Couples in Architecture

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Made for Each Other Architecturally

Annabelle Selldorf once said, “the secret of good architecture is having more than meets the eye.” Naturally, architecture demands looking beyond the obvious to create what results in customer delight. And when there are two heads it can create synergies like no other. We speak to some architect duos who tell us what makes their partnership tick.

Akash Mehta & Poonam Mehta, AMPM Designs

Akash Mehta has been associated with lighting products and lighting design for over a decade while Poonam Mehta started designing at an early age and her design sensibility is seen in her clean, clutter-free aesthetics. Akash says, “I am an avid follower of Tom Dixon, a self-taught British designer. He proves that good design comes of perfection and perfection comes from passion. That has been my motto always. We have been practicing design since a while now and been working on our individual projects. Post working on some projects together as independent designers we realized how working together brought a lot of value to the each other’s work. We brought out the best in each other.” The duo admit that it does take some time to learn where to step and where not to, but in the end it all settles down and is totally worth it. While Poonam takes care of interior designing Akash takes care of lighting design and the site work. This way they both know their boundaries and respect that. A key trend that they are putting to practice is using Sage slated to be the new neutral.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ampmdesigns/

Instagram: ampm_designs

Website: www.ampmdesigns.in/ www.ampm-designs.com

Quick Take

  • Favourite Product Designer – Akash: Tom Dixon, Poonam: B Philip Stark.
  • Favourite Architect – Akash: Zaha Hadid Poonam: Zaha Hadid and Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Your inspiration – Akash: good design comes of perfection and perfection comes from passion. Poonam: my ex-boss Noshir Talati
  • Favourite Quote – Akash: Vincent Van Gogh famously said “il est difficile d’etre simple”, the complex design processes that have gone into creating such a seemingly simple, sculptural form. Poonam: “I don’t think you can teach architecture. You can only inspire people.”- Zaha Hadid
  • One invaluable lesson you’ve learned on the job – Akash: Learning never ends. Poonam: Design is a process. I’m still learning.

Zubin Zainuddin Krupa Zubin, ZZ Architects

A multidisciplinary and multi award winning design firm this is led by Principal Architects Krupa Zubin and Zubin Zainuddin. The couple’s first design was a staircase that they designed for their own home. The concept and execution of this staircase won them a few prestigious awards and media coverage. The couple admit, “we have been very fortunate to have found each other. Our intuition when it comes to design and keen attention to detail is very similar. We are constantly learning and refining our aesthetic sensibilities.” The couple decided to run a joint practice as they realized their compatibility was in working with each other. Since they work on a number of projects at a time across varied categories, they work on all the projects depending on their strengths and the value that they could add on the project. “Projects are segregated as per groups in our firms. Over a dozen separate groups individually handle independent projects based on typology. We often obsess over the smallest of details and it is a matter of pride to see every project as unique and having its own response,” they add. And what happens when they their design choices clash? “Design choices always follow some logical reasoning other than aesthetic appeasement. These kinds of issues rarely occur as every project is driven in a precise direction keeping in mind the clients requirements, preferences and budgets. We make sure that the clients are integral part of every design decision so that there is a clear sense of pride and ownership for the client.”

Website – www.zzarchitects.com

Facebook – facebook/zzarchitects

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/zzarchitects/

Quick Take

  • Favourite Product Designer – Krupa: Nendo, Kelly Wearstler, Patricia Urquiola. Zubin: Wendell Castle, Chi Wing Lo, Jonathan Ive, Jean Michel Frank
  • Favourite Architect – Krupa: Carlos Scarpa, Barker Ingles, John Pawson, Zaha Hadid. Zubin: Thomas Heatherwick, Norman Foster, David Chipperfield, Steven Holl, Tadao Ando, Charles Correa
  • Your inspiration – Krupa: Zubin.  Zubin: Art, Books, Movies and Music
  • Favourite Quote – Krupa: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”. Zubin: “Often it’s the invisible nuances that make the visible difference”
  • One invaluable lesson you’ve learned on the job – Krupa: ‘Love your work and it will never feel like a job’. Zubin: ‘Constantly learning is inevitable’

