The panelists (L-R): Hitesh Modi, Hiten Patel, Jagrut Patel, Dipen Gada, Rahul Dalvi, Mohit Hajela, and Bibhor Srivastava.
The panelists (L-R): Hitesh Modi, Hiten Patel, Jagrut Patel, Dipen Gada, Rahul Dalvi, Mohit Hajela, and Bibhor Srivastava.

Ahmedabad's Design Confab celebrates the 'spirit of design'

Discussions revolve around ‘Rethinking Traditional Architecture with Smart Design’

Following a successful organisation of the first Design ConFab at Pune, Jaquar Group launched its second edition at Ahmedabad with the theme ‘Rethinking Traditional Architecture with Smart Design’. To take forward the new synergy of design thinking, architects connected with the city were invited to unify their thoughts and build a knowledge base while meeting, sharing and learning from each other. Having conceptualised and implemented successful brand strategies in both project and retail environments, Mohit Hajela, group head, Business Development, Jaquar Group, introduced the concept and ideation of the Design ConFab 1in his opening address. He then introduced and invited on stage the keynote speaker – Gurjit Singh Matharoo, principal architect, Matharoo Associates. Matharoo believes in the philosophy ‘Do first, think later’ – just what he practises at his firm that he established in 1992. Looking back at some integral pointers in building design that are seen in his firm, Matharoo highlighted them to be frugality; when in doubt, restraint; build structures that act as catalysts; make buildings that move people; bring ‘witness’ [meaning wit] to architecture; and buildings must elate one to higher level of existence. To explain each aspect individually, he shared noteworthy projects from his firm – viz, House with Balls, Dharmshala, ECIS Hospital, Fissured Living, Moving Landscapes, Cattiva – The Mean Woman, and Urban Stitch. Ending on an inspiring and positive note, Matharoo introduced their noble initiative – PITStudio.

“For this programme, three architects from the country are chosen every year. They are asked to run a week-long studio exclusively for students, in the location of their choice. With this, the students get to experience a life with the architect and get to learn the methodologies and practices directly.” The three years of PITStudio have been immensely successful, and Matharoo anticipates a similar response in future. Rajesh Mehra, director & promoter, Jaquar Group, felicitated Matharoo on behalf of Jaquar Group and ITP Media. Following a video presentation showcasing the beautifully designed global headquarters of the Jaquar Group, Mehra also shared a glimpse of his own journey with the company. “Indian architecture has come a long way from mud houses to simple dwelling units, to delivering affordable homes, to lifestyle homes and, now, creative and Smart homes. Jaquar continuously supports to evolve [with the] latest needs, offer-ing not just new products, but also design and technology to meet the growing demands of customers,” he mentioned. Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media India, moderated the ensuing panel discussion that dwelled on the topic of the day: Rethinking Traditional Architecture with Smart Design.Srivastava wanted to know if there is a conflict between ar-chitect, client and city, and does the business aspect take over the social responsibility of the architect. Dipen Gada shared, “We all are in a race to complete projects. I think we have to take time out of it, and ask ourselves if our practice is sensible in the context of Indian climatology and mass requirement or not. At the same time, once we are convinced, we can definitely try to convince the clients to follow the sensible practices with logical reasoning.”

Rajesh Mehra, director & promoter, Jaquar Group (right), felicitating keynote speaker Matharoo.

Rahul Dalvi was asked to share his experience and ideas about the importance of design in the light of Smart Cities, the new-age movement and resultant competition. He replied, “We are at a massive transition mode – be it architectural design, product, mechanism or industries, we are running at a rampant pace. Identifying the right path is a personal perception. I would always let my conviction do the part; and I prefer to cater to the masses rather than just a few selective audiences.”When asked how Smart elements can be integrated into the design, Hitesh Modi responded by saying, “Ever since ancient times, we have architectural contexts that can be incorporated into our projects through a contemporary way of thinking. So, for me, transforming that context and designing anything that is relevant to the site is Smart design.”Hajela of Jaquar, being from the manufacturing sector, has been dealing with a cross section of architects and various asset owners. He was asked about his journey in terms of making architects familiar with technology and how it has been translated into Smart designs. “Talking about Jaquar Group, we have been continuously innovating and upgrading our products through Green manufacturing and technology. We have grown with the designer as much as designers have grown with us. It is important for us, the manufacturers, to innovate continuously and for you, the designers, to recom-mend solutions as per the need.”Taking about architectural practice, Hiren Patel spoke his heart out, saying, “We admire traditional architecture because all traditional designs and buildings were correlated, rather than being individualistic. I believe, we should all be responsible for the work we are producing. We should go on a personal level, spend time with ourselves and bring out something beautiful.

Many a times, too much information, that technology makes available to us, is also problematic.”Adding to this thought, Jagrut Patel shared his viewpoint, saying, “Since we are at the junction of transformation, too much information is problematic. Processing information wouldn’t be a difficult job for the coming generations. I be-lieve, technology always tends to make our lives simpler.” Srivastava and the rest of the panelists concluded the discussion with the shared belief that conversations like the Design ConFab must happen more often to build unified solutions that best cater to the community. The panelists were thanked and felicitated individually by Sandeep Shukla, head – Marcom, Jaquar Group and Anik Mehta, zonal head – West, Jaquar Group.Mehta, on behalf of the organisers, expressed the vote of thanks by acknowledging the speakers, panel members, invitees, knowledge partners and the media for being part of the Ahmedabad edition of the Design ConFab. Dinner and conversation followed, ending the insightful and thought-provoking evening on a convivial note.

Hiren Patel, principal, Hiren Patel Architects
Hitesh Modi, principal, Modi Srivastava & Associates
Dipen Gada, principal, Dipen Gada & Associates
Rahul Dalvi, principal, Dalvi Associates
Jagrut Patel, founding principal, Jagrut & Partners
Mohit Hajela, group head, Business Development, Jaquar Group
Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP (moderator)



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