Architect duo partners who are different, yet bond well
A chat with architects who run architectural firms in complete tandem. Individual personalities professionally, yet they gel and bond as if there is no tomorrow
Please tell us a bit about yourselves?
Ar. Anand: Graduated from KRVIA. My work stint included a summer internship in the third year with Ar. Rahul Mehrotra to my first full time employment with Ar. Nitin Killawala. A work opportunity overseas took me to Dubai for four years where I was employed with two international British firms.
Ar. Shobhan: After graduating in 1998 from KRVIA, I was immediately involved in design of a deaf and mute school run by my family. This was a project that gave me a good insight into the practical side of the profession. Did my internships at Kiran Kapadia and Nitin Killawala - both of whom have had a significant impact in shaping my career as a professional.
How did you decide to team up?
Ar. Anand: The seeds of a partnership were laid out at Ar. Nitin Killawala’s office where I was employed and Shobhan
had joined in as a fresh graduate. Although we were from the same circle of friends and briefly interacted at college, the time spent together at the office made us realise that we shared a similar passion for design and architecture. An open competition for a club refurbishment saw us partner together with a bunch of others. Our interactions during the design stage and the successive winning of the competition left little to the thought of working together.
Ar. Shobhan: In my stint at Killawala office, Anand and I engaged in many conversations on design; these conversations revealed our passion towards a common goal. We had an opportunity to participate in a competition where our design sensibilities further overlapped and the seed of partnership was sowed.
How do you see each of you complimenting the other?
Ar. Anand: While we share a great overlap in terms of our understanding of design, our approaches are completely polar. While Shobhan is over enthusiastic about a new project/inquiry, I am laid back and like to take my time for a project to sink in. Every time I see him rushing on a project I try to remind him to breathe on the project. I like to observe and intervene only when I deem it necessary.
I believe it is absolutely necessary to enjoy the process for the end result is not completely in our hands.
Ar. Shobhan: As personalities, we can’t be more different! Having said that it is our design sensibility that always brings us together. Also, the fact that we always see every project from different vantages and then converge on to a common point has in the years become our strength.
Tell us something about your approach to a project?
Ar. Anand: Unless pushed by a client, I do not like to hurry on a project at the concept and design stage. I tend to spend a considerable amount of time churning all details about the project, the site, the client brief in my mind before putting pen to paper.
Ar. Shobhan: Design for me is paramount. But, I do strongly believe that we are in the service industry and are commissioned for a job. Every design must see the light and hence design process however romantic must be pragmatically complimented. Hence, I strongly endorse a sense of discipline towards the entire process of design and during the course of execution.
What core competence does each of the partners bring in?
Ar. Anand: As partners at ADND we have always believed that all decisions should endorse the ethos of the company. While we may differ as personalities, our common passion for good design has always pushed us to guide and help each other along the path. Good and sensitive design continues to reign supreme at ADND.
Ar. Shobhan: Every design for me/us at the studio is an opportunity to flex our muscles on design. Having said that, I always like to extract the juice in design to its maximum; which means multiple options and possibilities explored. This is one of my strengths. I use my partnership as a sounding board, a critical appraisal at every stage.
AR. ANAND MENON & AR. SHOBHAN KOTHARI (ADND)