Giving New Dimension To Space
POOL|POOL 108

Over a 20-year career, Shobhana Hadap has effectively managed to combine her graphic design skills with her love for space design. She tells POOL how she and the team at Pune-based Studio Mars create memorable multidimensional brand experiences for a variety of clients.

Art, Design, Interior
What, in your opinion, does it take to create ‘Experiencial Spaces’?

SH: Today’s world is based on physical and digital perspectives that continue to control, connect and influence our lives. At Studio Mars we have coined the term ‘Experiencial Spaces’ – these are persuasively designed environments for brands to deliver a meaningful multidimensional brand experience that triggers cognitive responses, leading people to connect with the brand or intent within a given space. Experiencial Spaces emphasize human wellness and betterment. We have established and follow some basic design guidelines:

- Brand dimensionalization: Our multi disciplinary framework integrates the Visual (brand expression and information), Spatial (form and function) and Interactive (tactile and digital) to bridge the digital and physical environments and deliver a unified brand experience. By creating a 360o platform through brand dimensionalization, the connection with the audience will deepen.

- Simplicity and coherence: Be it the narrative, graphics, space zoning and planning, structural design, imagery or carnal touchpoints – they all need to be simple, strong and clear to apprehend by focusing on the objective.

- Inspirational: Inspire wonder to make you stand out. By identifying and thinking unique, you can transcend the conventional to create a difference by enhancing human experiences.

l Less digitization: Entice your audiences not just with growing trends of immersive technology, but strive to create tangible engagement points, installations that enable them to participate. Remove barriers to improve audience interaction and engagement whether physical or emotional.

- Consciousness and minimalism: It is inherent to think of sustainable methodologies and materials, using local resources, reusing and up scaling materials, reducing visual distractions and eliminating objects and clutter from space to enable viewers to focus on what’s important. Minimizing for maximizing effectiveness has the power to reduce costs and carbon footprints.

- Culturally connected and relevant: Globalization has brought in a certain amount of unification, but sadly the pattern of repetition and standard trends is seeping in. We are losing the essence of the cultural diversity of different demographics. We should be able to connect and empower people’s lives in any form of any space public, permanent or temporary.

- Agility: Design a space that has the flexibility to change, evolve, upgrade and be reused in a different space or format. Rethink the relationship between design and how the people move and interact within it.

Tell us about Studio Mars.

SH: Growing up in Britain, my tryst with design and architecture began at home with my lifelong mentor, my father Ramesh Hadap, an architect and town planner, and mother Asha, an artist. My sister Kalpana and I learnt to appreciate the sensitivities of design with an early exposure to Terence Conrad, Bauhaus and Letraset with Helvetica stickers and creating spaces from Lego which I treasure till date. Being an in-house child assistant to my father, I learnt the simplistic importance of clean lines, elevations, sciography, stippling renders with a Rotring pen, the art of folding blueprints or stenciling architectural drawing labels. I went on to pursue a BFA (Commercial Art) from Sir J J Institute of Applied Arts in Mumbai. After graduating I was introduced to the emerging vertical of exhibition design, and I realized that spatial design was where I would be able to combine my skills as a graphic designer and my love for space design and architecture. After some initial experimental years, I finally decided to set up a multi-disciplinary design studio with my partner Mangesh Lohapatre. We established Studio Mars Pvt Ltd. in Pune in 2001.

How does the partnership work? Introduce us to the team.

SH: I am the Design Principal at Studio Mars. Mangesh, a designer and a brilliant selftaught management person, brought a whole lot of tactical practices to our business and led to the correct balance of creativity and practicality to our innovations and endeavors. Till date our left brain and right brain analogy has been the key factor to a powerful partnership. Our lead design directors Alankar Naik and Bobby, spearhead the retail and spatial design respectively, and have channelized our ideology of multi-dimensional brand experiences. Art directors Bhakti Deshpande and Abhijit Bhagwat together lead the brand and digital communication. Our 45+ team is power packed with over 20 proficient design specialists from various verticals of design. Interestingly the strength of our organization has been an unwavering sense of bonding and team spirit. Following the axiom ‘love the work you do’ has resulted in incredible team retention, with over half of us working and growing together for close to two decades now.

What goes into creating a holistic brand experience?

SH: For most organizations brand management is all about positioning, but that is not enough to create a holistic brand experience. To drive brand loyalty and connect, deploying an integrated dimensional brand plan for a unified brand experience is the need of the hour. What you see on Instagram should be in sync with the advertising; the push ads give should be extended to the retail store right to the billing. Hence, holistic brand management is about the total experience a customer acquires and thus gaining their trust.

What makes communication design simple yet impactful?

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