ArchiFeature > Aniket Bhagwat

19Aug08

*An Indian By Design Exclusive*

I featured Aniket Bhagwat last month, and there has been considerable interest in his work; landscape and architecture. So I got in touch with him (thanks to dear friend Ambrish), and dug deeper into his works and thoughts. Here’s Aniket Bhagwat, talking about his projects, meandering into thoughts on architecture, Spade – an Indian architectural design magazine published with peers, and finally wrapping up in a discussion on enduring design.

> Sirpur Paper Mills

“A 2100 sq. mt corporate office building in Gurgaon, Delhi. The building is wrapped with Corten steel, that will rust and age over a period of time. The Deviarts Foundation gallery, headed by Lekha and Anupam Poddar, occupies two floors in it, and opens with a showcase on 30th August, 2008. The building will be complete by Diwali.”

> Aakash

“Aaaksh can host 7000 people under the metal grid. It’s a rare example, where you can custom light to precision, a space of almost 1,00000.00 sqft, without flood lighting it. The lights allow limitless variations, each light being about 6 feet in diameter.”

> The Terrace and Floor Patterns at Devigarh

“I like the Devigarh landscape because to me, it combines nuances of the physical past of the space, along with cultural references of a feudal culture, and presents it in a new language, that is not explicit, but initiates a dialogue with the keen observer that remains much after he has left the place.”

Beach House at Tithal

“The Birds are lights. The angle of their perch can be altered depending on the owners fancy. Sometimes the Birds can dip to drink water, or seem to take flight. Their eyes light up the pool.”

Pool in Delhi

“That’s Anupam Poddar’s garden that we restored, and built the pool within it. The steps are concrete Ls, that do not touch. The pool was built on the edge of a Banyan tree. We planted a more feminine tree atop the pavilion, and a small delicate tree at the other end in water – almost like a family, holding the water.”

Vakola Project

Jariwalla House

“Jariwalla was interesting. It’s a modern house in Ahmedabad; exposed brick and concrete on the outside. We then hollowed out the house, and filled it with clearly Indian interior spaces that use traces from wooden Parsi jaalis instead of walls and south Indian columns in a melange that we wanted to see if it sat well together. The light inside the house is very gentle. Samira Rathod worked on it with furniture that was chunky, heavy, detailed, almost refuting all this modern euro stuff.”

Outhouse for Hemant and Meena

Halfway Retreat

“The stone court is a driving court, where guests have to navigate their cars as they arrive.”

Upcoming Projects:

Deviratna

“This is Anupam’s next hotel, after Devigarh. Work has started at site, in Jaipur. Spread over 22 acres, it will house 60 odd rooms and is committed to explore a new idiom of contemporary design, that’s rooted in the understanding of Rajasthan’s culture and climate.”

The Devarshi House

“This is turning out fine. It’s changing a lot from the images, but getting quieter in some sense – the story about how it got built is going to be fun to recall. It’s for a wonderful young person, who loves design and loves cars too – the house is like a street that he can drive right through in.”

The Jain House

“This is a house of many actors – the central brick lounge that peers at the north, the verandah, a stockade that holds two rooms and a pool at the back, and a glass dining pavilion at the end of the verandah. It’s under construction. I am going to bake bricks for this dome specially, thinner flatter bricks, baked in different hues of fire.”

The Santoor Farm

“This project has not started yet- it’s a house built around existing trees.”

The Interview:

Indian By Design: Your introduction states that your firm handles residential, industrial, recreation, urban, institutional landscapes, and ecological redevelopment projects. Did you start with the aim of doing all of it, or did it evolve with time?
Aniket: The firm is my fathers’ – he started it. So it’s an old firm which started as a clear landscape design firm in 1972, and has evolved since. So we did not start with that charter, but over the years found that was the kind of work we did. For the last 8 years, we now do a select amount of architecture that we find interesting.

Indian By Design: When someone approaches you with a project, how do you go about analysing what it could become?
Aniket: I approach any project with the intention of making the client a partner in the process- so what the project aspires to be is a collective vision- not mine or ours alone.

Indian By Design: I met an architect from Sri Lanka who felt modern Indian Architecture was not distinctive enough. Do you feel that to be true? What do you think is the biggest challenge Indian architecture faces today?
Aniket: Well, modern architecture anywhere in the world is the same- except for notable examples. I think Indian architecture is doing just fine, but could show more life from time to time. You see, the fact that we shy away from the kind of buildings and shapes that the world is building (Zaha Hadid et all)- is a tribute to the fact that we are sensible and in some sense mired, in some sense respectful of our cultural, economic and spatial context. But sometimes we take the mantle of being sensible, as a burden, and it weighs down Indian architecture greatly. The flip reaction is the irreverent work that seems to dot our urbanscape. But this too- needs longer discussion. In a nut shell, I disagree.

