TAKE a look inside the world's largest office building that is adding some serious sparkle to India's diamond capital – as it's dripping in gems.
The Surat Diamond Bourse (SBD) has spared no expense on its sprawling new trade centre that is taking shape in the west of the country.
The 15-storey complex boasts 7.1 million sq ft of floor space, knocking The Pentagon off the top spot as the globe's biggest office building.
It dwarfs the United States Department of Defense headquarters which has held the title for over 80 years.
But the architects behind the build say it was out of necessity rather than competition – as diamond companies snapped up all the offices before construction even began.
The SDB sits on more than 35 acres of land and is billed as a one-stop shop for over 65,000 diamond professionals.
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The incredible office in the city of Surat in India features nine rectangular towers which are interconnected via a central "spine".
A whopping 131 lifts have been installed to ferry the thousands of people between floors – more than double the elevators in the Burj Khalifa.
The SDB will be kitted out with 4,500 diamond merchant offices, which range in size from 300 to 75,000 sq ft.
Its interior invites natural light to make firms jewels gleam, while marble floors add some glamour to the £302 million development.
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Amenities such as conference halls, multi-purpose halls, restaurants, banks and retail shops will also be on offer for bling-loving business buffs.
It aims to be a hub for all diamond-related activities, including sales, polishing, manufacturing machines, software and lab-grown gems.
International and local buyers are expected to descend on the gigantic office block in droves to take their business that is typically conducted on the streets to the safety of inside.
A dedicated custom house with a national diamond research institute, an international convention centre, international education facilities and five-star hotels will also be on offer.
It's no surprise the building brimming with jewels will have state-of-the-art security measures – as well as over 4,000 CCTV cameras.
A member of the SDB management committee said employees will submit their biometrics, allowing them to access the complex with a "wave of their hand."
The bourse is set to redefine the diamond trade in India by turning its focus to Surat rather than Mumbai, where office spaces are scarce and uber-expensive.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to unveil the SDB, praised the ambitious project in a tweet last week.
He wrote: "Surat Diamond Bourse showcases the dynamism and growth of Surat’s diamond industry.
"It is also a testament to India’s entrepreneurial spirit.
"It will serve as a hub for trade, innovation, and collaboration, further boosting our economy and creating employment opportunities."
The SDB is finally set to open on November 21, 2023, after four years of construction that was hindered by Covid-related delays.
Masterminds at Indian architecture company Morphogenesis won the chance to design the offices after beating international competition.
Discussing the details of their creation, the firm said: "The central spine is used for interconnection between towers on every level.
"The design enhances users' spatial and transitional experience across the building without highlighting the expanse of the structure.
"The central axis connecting all the offices is designed as an interactive hub comprising of break-out spaces, green atriums and a host of visual experiences.
"These spaces have been designed to foster social cohesion and community engagement."
They believe the building's layout will forge a "level playing field" for businesses both small and large.
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The project's CEO, Mahesh Gadhavi, believes the SDB will save thousands of people from travelling – sometimes daily – to Mumbai by train to conduct business.
He told CNN: "It’s difficult … (some) people have to spend three and a half to four hours, daily, to come from their homes to their offices and back home again."
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