Think Turf by Roca probes the social dimensions of design
The Surat and Ranchi Editions of the forum address the business and ethics of architecture
Concerns over the depleting standards of business and value of architecture have been presenting a particular challenge lately. Many a time, it becomes critical for the upcoming generation to understand and apply an ethical base to their businesses. As a leader in manufacturing sanitaryware, Roca joined hands with ITP Media to gather great minds from the design fraternity to address a variety of business-related issues of today. The forum marked a successful exchange of ideas and best practices on which this passionate field is built.
Delivering the keynote address at Surat, Yatin Pandya, principal, Footprints EARTH, mentioned that professionalism and the business of architecture are two different things. He pointed out, “Any design has to go through the five filters – timeless aesthetics, socio-cultural appropriateness, environmental efficiency, economical affordability and structural stability. If a client comes with a brief, we have to think for the overall societal good.” Following Pandya’s insightful ad-dress, Sandeep Abraham, GM – Sales (West), Roca, delivered a short snapshot of the brand in terms of its products, world-wide presence, drivers, innovation and collaboration.Following this, a panel of eminent personalities from the city’s design fraternity shared their experiences in the field to spark up a dialogue. They first addressed the issue pertaining to the conflict between the client, architect and the city over many stages during design.
The audience, too, was eager to know more about the social responsibility involved in the shaping of any space or building. Vishal Shah believes that a dilemma for choosing what is ethical and legal continually persists in the field. “When one decides to take a stand and pursue ethics, the actual professionalism starts taking shape. We need to do our bit for our cities, irrespective of the business and profit attached to it.” Dinesh Suthar agreed with the thought: “Every morning, we need to prove ourselves to the client and to society that we can make better buildings,” he declared. “Even if the brief is beyond our expertise, we need to collaborate and find the ‘best fit’ solutions.”With the number of stakeholders involved and the challenges faced in being the conduit, the panel was asked how they go about the complete phase of project development.
Jignesh Modi commented, “The architects need to have a good equation with the consultants, managers and stakeholders. Our job is not only to make sure everything happens on time, but also to take care of the budget and post-design operations.” Talking about the idea of taking care of post-design operations, Wadia pointed out, “We need to go back and refer to the designs made by older genera-tions. At the end of the day, it is about the communication and comfort attached to the particular client or project that makes us go back to our designs and work on them.” Snehal Shah’s firm has a rule of hiring consultants for dif-ferent verticals within a project. He summed up, “In the last couple of decades, technology has taken a pivotal place in architecture and is continually evolving. Engineers, project managers and consultants complement our designs and help us create robust buildings that survive better. We give the DNA to the buildings, but the consultants enrich the DNA.” Sanjay Panjabi stepped forward to reiterate that the pro-fession is passing through a transition where the different roles are not defined. “We need to learn from the medical profession to respect each and every specialist. And we need to learn from the film industry how to credit everyone at the end of the project.” As the brain-churning discussion concluded, Abraham distributed a token of appreciation to each of the speakers for their sporting participation. The event concluded with a sincere vote of thanks shared by Roca and ITP.
PANEL OF EXPERTS – SURAT
Azmi Wadia, partner, Azmi and Sarosh Wadia
Dinesh Suthar, principal, Design Work Group
Jignesh Modi, principal, Jignesh Modi & Associates
Sanjay Punjabi, head, Image n Shape
Snehal Shah, principal partner, Essteam
Vishal Shah, founder, Aangan Architects
Yatin Pandya, principal, Footprints EARTH
Amit Aurora, partner, DCA Architects of New Delhi, gave the keynote speech for the evening’s forum at Ranchi. Aurora believes that a perfect design is created when there is nothing left to add and there is nothing left to take away. He shared his idea of architectural practice, saying, “I strive to have fun, to be eclectic, to explore different materials in their true honesty, to explore the rawness of those materials, to bring out the rawness of intent by bringing out the rawness of space and the rawness of the human soul. I feel that a designer is not in the forefront of any project, but we are the backbone of the space we create.”
The evening was further addressed by Subimal Mukherjee, general manager – East, Roca India. He elaborated on the journey and presence of Roca as a brand in India and on the global platform. He also introduced their flagship products, different innovations and reformations that took place with the materials and products of the company.The speakers were then invited on stage to commence the panel discussion. Following tradition, the design heads shared their stories associated with their first project as an architect. In the architecture business, the fraternity grapples with everyday issues of fulfilling the needs of clients, follow-ing governmental norms and giving justice to their own de-sign philosophy, all at once. While trying to juggle all these responsibilities, the design tends to move away from being responsible at a city level. Taking this issue into consider-ation, Arun Kumar said, “Our architecture community has no love for towns in our hearts. We care about our pocket these days; while our designs are, after all, directly part of the city and its texture.”
Agreeing with Kumar, Mayukh Dhar Virnave reiterated, “As architects, we have the responsibility to preserve our city’s royalty. If we sense any wrong, we can talk to the cli-ents and government officials, and warn them of what could be the outcome. Gradually and unfortunately, we are taking away the open spaces, ponds and greenery of our cities, and turning them into built masses.” In conclusion, everyone agreed that it is the architects’ sensitivity towards design that makes them represent the city and the client appropriately and efficiently.Closing the forum with high hopes of creating a better tomorrow, Subimal Mukherjee of Roca offered a token to the speakers as a gesture of appreciation in return for their time and thoughtful conversation.