Indian By Design: Have Indian clients and architects begun to appreciate the true potential in landscape design?
Aniket: Well, it’s been a huge change over the last 10 years- so in general I would have to say yes, emphatically, yes.

Indian By Design: On Spade
Aniket: It’s a design magazine that few of us get out – first issue was out a few months back – we plan to do only two issues a year. It’s a magazine dedicated to Indian Architecural Design – no ads, no sponsors.

Indian By Design: How do you feel about design competitions?
Aniket: Most of them in India are poorly run, badly managed, and have poor judging capabilities. They also, almost never allow the winning project to be built. Generally a waste. I keep away from them.

The discussion:

Aniket: I find that in India, a lot that gets lauded is actually work that’s trying to copy work else where in the world, and is not rooted enough to the understanding of our culture, context and skill sets. Also, a fair amount of work has visual quality as a premium concern, and the space does seem to lose its charm upon repeated viewing, and holds little to simulate the mind, other than the initial visual spectacle.

Indian By Design: About what you said about design and how it should guard itself from turning transient. Felt it absolutely true in the context of architecture, which once built is there forever, and has to answer to generations, but felt that sometimes art, graphic design, interiors and the like might be excused from the sterner form of this caveat. As they can be delightful even if seasonal and ephemeral.

Aniket: I disagree. While the ephemeral, or the transient has place in any discipline, if a discipline lays claim on being temporary as a right of exixtence, god help it. We seem not to be able to seperate between the transient act of being and the nature of permanence communicated as an idea. When a rare flower blooms, is it transient, or is its memory permanent? A broken love affair? Transient or sears your heart forever? We make the mistake in distinguishing between the two as if they are two separate identities. That which is transient, perhaps has a greater value of being a permanent memory because it’s a singular focused emotion. That which strives for permanence, does not always manage to, since it has many paradigms to respond to. Now think of a great ad campaign, the old Beetle Volkswagon ad campaign, the Marcel Breuer chair. Permanent? Transient?

Apart from working on Landscape and Architectural projects, and writing for Spade, Aniket Bhagwat is also faculty at CEPT, teaching post-grad Landscape and under-grad Architecture. He can be reached via his website.

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24 Responses to “ArchiFeature > Aniket Bhagwat”

  1. dear aniket,
    we are architects and are publishing an architectural magazine’ Designers style’.
    you can check it at facebook.com/designerstyle.magazine.
    we would like to invite you for your article or project,office work to be in our next issue.
    if you agree,please write to us.
    ar.akbar riaz
    editor in chief

  2. 2 Minal Haldankar

    Respected Sir,

    Very Nice work.
    I am really impressed.
    Development of Basalt quarry is amazing.

  3. 3 mervin

    hi
    that great
    plz more and more

  4. 4 kishor bansilal pawar

    hello sir
    i am intrested in your all design

    Bansilal pawar Carpenter
    son, kishor b pawar
    ahmedabad

  5. 5 karteik

    aniket always expresses nicely.
    originality and honesty of working as per beleiving is salutable…such professionals not only produce good work but play role in elevating the dignity of the profession…

  6. 6 shama

    Cant access Bhagawat sir’s site. I need his contact details. Can you post it?
    In fact, my training is up. I hope I can learn a lot of things from him.

  7. 8 RAVI PANCHAL

    res sir,

    i am m.sc(agri) in HORTICULTURe, NOW I AM DOING JOB IN ADANI GROUP AS A HORTICULTURE OFFICER I AM INTERESTED TO WORK UNDER U PLEASE GIVE EARLY POSITIVE RESPONCE

    REGARDS
    RAVI V PANCHAL
    09727716548

  8. respected sir,
    nmashkar,
    you are one of the best architect in the world, and i am interested to work with you ofr my best products.
    i hope you will put your kind attantion to me .
    thanking you
    maulik k suthar
    09825135783

  9. 10 subhankar

    my architect is Ar.Aniket bhagwat .A GREAT PERSON WHOM I EVER MET IN MY LIFE.AFTER MY TRAINING IN HIS FIRM I UNDERSTOOD WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE.HE IS NOT ONLY A GOOD ARCHITECT BUT A GOOD TEACHER TOO.

  10. 11 Hemanth

    We are developing a bunglow in ooty. We would like include your expertise in developing our lawn which is around 8000 sq ft area. Kindly revert back if your are interested.

    Regards,
    Hemanth
    Chennai

  11. Dear Aniket

    Ur Desgine Is Mind Blowing & Just Like More Then A Dream also I Been Worked With BHIPL I.e Devi Garh Now I Am Working With Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur

    Realy Ur Desgine Is Dream Project GOD BLESS YOU BEST OF LUCK

    Regrds Kamal S.Lohar

  12. 13 amit chandak

    i am an interior designer and lighting designer from baroda, and just saw ur presentation at baroda IIID chapter and is really very impressed and inspired, you are tadao ando of india, hats off to u sir. amazing work,keep it up.