Manit and Sonali Rastogi, Morphogenesis

Founded in 1996 by Manit and Sonali Rastogi Morphogenesis has a vision of defining a new emergent Indian architecture and has evolved into a vibrant cross-disciplinary team. The duo began their career as a two-person practice operating out of a garage and their first project together was the Apollo Tyres Corporate office. “We were very fortunate to have a client entrust us with a project of this magnitude. For the time of the project (1996), the technology implemented was cutting edge. There was an immense amount we learned from it,” they recollect. They run a joint practice as architecture for them is not just a profession but a way of life. “The commitment required is paramount as there is a tremendous responsibility to one-self, the profession and community at large. I always wanted to be in India and found a like-minded person in Manit to set up design practice with. It’s been a journey of discovery, learning and engaging in multitude of ways,” says Sonali. Manit avers, “we started life together quite early, we started Morphogenesis together and it’s been more than 20 years. We have grown together and think together. So, it’s more like aiming towards a common vision.” The seamless nature of their partnership has augured well for the couple and while they brainstorm together to initiate a concept with the design team at the project level, Manit works to define the passive design strategy, setting out goals and metrics to be achieved. Sonali carries that through into the actual design, ensuring the smooth working of the operations in delivering projects on time and to quality. They are now aiming to develop a discourse bridging design, urbanism, sustainability, and education both at a local and global level.

Web: www.morphogenesis.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morphogenesis.arch/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sawatmorphogenesis/

Quick Take

Favourite Product Designer, Favourite Architect: Le Corbusier, Tadao Ando, Maki, Alvar Aalto

Your inspiration: Japan

Favourite Quote: Architecture is not just a Profession. It is a Way of Life!

Romesh Sapra & Manishi Sapra, Sapras Architects & Engineers

Romesh Sapra has over 23 years of experience in architecture and interiors. Manishi Sapra is a Bachelor of Architecture and has been involved with the group since 1990. Her first design was a small boutique called ‘Kala Sangam’ that has a hint of colonial architecture with a nice lush green courtyard. Romesh’s first design was in 1994, a small residence of 200 sq. yds plot size. Inspired by Louis Khan’s IIM Ahmedabad, the entire front elevation width of 24’ was a 22’ dia exposed brick corbelled circle. “We both are poles apart in our thinking, working and designing; it is a perfect partnership to balance out our shortcomings and enhancing our strengths,” says Romesh. The secret behind successful joint designing ventures according to them is to have a clear cut demarcation in responsibilities, and honouring each other commitments in tandem. Residences and part of automobile architecture is taken care of by Manishi while Romesh takes care of corporate offices and part of automobile architecture. “There is a lot of learning with two brains working independently and in different directions and we give comfortable breathing space to each other,” says Manishi whose trend mantra is to be earthy, organic, green and eco-friendly.

Address: Sapras Architects & Engineers Pvt. Ltd., 6 Jaipur Estate, Nizamudin East, New Delhi- 110013

Quick Take

Favourite Product Designer – Manishi: Hans Wegner & Arne Jacobson. Romesh: ZahaHadid.

Favourite Architect – Manishi: Antonio Gaudi. Romesh: ZahaHadid

Your inspiration – Manishi: Casa Batllo – a residence by Antonio. Romesh: Versatility & boldness – in designing of a shoe to a light to a yacht to world famous buildings by ZAHA

Favourite Quote – Manishi: Miles to go before I sleep. Romesh: Respect Time and the Time will respect you.

One invaluable lesson you’ve learned on the job – Manishi: Don’t Compromise. Romesh: Don’t get disheartened, keep working.

Sanjay Puri & Nina Puri, Sanjay Puri Architects

A muti-awarded firm, Sanjay Puri Architects is run by couple Sanjay Puri and Nina Puri. The firm’s design philosophy is to create innovative design solutions that are contextual, sustainable and revolutionize the way they are experienced. Sanjay’s first design was a small 400 sq ft office interior at Kemps Corner in Mumbai done whilst studying in 2nd year of Architecture College. The duo divide the projects making it easier to focus for each person based upon their individual strengths. Most residential interiors are conceptualized and overseen by Nina. Architectural projects, commercial and hospitality interiors are overseen and conceptualized by Sanjay. “Our growth is organic and we are focusing only on projects that are interesting, where design can create a substantial difference, where free rein can be given to path breaking ideas with a contextual and sustainable design approach,” says Sanjay.

Website: www.sanjaypuriarchitects.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sanjay.puri.architects

Instagram: sanjay_puri_architects

Quick Take

Favourite Product Designer – Sanjay: Zaha Hadid

Favourite Architect – Sanjay: Wolf Prix, Coop Himmelblau & Zaha Hadid

Your inspiration – Sanjay: Design in a way not done before

Favourite Quote – Sanjay: there are 360 degrees so why stick to one.

This story appeared as the cover story in the May 2018 issue of CW Interiors here: Cover story

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