A Chit-Chat

Suneet Paul, the Editor-in-chief of Architecture+Design magazine got into an insightful chat with reputed architect Sourabh Gupta discussing diverse issues in architecture…

Suneet Paul: Let’s begin our chit-chat with the positive thought, as we were discussing earlier, that the pulse of contemporary Indian architecture is steady and strong. I’m inquisitive to understand — in a comparatively
young professional career, you have already sensitively addressed a wide range of typologies and dealt with mega-scaled projects, from the macro city-level to a micro logo design. How has the journey been so far?

Sourabh Gupta: It has been a beautiful journey.
The office always has had an ambition to span scales and try typologies of various design projects. The trajectory has been swift and spirited with its share of reality checks.

Archohm happened to me in my CEPT, Ahmedabad days while writing the research thesis on my hometown, Meerut, titled ‘The behaviour of streets’. I won some small competitions –commissions of Japanese projects in Delhi.

Archohm is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary architectural firm located in Noida, Delhi NCR. It is the brainchild of architect Sourabh Gupta, who founded it in 2000. It has since earned a name for itself through its versatility and innovation in design. The studio offers consultancy for architecture, urban design, interiors, landscape and product design, spanning across various sectors and typologies. Archohm also takes up design engineering services. As it believes in a cross-cultural dialogue and a global exposure on design, Archohm launched its studio in the Netherlands in 2002 and established an office in Libya in 2009 for its Middle East operations. To further establish their vision of design discovery, the practice organises various programmes, such as the Archotour, Archoforum, Archometer for its employees as well as has founded initiatives like Zolijns – a furniture and lifestyle boutique, Design Factory India – an experience design firm , The Design Village – a design school, Gomaads – a concrete laboratory, and Dtours India – a curated travel venture, for inciting a dialogue in the design communities world-over.

The studio seeks to provide architecture that is climatically and contextually relevant. The design philosophy has been one that creates an intermingling of pure functional forms that are exaggerated by the use of individual materials; this co-existence and conversation of various materials is utilised in all projects to create responsive and responsible architecture. All their design projects present an example of a contemporary Indian aesthetic. Archohm, therefore, stands for a ‘young, mad and fun’ approach to spatiality, that employs a play of light, volumes and materials.

Numerous awards and accolades for its own design studio and
other projects have encouraged Archohm to consistently evolve as a design practice.

The office started and struggled as a start-up and then we won the ‘Dilli Haat’ project. To me, this was a turning point in Archohm’s journey as an architecture practice.

Following this, large scale developments in Libya, Africa and getting other infrastructure and institutional projects back home, brought in a certain scale to the practice. This enabled us to build our own design studio at Noida. The practice evolved in its personality and perception since then. Our studio became our visiting card and a filter for people we work with and the ones we work for.

The architecture of our studio defined our attitude in architecture.

Contemporary Indian architecture and design, demands an approach that can understand and address all scales and types of projects with a deeper dialogue with the community or a client. The level of exposure of stakeholders is high and so is the need for the energies to be invested and synergised. We therefore work with the same rigour and motivation on an urban rejuvenation project like the Allahabad riverfront at ‘sangam’ for the development authority, to designing personalised paper for Mr. Amitabh Bachchan from the sands of the same Ganges at Allahabad. These are two typical examples of contrasting yet converging conceptual works for clients addressed on a typical day at Archohm.

The journey has been fulfilling; we strive to live a ‘life through design’.