The world’s largest office building is filled with diamonds

In the vibrant diamond city of Surat, nestled within the state of Gujarat, India, a radiant marvel has emerged that combines the allure of precious gems with the grandeur of architecture. Surpassing even the historic Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, a new beacon of opulence and ingenuity has taken center stage as the world’s largest office building: the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB).

With a sprawling expanse spanning 7.1 million square feet, the SDB stands as an emblem of Surat’s prominence as a global diamond hub, where a staggering 90% of the world’s diamonds are manufactured. In a city renowned for its contributions to the diamond trade, the SDB reigns as an extraordinary structure that embodies the craftsmanship, innovation, and abundance that the diamond industry represents.

The Radiance of Dimensions

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The sheer magnitude of the Surat Diamond Bourse becomes apparent when compared to the iconic Pentagon. While the Pentagon held the prestigious title of the world’s largest building for a remarkable 80 years, the SDB has effortlessly dethroned it, serving as a testament to the evolution of architectural possibilities.

Built across 7.1 million square feet of floor space, the SDB casts a radiant glow over the diamond city. The headquarters building of the US Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia, spanning 6.5 million square feet, pales in comparison to the sheer brilliance of the SDB.

A Glimpse Inside the Gem-Infused Structure

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The Surat Diamond Bourse is not just an architectural wonder—it’s a thriving ecosystem for the diamond industry. Delving into the numbers and intricacies within its walls, we uncover a world of luxury and functionality:

  • 4,700 Office Spaces: Within the walls of the SDB, 4,700 meticulously designed office spaces exist. Beyond their conventional use, these spaces can also double as small workshops dedicated to the delicate art of cutting and polishing diamonds. Impressively, all these spaces were purchased by diamond companies even before the building’s completion, underscoring the significance of this radiant structure.
  • 65,000 Diamond Professionals: The SDB serves as a bustling center for approximately 65,000 diamond professionals at any given time. This dynamic workforce includes skilled cutters, polishers, and traders, all dedicated to perfecting the art of diamonds. The building not only offers office spaces but also provides access to dining, retail, wellness facilities, and conference areas, creating an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.
  • 9 Sparkling Courtyards: The SDB boasts nine expansive courtyards, each spanning 1.5 acres. These inviting spaces are adorned with water features and seating arrangements, creating casual meeting spots for traders. Within these courtyards, ideas are exchanged, connections are forged, and the brilliance of diamonds finds a home.
  • 131 Elevators: The Surat Diamond Bourse has mastered the art of efficiency with a network of 131 elevators that seamlessly transport individuals throughout the building. In just 7 minutes, one can traverse from any entry gate to any office—a testament to the thoughtful design that prioritizes convenience.
  • Democratic Allocation and Architectural Marvel: Co-founder of the Indian architecture firm Morphogenesis, Sonali Rastogi, reveals that the offices within the SDB were allocated through a democratic lottery system, fostering fairness and inclusion.
  • 3 Times the Size: Demonstrating its unmatched grandeur, the SDB stands three times larger than its Mumbai counterpart, the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB). This colossal scale emphasizes Surat’s preeminent role in the global diamond trade.


Shining Amidst Challenges

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As with any grand endeavor, the Surat Diamond Bourse faced its own set of challenges. During the anticipated November 2022 opening, a mere 400 merchants expressed willingness to relocate to this gem-filled haven. The reluctance of Mumbai’s Palanpuri diamantaires to make the move can be attributed to several factors:

  • Connectivity Concerns: The SDB’s location, situated 15 kilometers outside the city, presents challenges in terms of connectivity. The remoteness can deter traders from commuting and engaging with international clients.
  • Mumbai’s Glitzy Allure: Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, adorned with high-end hotels, luxurious restaurants, and upscale bars, possesses an aura more conducive to hosting international clientele, giving Mumbai a competitive edge.
  • Circulation Controversy: A circular from the SDB last January stirred discontent among Mumbai-based traders. The circular hinted that members winding up their polished diamond trading from Mumbai would be featured on the “leading members” list, causing concern among traders.
  • Customs Clearance Challenge: Unlike Mumbai’s diamond bourse, the SDB lacks a custom clearing house, creating obstacles in processing shipments—a critical facet of the diamond trade.

A Glistening Future: DREAM City

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The Surat Diamond Bourse stands as an anchor within the ambitious “DREAM City” redevelopment project, a visionary initiative that seeks to transform Surat into a Diamond Research and Mercantile City. As evidenced by its standout presence amidst the surrounding landscape, the SDB is a radiant symbol of Surat’s identity and aspirations.

In conclusion, the world’s largest office building, the Surat Diamond Bourse, weaves together the brilliance of diamonds with the magnificence of architecture. Its colossal dimensions, innovative design, and connection to the diamond industry make it a gem of global significance. While challenges arose, the building’s role in the “DREAM City” project promises a future characterized by brilliance, innovation, and grandeur. As diamonds continue to be shaped and refined within its walls, the Surat Diamond Bourse shines brightly as a testament to human achievement and the allure of precious gems.



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