Wednesday, 10 July 2013

My excitement around project handovers..

Project handovers are always exciting and nervous times. I for one always have a child like excitement to see the final outcome, of my design ideas. And its heightened, when it is something new that I am trying and which I believe, will give a fabulous outcome!.

Now each of my projects, I purposefully design some major details that I have not done or seen before. One such project, was a shoe store Tresmode, we did last year.
I had designed a big curvilinear backlit element in Euroceil, with sleek metal shelving in front, to display the glamorous shoe designs, of the brand. Though I had used the stretch ceiling material before, it was not the way I had conceptualised for this store. So, when on the final day, before the site handover, when Euroceil was being installed, I couldn't resist my self to visit the site at non office hours tagging my 3 year old daughter along with me.

Here are some images of the installation..

My daughter watching the installation. Well I know its not an example from the book of good parenting but hey the site was complete and safe and most of all my girl enjoyed watching it.
And here's the finished projects..tadaa...!!!


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Before & After-Bruijn chocolate Store design

I have come accross a lot of blogs & magazines with before and after features of apartment rooms. Which gave me an idea to feature this post.
This is a project we did exactly a year back. Now usually my Clients (repeat ones whom I have a good rapport with) request me to check out a couple of sites that they have short listed for my opinion before they sign up for them. This is essential especially in places like South Mumbai where the commercial spaces are available in really old (I am talking 70 yrs and more) or heritage buildings and the Client has to understand the potential of the site from Design point of view. You will know why after the following images.
Now this is a small space that we designed for a boutique Belgian chocolate store Bruijn at Kemps Corner Mumbai.

We have kept the design as true to the space and tried to enhance the original character of the site.

We have used existing steel rafters to lend a unique personality to this heritage space by highlighting them with the brand color orange.

Steel frames are hung on the exposed brick wall to display packaging options for the chocolates.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Last month we went on a vacation to Singapore. It was a work + pleasure kind of a thing cause both my husband and I had scheduled some work agendas. I had IFFS to attend and my husband had some meetings aswell.
My first impression of Singapore was that "IT IS SO ORGANISED!". It reminded me of a sentence from an essay I had read some time back by Rem Koolhaas. He had described Singapore in following words “It is pure intention: If there is chaos, it is authored chaos; if it is ugly, it is designed ugliness; if it is absurd, it is willed absurdity.”
Apart from the usual tourist places in Singapore, I was really looking forward to check out the much publicized Gardens by the bay - which was an international design competition won by Grant associates for Master planning. The architectural domes designed by Wilkinson Eyre
A few pics of Gardens by the bay.
Greenhouses and a 30-metre-high man-made waterfall

Enormous tropical garden in Singapore filled with tree-like towers, shell-shaped greenhouses and a 30-metre-high man-made waterfall

'Supertree' structures measuring up to 50 metres in height have thousands of plant species growing up their vein-like cladding
 Marc Quinn's giant baby sculpture – titled Planet


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

One of our latest Project

Just received pics of a project we finished in December 2011. Its a Salon in Bangalore.
Jean Claude Biguine Salon at Bangalore (Lavelle road)

Jean Claude Biguine Salon at Bangalore (Lavelle road)

Jean Claude Biguine Salon at Bangalore (Lavelle road)
This time we experimented with a new style of design then Kaleido is use to.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Architecture and Swimming - analogy

Its just few days left now for the London Olympics 2012 to begin. Among some other events that I watch during every Olympics this time I am most excited to follow all the swimming related events. Mostly the relays. Why? two reasons
Firstly, because of the Zaha Hadid designed aquatic centre. check out the pics

Secondly, and more importantly because, recently I have taken up to learn swimming. Its been 10 sessions now and I am just getting a grasp of freestyle (basically proper technique of gliding, body roll and breathing coordination). It is tough and not to mention embarrassing when you are in a pool full of kids learning to swim and you being one of the only few adult learning. What has helped me a lot with quick learning is imagining myself doing the right stroke and breathing coordination even while doing some day to day activities like sleeping or travelling for my meetings. I also look at a lot of swimming related videos some training techniques etc. During this net surfploration (my word for surfing+exploration) I came across an Ian thorpe video which had my favourite song in the background. Now, I heard this song "Remember the name" by Fort Minor after a long long time .... and this time the song had a whole new meaning....I mean that song use to play in my headphones all the time when it had released in 2005.

