Blueprint is a narrative of Gautam Bhatia’s work juxtaposed on his larger cultural projects, and his experiments with complexity and context.
The Building as a Metaphor
A chronicle of work can be many things – a catalogue, a celebration and a critique. This one is an uncanny montage of ideas and images: a personal retrospective into the architectural journey of one of the sharpest spatial thinkers in India.
The architecture of Gautam Bhatia is difficult to reconcile for a casual observer. What are his concerns? What is he trying to achieve? The work itself – as evidenced by the book – is eclectic, diverse and seemingly inconsistent. The projects themselves deal with an array of scales, programmes and situations moving from historic preservation and rejuvenation projects to urban design; From the ‘Palace’ to the ‘Mountain House’.
Studio culture – as with all manifestations of the human intellect – is the embodiment of a pattern of work that nurtures the craft of building. Architecture workspaces are especially readable in this context as architects are, in this case, designing for themselves. With every workplace as distinct and specific as the work it produces, the people who design and work in these environments reveal their ideas in the space.
In this edition of the STUDIO series, we enquire about the early beginnings and work ethics of a long standing studio-culture of the Chennai-based practice Nataraj and Venkat Architects, founded by V S Nataraj and A Venkat in 1984.
A quiet pathway trails into the studio space, where dappled sunlight gently wraps its facade forming an interplay of shadows, materials and textures. Chennai-based Nataraj & Venkat Architects [NVA] is a 30-year-old design practice, and is among the city’s pioneering firms renowned for their contemporary vernacular architecture. In a brief conversation with ThinkMatter, Principal Architect A Venkat discusses the making of a successful practice with a philosophy rooted in collaboration, competition and consciousness. Continue reading STUDIO: Nataraj and Venkat Architects→
The jury for The Merit List 2018-19 cycle in a conversation moderated by Mahesh Radhakrishnan of MOAD, discusses projects in the context of issues that concern practice, pedagogy and built environment that emerged in the evaluation process.
The Jury (2018-19 Cycle)
Brinda Somaya, Somaya and Kalappa Consultants, Mumbai.
Dean D’Cruz, Mozaic, Goa.
Riyaz Tayyibji, Anthill Design Studio, Ahmedabad.
Rajiv Soni, Communications Expert and Photographer, Kolkata.
Vijay Narnapatti, mayaPRAXIS, Bengaluru.
Mary Norman Woods pens a tribute to Kamu Iyer – one of Mumbai’s most cherished architects and a much respected member of the design community in India. With his passing, we lose one of the last few keepers of the conscience of our profession – a citizen-architect who loved Mumbai and was perpetually engaged with the fate of the city through his work, his writings and his activism.
The tribute is followed by a reproduced dialogue between Kamu Iyer, Brinda Somaya and Mary Woods titled ‘Working from Mumbai‘ originally published in Brinda Somaya’s monograph titled ‘Works & Continuities’.
Kamu Iyer (1932-2020)
Mourning and Celebrating a Friend and Mentor
Albert Mayer, American architect and planner who worked in post-Independence India, wrote about his excitement at being present at the birth of a nation. Throughout his seven decades of practice, teaching, writing, and mentoring, Kamu Iyer sustained and nurtured the “tingling atmosphere of plans and expectation” envisioned by Indians of “ability, outlook, energy, and devotion” that so impressed and inspired Mayer. Kamu embodied the ideals of the Independence struggle and hopes for a free India in his life and work. He was a mahatma, a great soul who touched so many and whose like we will not see again. Continue reading In Memoriam: Kamu Iyer; A Tribute by Mary N. Woods→
On the 14th of January, 2020, Aziz Kachwalla met with a tragic and fatal accident. Aziz Kachwalla’s work pushed the limits of material understanding through an involved and iterative design process, for objects that he often co-authored with architects and designers his firm worked with. His work demonstrated an intuitive grasp of the nature of materials he worked with, and he was often instrumental in the development of decisive details for complex design issues in products and spaces. A contextual and textural comprehension enabled him to create organic and surreal products, emanating the honesty from which they were conceived.
To many, Aziz was an enabler, a co-conspirator and a bridge to a good product, a complex spatial assembly or a new way of looking at a material. There are very few individuals of his calibre today, who appreciate the finesse and humility demanded to execute compelling ideas with dexterity. This editorial was originally authored by Anusha Narayanan in June 2018 for [IN]SIDE Volume 01 and Issue 02. This article is republished in memory and as a tribute to Aziz Kachwalla.
ORIGINAL: Edited from 2018 text.
With over 20 years in the product, industrial and interior design space, Aziz Kachwalla runs a practice around experimentation with materials and forms overlaid with fine craftsmanship. He is also a frequent collaborator for other architects, designers and artists of renown.
The space/studio Aziz works out of now, is a double-heighted, gritty, imperfect yet honest warehouse-turned-workshop tucked away in one of the lanes of Mazgaon, Mumbai. It has nothing to hide, no lies or pretense, similar to the nature of the designs it is home to. Resembling a theatre backstage, pieces are strewn about the space but upon observation, the emphasis on understanding each material is hard to miss. Continue reading In Memoriam: The Objects of Aziz Kachwalla→