Innovative Mind | September 2012
“Though most say they want an out-of-the-box design, only five per cent actually lean towards developing and implementing it.” says Behzad Kharas, Prinicpal Architect of Mumbai based firm ThinkBNK. In a tété-a-tété with CW Interiors he throws light on the concept of innovation and his views on it.
What is your idea of innovation?
Innovation is a process that starts with a unique concept. That concept needs to be further refined. Then the process and people who can develop that concept are shortlisted and they create the final product or an idea. The sustenance of the product developed and its availability to the context in which it is developed is the called an innovation. Innovation in the interior industry can be through spatial design forms, use of stereotype materials in different ways and introduction of latest technology.
For example, in an office project that we did, we used PVC plumbing pipes to design a ceiling. We cut the pipes of different diameters at different angles, painted them white and stuck them on translucent acrylic; then we backlit it.
What innovations do you see around you, in materials, styles, architecture and design?
The arrival of new technology and products has pushed the barriers of design further. We have plumbing systems that work like electrical wires, developed by a company called TECE; customised printed backlit ceilings; liquid gel tiles; aroma and croma therapy bath suites; CNC texturising of stone. These are just a few examples of materials and processes that are being developed not only to enhance the aesthetics of space but also the practical servicing and implementation of daily use items. As far as interior and architecture design is concerned, there is a growing trend towards experimental forms of design.
Could you explain this through in detail?
For example, an office building is generally a glass and aluminium facade juxtaposed in different ways and patterns. However, certain projects by Architect Sanjay Puri and Architect Christopher Benninger may have broken the visual barrier of how corporate office buildings should look. A very inspirational project of Architect Christopher Benninger is the Suzlon corporate office at Pune. However, this trend is in a nascent stage. Most corporates would still prefer glass facade buildings because of conventional thinking.
In interior design, a lot of designs are form-based and tactile. We are seeing cohesion of elements in a space. For example, a wall panel can become a reception counter and can also become seating in an office space.
What inspires you to innovate?
Though most clients say they want an out of box design, only five per cent actually lean towards developing and implementing an out of the box design. Hence the first inspiration to innovate is generally the client and his attitude towards design. Also, when we study the international community and see their breathtaking designs, we are inspired to push our thought processes beyond the barriers of our personal imagination. A lot of inspiration also comes from past experiences about detailing and usage of materials.
Some innovations that have caught your fancy...
My personal favourite is Architect Jean Nouvel’s Islamic building design wherein he has developed a screen facade with an oculus that opens and closes based on the sun path and the amount of light that comes on the building. Santiago Calatrava is also a major inspiration for me for his unique structural designs that seem to have some sort of poetics in motion.
Tell us about your own innovations in your projects.
We have used venetian blinds as a ceiling material and have back lit them to create texture as well as movement in the ceiling design. We have used laser cut veneer over veneer in residential spaces. We have also used laser cutting of one material applied over a secondary substrate.
What would be your dream innovation?
My dream innovation would be to develop mobile office and residential spaces, and spaces with great flexibility which would help decongest a city and reduce pollution levels in the environment.
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