Customised Volvo bus promotes Godrej locking solutions

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

DC Design and Godrej have highlighted the other side of luxury by employing a luxury coach to promote Godrej locking systems and solutions.

It may sound highly unusual; even insane. The task of procuring a fully-built 15 m-long luxury coach and customising it to promote a range of locks. Defined by Oxford dictionary as a mechanism typically operated by a key to keep a door, window, lid, or container fastened, the use of luxury coach as a media to promote something as humble is certain to sound too far fetched. This is however not the first time that a well known manufacturer of locking systems and solutions in India has taken to a bus to customise it in an effort to reach out to a target audience. Mumbai-based Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co., in association with DC Design, built a Mobile Experience Centre (MEC) some three years ago, and called it the MEC-1. Two years ago, it did a similar exercise, albeit on a bigger bus, and called it the MEC-2. It has now done it again, and this time, on an even bigger bus. The MEC-3 is thus built on a multi-axle Volvo 9400 bus measuring 14.5 m in length. Dedicated to the promotion of a range of locking solutions and systems that Godrej has to offer, MEC-3, painted in an attractive shade of black with orange bands on either side, and an ultra large windshield at front, will travel across the country with stop-overs at Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Raipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi and Vizag. It was flagged off from the Mumbai headquarters by Shyam Motwani, Executive Vice President and Business Head at Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., and Prasad Gupte, General Manager, IMC and Trade Marketing, recently. Set to seek the attention of architects, interior designers and contractors, MEC-3 will draw attention to the innovation (led by design) in the area of locking systems and solutions.

A result of a highly ambitious project according to Dilip Chhabria, Founder and MD, DC Design, what is surprising about the MEC-3 is it being based on a 15 m long multi-axle luxury coach that can otherwise ferry up to 53 people over long distances in high levels of comfort. Even the cost of such a bus is no less than one-crore rupees to start with. Rightly termed as a highly ambitious project by Chhabria, MEC-3 was designed and developed to elevate the appeal of the locking solutions Godrej and Boyce has to offers. Taking it to the next level. Third and perhaps not the last in the series of mobile experience centres built by DC Design exclusively for Godrej and Boyce, MEC-3 will present architects, interior designers and contractors an opportunity to touch and feel the range of Godrej locking solutions and systems. Leveraging on the success of MEC-1 and MEC-2, which are out touring parts of the country and have managed to reach out to their target audience, exposing them to the locking systems and solutions Godrej has to offer, MEC-3 takes the concept to the next level. Presenting new, state of the art designs that are ideal for residential and commercial applications in an attractive shape and style of presentation. And, almost at the door step. Found on MEC-3 are thus a range of locking solutions, electronic and analogue in nature. In the form of smart, electronic locks and customised locks produced for industry specific applications.

Explaining the idea of creating MECs as an opportunity to reach out to architects and engineers rather than call them to a brick and mortar showrooms, Gupte described them as the busiest and whackiest lot. Stating that they have had the experience of working closely with leading architects like Hafeez Contractor, and their projects, Gupte mentioned that MEC-1 happened three years ago. “MEC-2 happened two years ago. MEC-3 adds to the two experience centres we built, and is bigger. It will facilitate our trade focus,” he added. Speaking about the creation of MEC-3, and the use of a orange band across the sides, Deepak More of DC Design, stated that the design had to look like a huge 3D mobile sculpture, “It had to shock and awe, as if a futuristic spaceship has landed”. “The interior was designed in such a way that it would be organic as well as look asymmetrical from left-to-right, and from the front-to-back,” he said. This design philosophy led to the creation of a unique sinewy look and feel.

Intending to numb people with its ultra high-end classy and organic surfaces, the interior of MEC-3 attempts at replicate some concept cars and yachts even as it displays a range of aspirational locking systems and solutions. If the combination of an orange band over a smooth black surface was done to present a 3D impression, and to make a clear distinction in terms of style and boldness, the use of dual-colour scheme was done to hint at niche product positioning ability. An effort was made to amalgamate digital engineering and craftsmanship. Also looked into, according to More, was an ability to infuse acute styling sensitivity. Confirming to CMVR regulations under special application vehicle, MEC-3 saw 30 people at DC Design work on it. It took three months to build the vehicle. Expected to run for five years, MEC-3 adds a new dimension to the use of a multi-axle luxury coach. A few years ago, actor Shahrukh Khan invested in a vanity van that was built on a similar multi-axle luxury coach from Volvo. The creation of MEC-3 may be a logical extension of an experiment in the form of MEC-1 and MEC-2 gone right, it marks the culmination of the abilities of Godrej and Boyce to take a bold step to invest a considerable sum towards its creation, and for DC Design to think out of
the box.

Highlighting creativity with a practical edge to it, MEC-3 subtly endorses the fact that 600 million Indians use Godrej products. It represents a locking systems and solutions market that is estimated at Rs. 4,200 crore. Stating that Godrej is happy with the creation, Gupte described Chhabria as an entrepreneur with the brain of an engineer as well as a designer. He may not be off the mark. MEC-3 marks the creation of a mobile experience centre that presents a design-led innovation as a concept that blends design excellence and functionality into a manufacturing process. And, with customer centricity as one of the core pillars.