Interpreting the future of design, Manish Dixit, Principal Architect, AUM Architects speaks to Ambarin Chougle about his observations, philosophies and the approach to their designs.
Tell us about your design journey
I passed out as an architect from Pune University. Initially, as an architecture student I would pay attention to buildings and structures but later I realised my inclination towards interior architecture & design. Enhancing the vision I had in my life, I transformed and created this company and the projects that we have been taking forward. I completed my architecture in seven years instead of five and that became an eye-opener for me. Those two critical years that I lost helped me run faster. Till date, if you see our portfolio, we have done projects in Australia, Spain, the UK and India is our major market but primarily my firm is working on projects abroad. The loss of two years gave me an extra edge. The kicks throughout the journey have motivated me to gear up.
Manish Dixit, Principal Architect, AUM
What type of projects do you work on?
Except for hospitality, we do all kinds of projects like interior, retail, commercial, residential.
What are the philosophies you follow while designing?
We ensure that no two projects look alike. The reason being that no two clients are alike. All our designs are project-centric and we understand the psychology of the client. You can be passionate about design but the end user may not like it. In case of offices, we try to understand their working culture, in residences, we try to understand their lifestyle. For example, if you don’t have the lifestyle of entertaining guests, you can skip adding extra chairs to the dining. Keep it minimum, so you have more openness. Also, we try to incorporate natural elements in our designs which does not look plastic. Keeping in mind these few ideas, we design the projects.
Who is your inspiration or influence?
I have multiple people who inspire me. For design, a few foreign architectural firms influenced me during my education. I am inspired by Indian architect Nozer Wadia. He is an amazing architect but avoids limelight. His thought process is unique and beautiful which inspires me.
Since you have a global presence, how according to you is the approach of architects changing with the global outreach.
The sad part which I realised is Indian architects are not considered as a design or creative persona as professional. India has always been looked down as a manufacturing hub and not a service hub. We have changed that. I am happy to show the world that we are as creative as they are. Earlier France, Germany, Italy or Japan was considered as creative hubs but now the table has turned. Today, Asia, Middle-East, and South America are witnessing astounding creations. Due to globalisation, we have realised that work need not be in one place, it can keep moving around. To give an example, one of our 3D rendering companies is based out of Argentina. Because of different time zones, our work timings are such that they are asleep when we are working and vice versa. So when we give them a particular job they finish it during their working hours. By the time we are in office the next day, we have the first cut ready. So, that ensures that we are reducing the timeline. This is how we are trying to use this age of network and internet.
What are the western influences in the Indian market and how is it impacting us?
Nowadays, most of the Indians are travelling around the world. This is good for us because it is easier to explain the design to them in architectural terms and the purpose of doing it. Unfortunately, Indians try to adopt the western culture and designs, we don’t have a distinct style of our own. Only a few amongst the many Indian architects have their own signature
style. According to you, where is the architecture industry headed especially with sustainability and technology being in the boom?
The design market is going crazy. Currently, the industry is facing rough weather, globally. We lack the niche character that one creates as a designer or an architect. Client-specific design is missing. Unfortunately with sustainability and automation, in India, is just to get a certification which will only be on paper and not enhance the beauty and the function of the structure. If we use them for the right purpose, one will save a lot of money. Artificial intelligence makes it very convenient for the user. It is the future of design which not be accepted and praised by many. It minimises physical activity, in turn making one lazy, but it can be used to save a lot of resources that we are using every day. Automation can facilitate any project if you understand the purpose of doing it.
What is your ultimate goal for a particular project?
At the end of any project, I would shake my hands with the client, have a drink and say cheers. When the client shows his contentment, that’s my happiest moment. It is the final goal for all architects. We want our clients to be happy with the end product.