Bringing together some of the best creative minds in the industry
On December 19, 2020, Architects and Interiors India hosted the day-long iGen 2020 Design Forum. The event might have taken place in a virtual avatar, yet it was hugely successful, packed with a mix of insightful presentations and engaging panel discussions by some of the best design minds from India and abroad. The event also saw the felicitation of our iGens for the year – representing India’s top 50 emerging architects and interior designers. In addition, the winner of the iGen 2020 People’s Choice Award was also announced.
SETTING THE STAGE
The event began with an opening address by Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media (India), who welcomed the participants to the summit and thanked the event partners – Blue Star, Everest Industries and Orientbell Tiles. He set the tone for the day, saying, “This day-long session has a battery of prolific speakers, who will not just speak of design but how trends will play out in 2021 as well as how the world deals with COVID-19.”
In his welcome address, Amar Narayan, deputy GM, Sales & Marketing (VRF & Chillers), Commercial Air-conditioning Division, Blue Star, offered an insight into the brand, stating, “Blue Star is India’s leading air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration company and has recently completed 75 years. The company’s products are path-breaking and include central air-conditioning products like centrifugal chillers, screw chillers, process chillers, configured series of screw chillers and scroll chillers. Commercial air-conditioning systems have a complete range of energy-efficient packaged air conditioners and ducted split air conditioners. This is also the first company to have a 100% inverter-based VRF system.”
He added that to fight the pandemic, ducted units with special filters and systems with UVGI and fresh air connections have also been introduced. The company also has water purifiers, air purifiers, air coolers, commercial refrigeration products and cold storage options in its product portfolio.
The keynote address of the session was delivered by Tom Polucci, global director - Interiors, HOK New York. With over 23 years of experience at HOK, he spoke at length about how his organisation operates their practice, to deliver exceptional design solutions that meet clients’ return on investment.
He underlined the fact that projects are moving at breakneck speed and clients’ needs evolve through the design process. “And it is important that we get ahead of a client to anticipate what they require from design; and it’s not easy, but it’s exhilarating. We are working with concept boards to gather ideas and design concepts in a singular cloud-based application and invite the clients into this virtual space where we can collectively add comments, bring additional inventory, or statistical information to bear on an idea. Most important, it’s a space where a designer can have real time markup a drawing, draw a sketch with the client and get to a decision faster than the typical process of working in the studio and then more formally presenting those ideas for feedback.” Also, this ties in perfectly with today’s increased remote working scenarios.
Of course, as many stakeholders are involved in the project process, it is important to focus on what the stakeholders are looking for. “It is critical to get to a point that we have a common understanding. And it also creates an opportunity for alignment of the programme and vision for project amongst the various stakeholders. Today, we are designing more health centres into projects that support the well-being of our clients.”
The ability to co-ordinate in three dimensions, all aspects of the built environment, makes for a more efficient process with less waste of materials and better design solutions. “Technology is so important that we have a team dedicated to the custom development of tools, or they work closely with software developers to enhance products on the market. This translates for our ability to hone a practice to be thoughtful in our design and documentation. We need to help ensure that these spaces are meeting their needs and can change over time and adapt to the future that starts with the design itself. It is flexible, adaptable and to be used in new ways that we can’t predict,” he concluded.
Videos by Blue Star, Everest Industries and Orientbell Tiles followed the keynote address.
Soon after, Indrajeet Saoji, director, ITP Media (India), invited Rahul Chopra, CEO (B&P), Everest Industries, to give a presentation on their solutions. Chopra emphasised that,“Contemporary contexts need contemporary solutions for which we need to reimagine materials. As a new world building product that addresses the concerns of the modern architect, Everest Boards Reimagine is the new theme and concept being introduced by us. By using Everest boards and panels, you can reimagine aesthetics. You could get the luxury of wood, without cutting down trees with Artewood; you can get the sophistication of stone, without quarrying, without stone; you can get the flexibility of finishes, whether it is digital printing, staining wallpaper paint, tiling marble; you can have any kind of finish that you require on every fiber cement board. You get reimagined functionality. You can build lighter with approximately 25% lower rate. You can build four times faster and with superior attributes.”
Chopra also pointed out that these products are weather-resistant, termite-proof, fire-resistant, moisture-resistant and impact-resistant, and ensure easy workability. Besides, they are all green-certified, allowing you to build diverse solutions, sustainably.
PROFIT BY DESIGN
The first panel discussion tackled an important subject – Profit by Design. After all, architecture and design are influenced by various factors like return on investment, sustainability and more. Velprakash K, executive director, Jones Lang LaSalle, who moderated the session, said, “Corporates would like to get the maximum benefit from these spaces and different stakeholders need to work to achieve this.”
Regarding this, Shawn Basler, Co-CEO & executive director, Perkins Eastman, explained, “We do many things in the design process to understand client needs and we engage early on to ensure that economics are integrated.”
Building design is also influenced by the regional topographies of the cities. Rahul Kumar, principal architect, RKA, said, “We do a lot of research on the places we are building to establish the expertise required. We change our approach based on the place we are building as well as the needs of the client. Sub-contractors vary in each city and, hence, research is a must.”
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