These are the lyrics of the song

This is 10% luck,
20% skill,
15% concentrated power of will,
5% pleasure,
50% pain,
And 100% reason to remember the name!

He doesn't need his name up in lights
He just wants to be heard whether it's the beat or the mic
He feels so unlike everybody else, alone
In spite of the fact that some people still think that they know him
But fuck em, he knows the code
It's not about the salary
It's all about reality and making some noise
Makin' the story - makin sure his clique stays up
That means when he puts it down Tak's pickin it up! let's go!

What I take from this video and the song is that you have to have a discipline of perseverance in everything that you do. Great Sportsmen have a lot of discipline, perseverance and that "X" factor which I think is that brain function that gives them pleasure of pushing themselves till it hurts like crazy..... Keep at it till you Bleed!!!....

Why I say this song has a whole new meaning today is because as a design entrepreneur today you get your share of that "50% pain" and very few pats on your appraisals and promotions and "its not about salary" or how much fees you can charge and how much money you make. Its not about being at ease at doing the same thing you have been doing and making money by repeating it again and again....but it is about pushing yourself and being in an uncomfortable position again and again...and getting a rush while doing it ..."5% pleasure"...So...Well...

Coming back to the aquatic centre 2012 in London. Check out below images

Now the shape of the roof has been described with a lot of analogies e.g. wave-like or sea animal-like or even stingray-like ??. But I feel that it looks quiet similar to a body movement of a swimmer doing a butterfly stroke. Check out the pics.

I have shown comparative images of the structure and Michael Phelps butterfly stroke shots

....Or may be its just me cause I have been thinking a lot of swimming and strokes lately.

So OK I agree its like a sea animal but honestly Michael Phelps has been described as almost like a fish :)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Prada + OMA fashion show set designing

We have known the famous store designs produced by the collaboration of Prada and Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas's OMA. But this month's Wallpaper covered an Interesting article about their collaboration for the fashion show set designing, which started from 2004 onwards.

Check out their latest work below
Grid of Blue foam seats for the S/S 2012 Prada menswear

 Here instead of having a traditional Catwalk flanked with spectators, there was field of Blue foam blocks where the spectators will be seated on carefully placed on a spread of artificial grass. As wallpaper has written about this experimental design that "Prada has questioned the peculiar spectacle of the catwalk. Who is the spectator and who is part of the spectacle? Are the lucky 600 guests with their own blue seat really the audience or an essential part of the show? Are the real spectators the millions who watch the show, live or not, on, and other media platforms"

Some of their previous Fashion Show sets.

S/S 2011: an elevated stage, surrounding by stadium-style seating. The surface of the runway was covered in a metal grille, while neon lights concealed beneath illuminated the runway

A/W 2007 menswear: A spiralling, fossil-like creation in orange

S/S 2010 womenswear: The show was bisected by a wall featuring projections of scenes from grand hotels

S/S 2009 menswear: A series of undulating timber seating islands demarcated the show space. The modular seating units were also seen later in the year for the A/W 2009 menswear show

What I noticed from all the above examples is that a) the set itself is like a beautiful and intriguing art installation b) they have continuously experimented with the interaction between the modelling walk area and the audience.

All images via Wallpaper 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Solar powered wooden Helicopter

 I came accors this cool wooden Solar powered helicopter while surfing through Dwell.
This toy reminded me of the wooden toys I played with as a kid . The dolls, pull toys and rattles which are found in many Indian Handicraft exhibitions. My daughter has them too. They are wood and lacquer lathe turned and are simple and beautiful.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Iconic pedestrian bridge competition - Amsterdam

I believe design competitions are like an intense physical workout, but only for the brain. It pushes you to think beyond your comfort zone. Recently, we participated in an architectural competition after a long time. Last time I had participated in a design competition was during the golden days as a design student at Purdue University... I had won it (check it out here) thanks to the guidance of my Prof.
This one was an architectural competition to design an Iconic pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam. We did not win, neither did we get an Honourable mention ....bummer :((  ....but we learnt a lot during the process - it is about honing the design process and keeping on refining and refining the design concept before you finalise the actual design. And always always always ...keep it simple!!!.
I really liked the wining entry you can check it out on this website ac-ca. It was simple but out of the box and it was presented well too.

Below is our entry

Check out more pics on

After this experience, to be honest I am a bit glad that we did not win, because I knew even while working on the competition, that we still are not there yet.
Which reminds me of  Michael Jordon's famous quote not the 9000 shots one but this one “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.”

