Shifting toward effectively minimal practices – SQUARE

SQUARE

SQUARE

A fluid team structure that invokes design ideas from all, with a hierarchy only to guide it, was scattered. The team experienced a shift towards minimal ways of life, which now inspires their practice too.

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Tell us about some important projects that your studio was involved in just before the lockdown.

 

We had to start with an experience centre and a club project during the lockdown period. In course of time, we also had to handle residential and corporate interiors. All of them were design problems and our team was scattered.

 

Which were the biggest challenges and fears you faced because of the lockdown?

 

The biggest challenge of any architectural studio we believe was to change the culture of our work. WFH is different from the studio culture we were bred in.

Although you have video calling facilities, there was a paradigm shift regarding workflow. It forced us to relook at the root of information dissemination as we could lose considerable time and resources in doing back and forth.  

 

What were the challenges you faced with the monetary flow in your practice and how are you handling them? 

 

Of course, the monetary flow was affected. Mostly because there were panic and uncertainty all around. But principally we decided to retain all our employees even if it means a pay cut for us all.

 

At the beginning of the lockdown, we discussed this with our entire team and everybody agreed upon this. We were all in this together, to face the challenges awaiting. Fortunately, things turned out better than we anticipated.   

 

 

How are you strategizing to adapt to the new conditions of work upon resumption of office post the lockdowns?

 

Safety is the primary concern for us and will remain so. We intended to continue WFH till the public transport is normalised but the systems and workflow outside the purview of our studio forced us to open earlier. However, we have restricted travel for our employees and vendor meets to have minimal in-person contact. However, if and when such situations arise we ensure proper safety measures are being taken.

 

 

Were any new methods of work evolved during the lockdown?

 

We have actively started using online platforms, cloud storage and collaborative spreadsheets. These methods have helped us To stay organised better and save time. Also, the lockdown periods helped us to think deep into the problems and represent them with more clarity before laying them out to the production teams.

 

 

How were the coordination issues resolved with the studio staff and on-site team?

 

Online video calling facilities and meeting platforms helped a lot. These methods are cost-effective compared to conventional travel and can quickly resolve issues because virtually there is no lag between the onsite and studio staff. Even though some times in-person attendance is required, we felt they can be reduced now.

 

What were the biggest learnings from the pandemic? And which decisions and new work methods you feel your studio will continue with for the future?

 

The biggest learning of course is philosophical.

 

You can well and truly survive on much less than you believe. It does not make you frugal but allows you to focus on the present. This philosophy can be extended to design as well.

 

We say we practise minimalism but by that, we often mean the absence of patterns or artefacts. Minimalism is not about the absence but rather the presence of something. It allows us to simplify the clutter and focus on something meaningful. We believe Square as a studio can learn and apply in her design decisions.

This apart Square will continue to focus on cloud storage and collaborative design platforms as they are the future. 

 

 

Please share a few words about any construction approval processes being influenced by the lockdown. How have the development authorities responded to you and did they share any instructions regarding the approval processes?

 

We have worked with governmental departments regarding projects and mostly they have online file movement and approval systems.

 

 

About the practice:

 

 

Please let us know about the founding year, principals, team and studio.

 

SQUARE was founded in 2008, with partner-architects Ranit Maiti and Subhrajit G Mitra. They opened the firm after completing their Masters in Urban Design. The studio focused on boutique projects from its inception focussed on boutique projects which involved a combination of architecture, interior and landscape. Square’s main focus was to give a comprehensive design solution.

 

 

What are some of the processes and work methods unique to your practice?

 

The firm is headed by two principal architects but the organisation is based on a matrix structure where there is no formalised hierarchy, neither is it a complete horizontal structure. Depending on the type of projects, different teams are combined. Anybody within the studio can throw ideas during the brainstorming stage and once a decision is finalised, the onus remains with the studio rather than the individual. Square prefers collaboration with other fellow architects outside our organization involving people from different backgrounds to have fresh perspectives. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Framed House, at Bangalore, India, by Crest Architects

Framed House, at Bangalore, India, by Crest Architects

Located within a gated community in North Bangalore, the square-shaped plot of this residence abuts the road on the southern and western sides and enjoys views of the encompassing greenery. Based on the client’s requirements, our approach was to design a modest house with a specific emphasis on natural light and ventilation.  

Read More »

TIGER TIGER – Nisha Mathew Ghosh

TIGER TIGER is part of a series on animals and their implied symbolic narrative appropriated politically and socially. This series studies the perception of people and conjures up new imaginaries as form is divested of its power by dematerializing it via the act of weaving a narrative shorn of the power, panache, swagger associated with the cultural, symbolic or naturalized form. – Nisha Mathew Ghosh

Read More »
Conserving The Commissariat Bulding, DR DN Road, by Vikas Dilawari

Conserving The Commissariat Building, DR DN Road, by Vikas Dilawari

Mumbai was the first city in India to have heritage regulations to protect its living heritage. This listing and the corresponding regulations binding these precincts would also protect these old areas from burdening the fragile infrastructure with high-rise buildings. These precincts, more than individual structures, puts forward each city’s uniqueness. Heritage awareness is certainly increasing on paper with more nominations of World Heritage Site ensembles. But in reality, its protection on the ground is decreasing at an alarming rate.

Read More »

“A Sense of Space: This book is an invitation to liberate oneself from the valorised image of western or imperial city planning towards a more nuanced, indigenous, and flexible approach to our cities.” Sudipto Ghosh Reviews A Sense of Space, by Ranjit Sabikhi

Those wondering why the design of contemporary Indian cities is such an arduous and joyless affair will find Ranjit Sabikhi’s book of immense interest. Many may even find themselves jolted to action within their spheres of influence despite the book’s unflappable tone. Most importantly, this book is an invitation to liberate oneself from the valorised image of western or imperial city planning towards a more nuanced, indigenous, and flexible approach to our cities. – Sudipto Ghosh

Read More »

Highway Restaurants Concept, at New Delhi, by Parag Singal Architects

The stirring proposal of Highway Bridge Restaurant was conceptualized by Parag Singal Architects. The idea is to build restaurants over National Highways that can be accessed from both sides of the road. Located on the center of the highway, it is almost impossible for the restaurant to go unnoticed by the motorists. It offers more visibility to the restaurant and makes it easier for the traveler to spot a place for refreshment, hence creating a win-win situation. – Parag Singal Architects

Read More »
MA001, at Ayroor, Kerala, India, by mamama

MA001, at Ayroor, Kerala, India, by mamama

Located in Ayroor, Kerala this family home that sits on the banks of the Chalakudy river is nothing less than a mini-ecosystem within itself — self-sufficient and symbiotic. Using local masons, carpenters, contractors and construction methods, this home was completed with natural materials such as terracotta and laterite tiles, kota stone and terracotta jaali blocks. A generous verandah wraps around three sides and a large open terrace on the upper floor maximises the spectacular views out onto the river. The house is an extension of the clients’ (perfect) idea of living a retired life.

Read More »

Subscribe to Architecture and Design Updates