Recent Happening

  A few days back we had hosted an eminent group of realtors at Baroda from across the country. Design and real estate seems an unending discourse that is rarely settled satisfactorily. In a country where real estate more than any public or government architecture makes the recognizable fabric of our cities this  discordant note has led to the tardy manner in which our urbanity presents itself. Hard, inhumane, joyless, heavy handed, and with very little civic responsibility and societal ethics. A small monograph was made for the occasion and it had an essay that outlined some of the procedural ills; but having said that, architects and designers are even more responsible for the mess- and its a situation where blame has to be appropriated to all. The monograph had…
A recent trip to Stuttgart to talk at the opening series of Creative Days, an initiative that is the brainchild of a firm run by a designer duo- Poonam and Martin, and supported by the city,  other design organizations, Dept. of City Planning and Urban Renewal ( Stuttgart), and the Indian government , also allowed some time to look around, and also meet some wonderful people; the hosts of-course but also Kai Beirich , partner at Wulf Architekten, www.wulfarchitekten. com and that true India lover,Oliver Sorg who had many a story of living in a house that  the late Correa built in Kolkatta,  and Kamar Khan who seemed to know every architect and film maker in the world that there is to know. Of equal -if not greater pleasure was…
  The travails of selling real estate came home to us forcefully in the last few months. We are  rather happily engaged with designing and monitoring the construction of an office building in Baroda that we  in the office called “ The Alchemists Abode” the name referring to the clients metallurgical business interests. The building is  now formally called “ Ark”, in reference to a space where ideas will be safe and nurtured, and the idea of life will live. Parts of the project have been inspired by Paul Klees, 1929  painting “Uncomposed Objects in Space” ( above) The atrium inspired by Klee. The building uses the premise of using the idea of a tense chaos and suspended imbalance and yet denoting  a stillness, as an allegorical reference to life…
For too long when it comes to say office spaces, or housing projects , the motivation behind installing a landscape is often the ticking of boxes; Children’s play space- yes; Gathering green; yes; Amphitheater ; yes, Jogging track; yes. Then it  really does not matter how that is expressed, or subsequently even used. Office spaces have it tougher. There usually is very little space. A drive way; maybe a small podium; and the programme often nonexistent. This leads to many a good piece of architecture, ending up with a rather messy and indifferent landscape as a handmaiden. In Upper Worli , the landscape for rather handsome building by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners (PCF), was suffering an inglorious fate. It was a combination of reasons; an indifferent design effort, coupled…
The Garden and Landscape Designers Association of Ireland celebrate their 20th year, with an International Conference at  Dublin on20th February 2016. The theme is  to explore the influences and connections  between landscapes of the East and West. Speakers are from China, Netherlands , UK and us from India.
Professor Prabhakar B. Bhagwat or Bade Sir as he was affectionately called by all, passed away peacefully amidst his immediate family on 14th August 2015. A few months back he spoke to Aniket Bhagwat about his life; an interview that is the high point of a book " Forest for the Trees ; Trees for the Forest" which is about his design firm. The interview: In conversation : Part I Professor P. B. Bhagwat talks to Aniket Bhagwat. Tell me a bit about my grandfather, Bhalchandra V. Bhagwat; How did he learn about gardens; what was his life like? Above: Bhalchandra V. Bhagwat. & Letter of recommendation for B. V. Bhagwat circa 1920 You know him - he was a tall, regal and fair man who always turned out immaculately.…
Shiny at Indian Express reviewed the office book, and did an interview. Do see the article.. The green mile Be it an exaggerated dinosaur bridge in an apartment block, a brick cone that opens itself to the skies in Drum House or undulating brick walls in Devi Art Foundation. Their self-published book, Forest for the Trees; Trees for the Forest, documents projects by the firm. Written by Shiny Varghese | New Delhi | Updated: July 2, 2015 12:17 pm Prabhakar B Bhagwat turned a basalt quarry in Timba, Gujarat, into a self-sustaining forest. His father Bhalchandra V Bhagwat developed the Empress Botanical Gardens, Pune, as its Superintendent. His son, Aniket Bhagwat carries forward the legacy, plating up landscapes with fractals and contrasting geometries. With projects spread across the country, Aniket’s…
On a Rainy Day. In 2007, almost now nearing 8 years- the BATA factory land  in Kolkata started transforming into a new living community. Over time many cultural practices had got entrenched- people traversed the lands, it was full of shops; the local community used its grounds for festivals, or sports; many accessed the river through this land- and of course the many employees of BATA stayed here. For those who know Kolkata , this was the wrong end of the town- a location no one went to. Sumit however was determined to make this an example of what good living could be in the country. He invited good minds; Dulalda ( Mukherjee), Pramod Balakrishnan, Rajeev Kathpalia, Kiran Kapadia and Bimal Patel, to help with designing the various buildings. Great…
Professor P. B. Bhagwat, or Bade Sir to many students and folks in the office, celebrated his 85th birthday on 20th June 2015. It was a Saturday and we spent the afternoon home, talking to him, laughing a lot and      cutting large cakes . Some pictures. And through this post a big thank you to the many many people who called, mailed and sent messages greeting him.      