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Park Hotel - Hyderbad

During my recent trip to Hyderabad I got a chance to check out The Park hotel.
I got to have a detail tour of the place including there VIP suites and all the works thanks to my SIL. The building is designed by SOM and is on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake. It is the first LEED Gold certified hotel in India.
The building design is pretty SOMish and it definitely stands out in the context. I remember during my past trips to Hyderabad when the building was under construction (and I din't know what it was) I had made a mental note to check it out when its done. And so I did.
From across the lake the building looks like an angular contemporary structure with wave like pattern formed by the glazing and the cladding. Once I approached close by, I realised that the building is elevated a couple of storeys to give expansive views of the lake, especially from the central "C" shaped courtyard which holds the swimming pool overlooking the lake.
The facade is made of metal screen in varying patterns of perforations and embossing which provides a range of transparency according to the needs of the spaces inside. According to SOM "the shape of the facade’s openings, as well as the three‐dimensional patterns on the screens themselves, were inspired by the forms of the metalwork of the crown jewels of the Nizam, the city’s historic ruling dynasty." Which is very obviously evident during night time as the light shimmers through the cutouts.
To talk about the Interiors of the Hotel, let me start by saying that while many Indian five star hotels opt for a classical look for their interiors, which I like only sometimes, this one has gone in a complete hip and contemporary direction by juxtaposing the design with some very beautiful traditional local arts and crafts. Like the metal work chandeliers in the image below or the traditional Kalamkari style of textile painting on the ceiling panels. But more about the interiors in a later post.
Kalamkari painting on the ceiling panels
The metal work ceiling feature above the Reception desk
The hand blown glass Chandelier

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Hand blown Glass Chandeliers

My favourite design mag Wallpaper featured these beautiful hand blown glass chandeliers by a New York designer, Lindsey Adelman.

I really liked this asymmetric spiky form with grey and copper tones on the glass. Looking at some of her other creations, I find her usage of metal such as brass, copper and even gold and blown glass, very beautiful.
To be honest, I have been fascinated by hand blown glass technique ever since I visited the glass factories and Museums in Murano Italy. So much so, that I wanted to take a short course on it when I was in SF – its on my to do list (when I take a sabbatical :) ).

Check out these beautiful creations from the museum in Murano. These are some classic Venetian Style chandeliers.
When you look at the artisans making these kind of creations in the factories, you feel that it seems so effortless at a glance, but when you look at their technique closely, you realise the controlled movements of their hands and the controlled amount of air that is blown that gives rise to such beautiful forms. But this is just the basic, there are many more complex ways of creating beautiful multicoloured patterns, of hand blown glass. One for example is Murrine, which is made by layering of liquid color glass by making rods of glass of different colors and fused together and then sliced to create the layered pattern
diverse Buble lighting 1
These are Lindsey Adelman' s creation and her contemporary version of the traditional Murrine technique
images via decodir
And then there are these multicoloured chandeliers which were exhibited in the verandah of  Murano Museum. I like the quirky take on the traditional shape of chandeliers.

I think Chandeliers - modern or contemporary, add a touch of glamour to the room. One can use coloured glass modern lamps, to spice up the room and then tie it in with other accessories, in the room.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Holiday Greetings!!

Well readers, I am coming back on the blogosphere after a long long time. So apologies.
Reasons for the absence being: 10% inertia, 10% bloggers block and 80% super busy schedule (about which in later posts).

Lots of things happened in the world and in my life during this past few months. Like,
1. I got a good lesson on business negotiations (in a good way),
2. We almost finished a very exciting but soul sucking project (learnt a lot about myself as a designer and as a person),
3. I got an interesting idea for a future project and met some interesting experts, in the Indian arts and crafts scene
4. And, of course last but not the least -  the design world became Job-less

So, after being coaxed again, again, again by my guy and some encouraging words by my near and dear ones, I decided to restart blogging. With a holiday cheer and of course a "resolution" (since we are in "that" season) - which is to be much more disciplined about blogging.

Hence to spread some designer holiday cheer, I am posting these beautiful and intriguing designs/versions of a Christmas tree.
Louis Vuitton Christmas tree via Vogue
A Christmas tree made out of Gold at Gina Tanaka via luxpresso

Christmas tree Designed by John Galliano for Dior

Murano Glass Christmas tree in Venice on Murano Island

Christmas tree designed by Zaha Hadid for an auction in 2008 which got a bid of 46,000 euros  - via art n style