hence need less space and need to do that quickly. Our model provides an immense amount of flexibility and customization even at all scales.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Robin Chhabra: Past mistakes of personnel choices. Get top talent, choose the talent rather than the number. Invest in the people around you.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made? Made small mistakes in operations, sales etc. but all that only helped us get better.
Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Robin Chhabra: Life is a balance, work is too. Don’t lose sight of that otherwise one side will be too heavy with no weight on the other to pull you back to being balanced.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur
Robin Chhabra: Create Create Create. We need new ideas for the world ahead and I wanted to be a part of that.
Dextrus- Design Brief
A balance of privacy and collaboration was to be achieved through the design where clients have the freedom of choice on how to work and feel part of a larger office space rather than just their desk.
Having different types of spaces gives client a sense of choice and through that a sense of ownership to the space.
Hence we have provided for phone booths, library space, cafeteria (that you can also work out of), lounges, event space, meeting rooms, brainstorm room. These spaces are immersed within the office space so that it is easy to get into and out of when required.
The aesthetics were to be warm, clean, simple yet have some freshness and sense of surprise. We use the gold and white to bring in some of that simplicity and prestige.
While the pink, green, dark grey were brought into be bring the warmth and also some surprise. Freshness is through the plants.
Textures such as the CNC cut patterned wood panels and the textured lime plaster pink ceilings to bring depth. The artwork were used to bring color as well as to talk about dexterity, different types of work in India.
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