Epiphanies, as is their wont, happen suddenly. But it takes courage to act upon these moments of realisation, especially if it means you have to change something after having worked on it for a considerable amount of time. So it happened to Dipen Gada, who, after having headed his practice Dipen Gada & Associates for seven years, listened to the experiences of a Swedish firm who was still going strong after the demise of its principal and decided it was time to change. “The firm operated years after the demise of the principal designer, based on the goodwill, values, reputation, philosophies and the work culture put into practice decades ago,” he reminisces. “It marked a change in the design ethos of my firm. And I made a conscious effort to shift towards a more simple, minimal and ‘back to basics’ kind of design sensibility.” He is no stranger to quirks of fate. His graduation in civil engineering — so closely allied to architecture — came about when he tried — unsuccessfully — to enrol for mechanical engineering, the subject of his choice. “Initially, I strove for knowledge and exposure which set me off on a path of self-learning,” discloses the designer-by-chance. “Intense travelling, study and seminars helped me to create a boutique identity for my practice.”
Today, DGA is the proud winner of several awards and commendations. Though the firm strives to maintain a balance between aesthetics and functionality in all its designs by amalgamating architecture, art and design, Gada believes that the roots of his design ideology lies in functionality. “All my designs are developed with function as the base module and they emerge progressively, depending on site context and climate,” he says. “Classic minimalism is what we follow and maintain in each project we undertake,” he says of his broad design style. “We also believe in respecting the natural materials and uniqueness of each element. We like to explore each element with its qualities and adapt it to our client’s requirement.” All this takes is keeping one’s eyes, mind and senses open — a trait Gada swears by. He also lays great emphasis on experimentation. “I believe that the new generation of designers should always do a ‘trial and error’ in each work they undertake. I believe that mistakes are the proof that you are continuously engaged in the task.”

Looking Back

There are two projects which are dear to Gada’s heart: the Madav residence and Sanket India. The first saved 17 trees out of 20 on site; today, the house is cocooned in greenery. Sanket India is a huge electronics showroom near Baroda, developed on a green concept and realised after overcoming several challenges.

Looking forward

DGA consciously works on limited projects so that they can deliver out-of-the box design solutions. One residence that they are particularly excited about, is being developed for a doctor couple who wanted a home that was close to nature. The designer is optimistic about delivering something that they will cherish for a long time.

 

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