Being a self-taught designer has never been a limitation for Sunita Kohli. After all, she was the first interior designer to be conferred the Padma Shri in 1992 and the first Indian designer/architect to be invited to give an illustrated lecture at the prestigious National Building Museum in Washington DC in 2003. For daughter Kohelika Kohli, who studied architecture at the Pratt Institute of Design (New York), this cemented the belief that an architect/designer cannot simply rely on their credentials or academic qualifications – but exposure to people, places and culture make the real difference. Kohelika, therefore, immersed herself in work and design cultures around the world — in New York, Italy and England.
In 2010, the mother-daughter team consolidated their many design practices into K2India, a multi–disciplinary design and architectural and design firm in New Delhi. Established as a brand, it brought all the design disciplines together − Kohelika Kohli Architects (est. 2004), the architecture and project management cell of K2India, known for its creative and contemporary buildings; Sunita Kohli Interior Designs Pvt. Ltd. (est. 1972), the interior design cell of K2India which is research-based and concerned with the physical context of a project and its cultural millieu; and Sunita Kohli & Co. (est. 1971), the furniture manufacturing cell of the company, whose range extends from contemporary to classical. This transition into a brand is, probably, one of their most significant evolutions as a practice.
At K2India, the endeavour is to provide clients with the most cutting-edge designs that are also cost-effective. “Internationally, today, all major projects are driven by interior architecture and design, to their final architectural forms. These are the strengths of K2India,” note the Kohlis.
Their numerous turnkey projects offer comprehensive solutions — be it architectural, structural, MEP services, landscape, interior architectural and interior design projects. But what sets them apart is that each space can also enjoy their own refined and customised furniture. This personalised approach to architecture and design has been instrumental in creating many successfully projects — not just in India, but also in Egypt, England, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Driven by the pursuit of excellence and quality, the duo strongly believe that one’s surroundings directly influences the quality of one’s lives — whether in the workplace, at home or in the public spaces in between. For years their design approach and philosophy has been constant and rooted in a firm belief that “design is fundamental to improving the quality of life; and with an integrated and unified approach, it can become a functional and living work of art.”

Looking Back

A home designed in Colombo, Sri Lanka (“in its toniest area”) was a collaborative architectural and design project for an urbane, well-travelled and sophisticated client. “This project seeded the idea of K2India, and of Kohelika and I merging our respective companies. The rest is history…” states Sunita.

Looking forward

The Kohlis have an impressive new project in the making: a Museum of Transport, a first such museum for a passionate and erudite collector of vintage cars and 19th century furniture and artefacts. “This museum, once completed, will be quite unique and the research for it has certainly added to our learning curve!”

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