Innovation is the real differentiator. This is amply demonstrated with the Pritzker prize the most prestigious award in architecture - going to Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Though he was surprised to know he had won, it is his work in rebuilding homes in disaster prone areas using simple materials such as cardboard and paper, that has received such a momentous recognition. Building even a cathedral out of cardboard paper tubes in New Zealand, his work embodies the principles of affordability and innovation, and more importantly compassion, since it´s all pro bono. His tip to young architects who would like to join him: be good architects first. We salute his dedicated effort and intention.
Back home, at the IIID awards held recently, one of the vexing issues was the lack of enough quality entries. Debating the issue at the pre-function meet, two issues stood out: an unwillingness to be pitted against possibly younger and lesser known designers and lack of good documentation amongst the old guard. IIID is actively working on tackling these issues.
That being said, there is no dearth of either talent or innovation in our country. Bengaluru, for example, is buzzing with ideas coming from young and enthusiastic architects who are striving to make a difference not just to the architectural fraternity but to the way people live, work and experience buildings. Smruti Kamat and Lester Rozario, of Kamat and Rozario Architecture speak about their passion for architecture and creativity and the need to make a difference to the users of the spaces they design. New and upcoming designers and architects add a fresh perspective to the issue. Rajesh Ranka (Pune-based) designs a simple, yet stylish pristine white house in Pune with a gorgeous terrace and a vertical garden, effectively combining white against a verdant backdrop. Designer Priyanka Sethi Puri combines various design elements, in a Delhi office using luxurious materials, providing for extra large cabins with lounge areas, creating a luxurious work environment and delivering effectively on the simple brief: Create an impressive address.
Two hangout zones in Delhi create distinct ambiences: Amour Bistro designed by DCA Architects recreates the aura of a quaint cafT in Milan and takes you on a European sojourn; while The Wine Company takes cues from wine cellars to create a relaxed soothing ambience for wine connoisseurs.
Internationally, in Hanoi, Vietnam, the JW Marriott Hotel represents a stunning range of design elements in a mammoth glass structure. The gigantic cantilevered floors and canopies combined with the warm tones of the interiors offer guests an uber luxurious hospitality experience. In Russia, the office designed by Za Bor Architects for IT company Yandex, painstakingly deals with the various structural challenges of the site, in the process creating a fabulous fluid structure with meeting rooms that resemble a spaceship. Definitely innovative.