“The ability to think disruptive and (find) solutions (that are) well-balanced to the context,“ is how Anuradha and Vivek Rathore describe their design style. Established in June 2005, their Kolkata-based practice has propagated an inclusive design approach, be it architecture, interiors or landscape. They “evolve designs which are sustainable, serve many and reinstate Indian design globally”.
From the beginning, the studio worked on projects of varied scales — ranging from a 700sq-ft neighbourhood pub interiors to a 300,000sq-ft mixed-use development in a Class B city. “The big ones came as opportunities from competitions essentially,” they mention. Early on in their career they learnt that the context is not just related to the site responses, but it needs to address the economic model of development or the affordability in terms of construction technology. Continuous research, humility to learn, and being patient were some of the other takeaways from those years. “Every line we draw, there is a resource consumed at site,” remind Anuradha and Vivek, alumni of CEPT and IIT Roorkee, respectively.
Creating honest, inclusive and experimental work has become their benchmark — with projects mostly situated in the states of eastern India. The evolutionary nature of the practice has opened up their minds to new concepts, and they are most eager to explore sustainable designs that are regenerative and give back to the ecology.
Their commitment to the future is based on an idealistic approach. “Our efforts in design should significantly resolve urban crisis of environment, ecology, energy footprint, food demand and transport, while reconnecting the lost links of culture, human values and (our) brilliant inheritance of spirituality,” mention the architects, whose only advice to colleagues is to remember that “it is not about scale, but sensitivity; and control the urge to be façade driven”.

Looking Back

Key projects such as Montana Vista, Siliguri, Anaya Kutir and City Centre Raipur helped build the firm’s confidence, particularly in landscape and interior design. “Ecospace (another project) was a brilliant (effort) at evolving our ecological and urban design sensitivities,” say the Rathores.

Looking forward

With their upcoming trade fair ground and infrastructure project, Milan Mela 2020, Salient could very well be building a new landmark for the city of Kolkata. Meanwhile, Swabhumi 2019 is an urban renewal project set over a former garbage dump, which will celebrate the concept of regenerative reuse.

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