Being multi-disciplinary is no lip service at Studio Lotus. The 60-strong team of the 16-year-old studio straddles within its ambit a number of diverse fields: architecture, interior design, exhibition design, furniture design and graphic design. And despite its size, the firm has managed to retain a studio-culture obsessed with detail, innovation and craftsmanship, rather than only scale. Founded in 2002, Studio Lotus was seeded with “an aspiration to create a design practice that could add value to each project it undertook. The desire was to create an expression that was global through a language that was contextual and local,” say founders Ambrish Arora, Sidhartha Talwar and Ankur Choksi.
In the early days, like any fledgling venture, all was grist to Studio Lotus’s mill. Some of its initial works included a small office space, a gym at the India Habitat Centre and a Crafts Mela. Almost a decade later came the first F&B space, the F Bar at Khaaja Chowk, and the first retail space for Viya Home. The learnings at this stage were that people — teams and artisans — were key-enablers between a concept and its realisation. This current people-centric approach — as opposed to the earlier preoccupation with projects — serves as a bedrock for the practice. This philosophy is perpetuated in social context-based design processes — by drawing and adapting from the local culture, combining traditional wisdom with contemporary technology, and an inclusive methodology that counts clients as valued collaborators. “Looked at in this manner, each new project is a lesson in waiting,” they tell us. “We have been deeply focussed on the nature of our practice and team — on building a culture of self-initiated learning and innovation that each and every member of the Studio Lotus team is inspired to live by, and takes complete ownership of.” From a project perspective, the studio has now moved from a firm that was adept at interior architecture to one where more than half the work comprises greenfield projects.
The leaders-cum-entrepreneurs of the multi-disciplinary team would like to share these findings with fellow practitioners: “Don’t get swayed by the ‘image’ of what ‘you’ want to create — surrender yourself to the client’s need and the context you are building in. Keep pushing what is possible. Question deeply. Focus on people and processes that enable them rather than an obsession with the built-form. Last but not the least, stay humble and ever ready to learn.”

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