Design touches you on a subliminal level, in so many infinitesimal ways – whether it’s how well your hand fits in a cup or how comfortable a chair feels. Design influences our thoughts, feelings and decisions. Simply put, good design is what makes for a positive experience. And that’s way, way beyond just creating a beautiful feature.
The design of space is linked to the way we live, work and play. At the macro level, this includes the quality of life of a city or community and, at its most intimate scale, the quality of a room. In this article, we take a look, in no particular order, at some of the young Indian design studios that are creating unique spatial experiences, firmly placing the user at the center of the narrative while being aware of the environment and not losing sight of the mantra, “Design matters”.
Here is a list of some of the country’s most exciting young practices in architecture and interior design:
Bhyrav BR and Aatira L. Zacharias
Architects Bhyrav BR and Aatira L. Zacharias’ first clients were themselves, when they designed an 800 square foot home they purchased immediately after getting married. “Starting our own practice was not something we wanted to do,” they state. “We enjoyed the experience of working together, so a year later when someone approached us about doing a project, we were really looking for that feeling of pure joy.” Finding inspiration in a variety of places – from films and music to works by Louis Kahn, Charles Correa and other younger practices – the duo say their Bengaluru-based studio stays honest with the record and clients. Perhaps that’s why the 200-square-foot restaurant Quissa Khawani, under space, budget and time constraints, is close to their hearts. “Ultimately, this small space had a huge impact on everyone who entered. We were able to create a space as warm as the family cooking their age-old recipes behind the arched gabion wall.”
Aslam Karadan and Sham Salim
Karadan and Salim had barely left their architectural training wheels when they formed their eponymous independent practice out of a “desire to be able to express ourselves through our work”. [and] the pure satisfaction we found in achieving it. “Professional articulations of the 30-somethings’ effort is to occupy a middle ground between their fundamentals and client perspectives. Unsurprisingly, tropical modernism is the duo’s favorite genre that operates from lush Kerala, and is invigorated by “anything and everything that pushes our limits”, as is the Hidden House, which seems to emerge from a heavily contoured site.
“Create with passion”, such is the credo of Jeet Soneji, 27, who is close to his heart. Jetsons, which he founded in 2020 on the heels of a three-year stint with the prolific MuseLAB, got its start with art installations and has now evolved into spaces marked by “a palette of pure materials, a tactility texture and flawless quality” – regardless of scale. The curves, concrete and lines of Soneji, a 4BHK tiny house, beautifully exemplify these qualities. “The key idea in this winding concrete apartment was to create a flow of diverse spaces of materials and furniture that complement each other in a minimalist way.” Soneji finds himself enthused by Bjarke Ingels of BIG as well as Elon Musk – the former for the adaptability of his projects and a different approach to design, the latter for his dreams of advancing humanity. “Imagine what will happen if we combine their ideas and visions! »
Mayavan’s work sits at the crossroads of the fundamentals of design philosophies and processes and explorations of contemporary tools such as computer techniques. The “lines” of her Lines and Motion project, for example, are informed by memories of rice paddies near her village, and are articulated as an ethereal light installation composed of acrylic panels carrying a network of luminous lines. He started MYVN Architecture in Bengaluru with a zeal to express himself and put those expressions out into the world, but now “the intention is to expand and make room for others to be part of this journey” , explains the admirer of Jean Nouvel and John Pawson. strong vision and expression of art.
THE QUAD ACT
Priyanka Itadkar & Falguni Bhatia
“Our goal is to make every day a little less ordinary, through a process of free-thinking and experimentation,” say architects Priyanka Itadkar and Falguni Bhatia. “We aim to bring unexpected objects and environments into everyday life.” The Quad Act, which they established to fulfill their need for growth and exploration, believes that humans inherently find beauty in the “orderly mess” of nature. “Our approach is intuitive, playful and collaborative, one that manifests itself between singular and unconventional.” Unconventional is indeed right. Their project, known simply as the Mumbai Apartment, subverts the popular notion of home by creating a socio-petal arrangement of overlapping spaces, layers of shapes and volumes – serving more than just the intended function. “The layout”, say admirers of architects Anupama Kundoo, Brinda Somaya and Chitra Vishwanath, “is tailored to suit every member of the family, with multipurpose objects and dynamic spaces encouraging a catalog of unexpected activities” .
While practicing modern architecture, UA Design by Umang Goswami is careful not to limit its design language to any particular style. “We’re not one to hope to work only with like-minded clients. We love the challenge of collaborating with an unfamiliar mindset,” says Goswami, with whom poetic spaces and the integrity of geography and of the culture of Daniel Libeskind and Balakrishna Doshi resonate deeply. . A quintessential middle-class Indian from a small town, the 35-year-old CEPT University alum has always wondered why affordable housing projects get mother-in-law treatment despite the best creative minds in the world. ‘industry. “That’s why Rains is special. It’s an attempt at quality community living, as opposed to luxury,” he says, emphasizing that “design is for everyone.”
Gauri Satam and Tejesh Patil
unTAG – the name says it all. A stylistically unfettered design, shaped solely by considerations of brief, budget, climate and context. “For us, it’s about how [a built-form] is experienced and inhabited by users, and how gracefully it ages,” say Gauri Satam and Tejesh Patil, both alumni of Sir JJ College of Architecture in Mumbai. The urge to work in the field of social architecture while providing affordable luxury came as the impetus to start an independent practice in 2015. Their first architectural project, Vrindavan, a modest 1,000 square foot retirement home remains a favourite. Nestled in a mango orchard, it is an indigenous, cost-effective, human-scaled abode made in locally available laterite “This house is not what it looks like,” explain the architects who are energized by nature and vernacular building traditions, “but about what it overlooks and how it feels once you’re inside.”
ZERO ENERGY DESIGN LABORATORY (ZED)
Sachin Rastogi and Payal Seth Rastogi
Measure, Minimize, Mitigate – these three Mrs. soaked during his stint at the internationally renowned UK-based BDP represent a watershed moment for Sachin Rastogi. This sparked his passion for energy-efficient design – and ultimately led to the ZED Lab which he co-directs with partner Payal Seth Rastogi. “With sustainability at the heart of its design process, ZED Lab’s design approach is informed by a thorough understanding and application of centuries-old bioclimatic wisdom, reinterpreted using state-of-the-art computational tools such as design parametric,” says Sachin, who admires architects like Tadao Ando, Joseph Allen Stein and their natural response to architecture. A good example is ZED Lab’s work at the University of St Andrews, where the studio has built student hostels. While the facades are dominated by brick jaalis (one of the largest built in India), a porous skin through which the buildings breathe maintains a comfortable indoor climate.
MANOJ PATEL DESIGN STUDIO
Manoj Patel is enthusiastic about climate-sensitive architecture, traditional aesthetics, local building practices and materials. But what sets him apart is his focus on clay tiles which he explores to create innovative products and surface applications. These include architectural facades wrapped in delicate zig-zags of tile edges; interior walls adorned with graphically placed tile pieces; vertical gardens resting in containers of fresh soil; and seating stools with textured detail tile profiles. “In our quest for new materials, we lost sight of what we already had,” says the 33-year-old architect. “Terracotta tiles are durable, can be mass-produced, and come in beautiful profiles.” The recently completed Courtyard House uses terracotta tiles both externally – as warm, patterned elevation inserts in the painted facades – and internally, as a soaring courtyard wall whose textures are amplified by natural light.
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