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

The Ideal Home and Garden - - Contents - RE­SEARCH: BENOY SE­BAS­TIAN

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)

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