Exhibition on Indian Landscape Design; Call for Research Assistants. A few years back with friends we had mounted an effort called A  Million Gardens; while we did not really go through with it to the extent that we could have, it was a very valuable endeavor and at least allowed us to restate , and investigate the meanings today of the gardens of the past, and more importantly try and define what constituted a garden in the Indian context. This led to a lecture that was well received, and that then became a LEAF document. What this did ,was plant the germ of an idea that since has recurred often, demanding that this topic be given better attention. Beginning from May 2015 for 6 months we plan to invest energy…
Baring Our Soul- “  Forest for the trees;Trees for the Forest” – The Monograph. The office likes to publish; we do this with some reticence while distributing what we publish, but we publish with a fervor that is rare. All presentations become booklets, all studies become booklets, lectures find themselves in a printed form, and then of course there are a few books that we have lent energies on. Over time this has led many people to suggest that we do a book on the office. It started with a few friends egging us, and then we found the suggestions coming in from good publishing houses. “ Do a book on the Million Garden initiative” “ Do a book on landscape design” “ Do a book on just the idea…
On 27th Feb. last year , we at Spade, conducted an Architects Retreat in Mumbai, where with months of preceding work, we spoke about and discussed animatedly about issues of Practice and Academics. There were about 20 of us, and it was a day of learning and hope. We had all resolved that we would come to the table and only debate possibilities for the future, not lament the past or the present. It was a good day. For the last year, sometimes with a lot of fervor and at others with less, we have worked on putting together the book. Its finally done. And when I read it, what is clear is that this is honest conversation that is very valuable in navigating our profession. I think it will be…
C.A.R.E. at Trichy , hosts an annual architects series. The first time around they had invited  Mohammad Rafiq Azam from Bangladesh. This year its us. This is on 14th December 2014. What is really interesting about this event, is that its perhaps the first time that an architects office is doing an exhibition of works along with the lecture. The office will show  24 projects, hence the name of the exhibition "24 Intercessions" Accompanying the event is a catalogue that has an interview of Aniket Bhagwat conducted by Samira Rathod, an abstract commentary on the firms work by Kaiwan Mehta , and an essay about works by Meghal Arya. The 70 page ; 9"x 9" catalogue also has sketches, examples of drawings, models and pictures of details from various projects.…
Rather so often in design offices, the principal designer gets his name splashed in all glory on every magazine cover and every presentation. I have seen firms started by some one ,changing their names , the moment it changes hands. When a son takes over it becomes  " & Sons" even  when there is only one, or of-course the name is abbreviated so that it becomes an acronym. Rarely do firms actively strive to ensure that the act of taking  credit , is a collective act , and not a singular one. Even when they do,the designers do take all the accolades and a huge amount of other folks often don't get talked about. I know about us; we as a firm would not survive without many people who are…
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