  13. 14 Kunal Gajbar

    A very good review of Bhagwat Sir’s work here and indeed a very good interview…
    I have always loved his work.. since the time i was working at Samira Rathod Design Associates in Mumbai that we collabrated on some projects like the “Jariwala House”, the” Halfway Retreat” and the “Devrashi House” which are featured here. I was very fortunate to even work on some as a part of the interior design team. The kind of spaces that he creates in his building are soo intimate and engaging with the occupants and i think his kind of work is a perfect smack in the face for todays trend of consumerism in Architecture and Design which have borrowed refrences from an alein culture rather than our very own rich heritage. I am sure that his practices are the top design practice in our country , totally honouring the “Indian Local” and helping create a ” Neo Hinhustani” -i would like to call it- Style statement which i wd love to see the students of design inspect and see as exemplar henceforth..

    Kunal Gajbar.
    M. Design. Interior Arcitecture.
    Melbourne, Australia.

  14. 15 madhu

    I recently saw a house he is doing is Baroda,(its being built), but what I saw was explosive! A colleague was telling me, that he is working on a new large landscape and architecture project in Ahmedabad, that seems to be very different and compelling. Can you feature them here?

  15. 16 Chandu Halwai

    Why is work in India getting so eccentric? Is it because the average Indian architect cannot find substance enough in Indian culture to express it uniquely or is it that they still get mesmerised by western concepts of space that consistently treat the building as an object spearated from the landscape. While much of this is esoteric, the hotel seems to capture a few measures from the local buiilding tradition in Rajasthan, expressed in the formal articulation and section. I have known Aniket Bhagwat when he was a struggling, adamant student at CEPT. What I see here is some growth but a lot of searching.

  16. 17 seemab ahmed

    hi. i am student of third year architecture,i am doing a presentation on aniket bhagwat work and his ideology for my landscape architect presentation,so pls help i dont hav much information present about him

  17. 18 Ar. Alpa Pandya

    i did see ur practice it is an excellent example to be studied as a case study ————————————SUBERB

  18. 19 Ar. Alpa Pandya

    Sir please can u help me out

  19. 20 Ar. Alpa Pandya

    Sir, at present i am pursuing my M.arch (city Design) at SCET SURAT and having subject of URBAN LANDSCAPE so searching for your famous article quarry of gods and some more for reveuing and preparing assignments from it. thanking u better needs ur help

  20. 21 Riti Roy Betai

    I had the privilege of working with Aniket Sir in his office in Ahmedabad. It is and (I’m sure) will remain the highlight of my professional career for a long long time. The variety and challenges of the projects in that office is unrivalled. The kind of thinking and hard work which goes into every little detail in every project is phenomenal. When one works there, it’s not only architecture or landscape that one deals with. There are presentations to be made, some great books to read and sometimes reviewed, sketches to be made, 12 on 12s to be organized … the list goes on. Everyday is a new day and one is sure that there will be something exciting to be done in office. To top it all, one is being guided by tremendously motivated professionals. Not only is Prabhakar Bhagwat a great place to work in, it is also run by equally great people, who are kind and considerate and helpful, all at once. I had joined that office in the first year of my professional life. And like all fresh graduates, I was sometimes slack and mostly irresponsible. I had my share of… umm…Let’s say…professional scolding .But , that’s not what I remember when I am thinking about that place (though, I know a lot of people who used to break down in front of Aniket Sir and disappear , never to come back again). I remember the huge sketches I had made under Aniket Sir’s guidance, the big book shelf full of wonderful books covering everything under the sun, the World Space Radio and the CD stack (my favorite), and Dabeli and Vada-pav evening snacks, and the dinner I went to with Sir’s family after the play at Natrani and of course, 12 and 12, 2006 which I also a great time organizing with my colleagues in that firm. The weekend outings I had with my colleagues … can fill pages!
    Anyway, this particular blog of yours was a great read. Now I’ll read your blog more often! To end, I would like to say that if Indian Design had a face; it would look like Aniket Bhagwat’s.

  21. I love your blog. Your writeups are very interesting..

  22. 23 madhu kasbekar

    Wow! Just made my year! This is superb work….Thanks for such a feast.

  23. 24 Rajiv Majumdar

    This is fantastic!

    I like everything about this write-up. The works featured and the conversation. Great read!

    Aniket… matter enough in here for a good book. When is it due? Just get Kavita to do the copy for you.

    Kavita… your blog remains bookmarked permanently!