ABSTRACT OF INTERVIEW WITH INDIAN ARCHITECT AND BUILDER.
What are the ideas that define SPASM?
We have a flamenco kind of approach and Ping-Pong kind of pace. Shared experiences over the years make every project we take on enjoyable. Our approach is very chaotic upfront. Our team is intrinsically involved from the get-go; several ideas are put on the table and worked through laterally. Essentially, our expression is based on the concerns we develop while understanding what the task is at hand. These concerns are then translated into a physical tangible buildable construct using our own personal intuitive logic – rational decisions based on relevance, appropriateness, technology, budgets, craftsmanship, locale, the list is too long…
SPASM is not interested in being avant-garde. Like Marcel Proust said, “To see new landscapes you don’t need to always journey, but have new eyes.” We try to be very human in our approach and not too fussy in our details. We do try to bring a poetic touch to our expression but never at the cost of appropriateness. An eastern kind of “inclusivity” is sought; every aspect of building, occupation and future ageing of projects is mulled over – many, many, many times over. Every commission is an opportunity to discover ourselves, through what we propose and build.
SPASM has designed in India and East Africa, what ‘concerns’ arise as a practice based in India?
The concerns remain the same throughout:
How honest can you be?
How sensible can you be?
How humble can you be?
What is relevant?
How long will it remain so?
Can your project go further than its apparent purpose?
How humane can it be?
Will it be endearing, through how it performs?
Concerns also change; it’s all very fluid.
What are SPASM’s ‘objectives’ – individual and professional?
SPASM is a small controlled practice. We’re interested in an intimate relationship with our studio, our team, our collaborators, our models, drawings, visualizations, products, buildings and our clients. We do this because we love it. We sense displeasure; we respect questioning and constructive criticism on all the projects. We don’t know how to run our studio any other way. The extremely personal way our studio runs gives us immense happiness. Our ultimate objective is simply happiness – a sense of doing something.
You both graduated from the Academy of Architecture and initiated the practice with a collaborative agenda – what influences your architecture?
Influences are many, from all spheres of life – from travels to our children. People who think outside the box to achieve difficult goals and challenges are inspiring. People who teach you what NOT to do through their work are also very important influences, perhaps beacons….. Both of us have many personal influences and mentors from art teachers to books we’ve read, colleagues, professors, ex-employers – too many in facts.
Practicing in developing India and continuing to produce patient qualitative architecture can be challenging. What essential ideas contribute to this quality? What is the ‘process’?
Our buildings try to be the best representations of their own reality. An architect channels all the conditions, constraints, functional issues, resources at hand, etc., into a resolute whole. That’s where the special quality comes – in an architect’s sense of light, lightness and weight of materials, workmanship, the act of putting things together….. More than ideas, we feel that it is the inner sensibility that contributes to that special feel or quality.
Process is a constantly changing animal! Sometimes it’s as easy as a stallion to ride on, and sometimes as difficult as a chameleon to nail down – it’s never the same. However, there always comes a, “this feels right” moment.
Spasm Design Architects
310, Raheja Plaza, opposite Yashraj Studio,
Shah Industrail Estate, Off Andheri Link Road,
Andheri (W), Mumbai - 400053.
Tel: +91 22 26741501 / +91 22 26735862
Fax: +91 22 26733287
For business enquiries:
- DCIPL Offices: Best Project Award for office interiors by the IIID Awards-2000
- Vohra House: A special mention for Residential Interiors in 2006
- Oorja (An Indian Store): Runner-up at the National level for IIID Awards-2007, India.
- Starcom Media Offices: Winner – Corporate Interiors - West Region, MK-IIID Awards-2009
- AR Awards 09 - Commendation for EXIM TOWER
- Best Building Awards conducted by AQRB, Tanzania- Third place for Exim Tower
- AICA 2011 Award for Artists in Concrete for AON Headquarters
- Selected as top 7 Architectural Practices in India 2011 by Forbes, India
- TRENDS EXCELLENCE AWARD for best architecture and design 2013
- Aces of Spaces Award For Brick kiln House
SPASM- Is not a singular practice....
Two station points in an architectural perspective render greater depth to an image. Over the last fifteen years, through endless hours, we have used each other as station points of revelation; evolving and developing out particular expression to specific conditions.
SPASM, very early on its career, has had the opportunity to actively operate in both India and East Africa - tropical zones but both culturally different.
Today, as we see it, the demands of this profession have grown the human animal is rapidly evolving, constantly on the move, interested in every experience there is to be had ...
We cannot claim to be regionalists - we are Indian, educated here, Practicing in India and East Africa ...
We search for a fresh and pragmatic solution every time by examining each situation within its own specificity, peculiarity and cultural definitions ...
We do not, promote a method or solution.
We do not, theorize.
We do not; think the process is in any way similar in every project.
We seek... to capture the fleeting essence.
We seek... a reality check before we face our clients.
We seek... to uplift the human spirit.
We search... emotion.
We search... apparent ease-effortlessness.
We search... clarity.
We search... for the ‘this feels right’ moment.
Certain considerations are paramount in our understanding of our work...
The primary source of evolving any project is the client sensibilities and cultural definitions, our belief is that any of our projects is by the user and for the user and can only survive if it is user-focused.
The essence of the site’s context: climate, physical features, views, reachability is crucial to inform the project.
The inquiry into what lies at the core of the project’s purpose; shapes its relevance in architectural, economic and social value.
The evolution of a project is generated directly from the act of human occupation, through the quality and variance of light, the reference to other spaces and the directness of view, the ability to adapt and the patterns of erosion in materials and memories.
ACT OF CONSTRUCTION
The process of putting together the construct, the impact of geometry, the weight, textures, and spatial qualities of the materials informs the physical embodiment of the project. The crucial task is to compose the project rooted around the essence of these considerations. And above all, deliver an endearing, relevant, humane project.
Our methods remain very intuitive, the first strains of the idea approaches through several dialogues within the tea, different perspectives are debated, weighted for originality, authenticity, and appropriateness, edited and fine tuned to their potent best.
Many times, initial ideas are shelved due to inappropriateness, and recur as themes for other conditions where their potencies are reclaimed even stronger.
Geoffrey Bawa once said “Too much architecture between me and the view!” This perhaps has become a sort of ethos of SPASM’s architecture.
‘The greatest reward is to be untraceable, as architects’