“‘Design’ is the creative tool through which the poetry of vision is communicated and ‘Architecture’ is the technical infrastructure that defines the language of the space. Architecture and design must correspond to their natural surroundings in a manner that feels harmonious and symbiotic.”
ET-Insights: What was your inspiration when you took up the beach house project?
Ambika: My earliest influence, and most prevalent to this day, is the natural world; flora and fauna. I’m consistently inspired by the form, structure, colour and details of organic elements. Other current influences I consider profound are the harmonious patterns of sacred geometry, Cymatics, the Wabi-Sabi philosophy of discovering beauty within imperfection and the aesthetics of modern Scandinavian and Japanese design.
ET-Insights: What is the correlation of architecture and design?
Ambika: ‘Design’ is the creative tool through which the poetry of vision is communicated and ‘Architecture’ is the technical infrastructure that defines the language of the space. A key aspect of the correlation between the two, which is always featured in my designs, is that the architecture and design must correspond to their natural surroundings in a manner that feels harmonious and symbiotic.
ET-Insights: To what extent does sustainable architecture play a role in your projects?
Ambika: The natural ambiance of the site influences my designs and I aim to assimilate the design into the surrounding environment. I place a huge emphasis on using natural materials, providing optimal thermal comfort, incorporating ecological paints, energy-saving smart technologies and innovative materials to keep the circular economy in mind. I also focus on sourcing from companies with a “clean” ethos similar to my own.
ET-Insights: Could you offer a sneak peek into your upcoming projects?
Ambika: I am currently working on two luxury residential projects which were initiated in 2019 that are ongoing; one is a multi-floor villa in Mumbai and the second is a sky-rise condominium apartment in Dubai.
In addition to interior design and architecture, one of the unique aspects of my boutique firm ‘Impeccable Imagination’ is representing an international and diverse portfolio of esteemed Contemporary artists. I’m looking forward to the completion of two bespoke, site-specific artworks that were commissioned.
And finally, I design and produce sculptural artworks. I completed “The Dabba Luminaire” which is a series of light art installations, scheduled to launch later this year that presents a juxtaposition of the utilitarian and the esoteric as a means to convey unity and connection. I’m in the process of creating “Lost In The Embrace,” a limited edition series of sculptures that infuse a modernist aesthetic and natural themes. Another project this year is an untitled, silver-plated functional sculpture that has been commissioned to be placed atop a Joseph Walsh ‘Lumenoria’ Low Table.
ET-Insights: How do you see your profession changing after we bounce back from COVID 19?
Ambika: The current pandemic brought about a new awareness which has impacted my way of living, and with it, my design perspective. I can envision myself and my peers rethinking the function of spaces so as to alleviate the sense of isolation and lack of freedom, ensure optimal health and living conditions, as well as manage the scarcity of food and resources in the event an unfortunate scenario were to arise.
It is more relevant now than ever to design innovative spaces that elevate the spirit and are the manifestation of our individual needs and expressions. A concept I’m intrigued by and looking forward to seeing embraced is Ontological design. It is the theory that while we design our world, our world responds to design us. It is a future where our thoughts shape our spaces and design meets consciousness. As the artist Billy Childish said: “It’s all listening to the requirements of the world around you”.
With the advances in smart technology, I foresee a mainstream incorporation of artificial intelligence into the built environment that predicts our ambiance preferences i.e. light, temperature, sound and scent to name a few. A multi-sensory, transportive, high-tech environment that is based on optimized, personal, targeted design.
With regards to health, I’ve been putting more thought towards utilizing anti-microbial materials such as copper-nickel alloy, photocatalytic materials and antimicrobial paints. To prevent food scarcity it would be of immense value to consider including a vegetable potage garden when landscape planning, and a roof or hydroponic culinary garden if the space restricts.
ET-Insights: How ready is our infrastructure to face such pandemics?
Ambika: The fact that the pandemic has spread world-wide, bringing life as we know it to a screeching halt, has highlighted our dependency on a global supply chain of goods and services. Once the infrastructure is interrupted, it has a massive, reverberating impact on the economy all around the world, affecting every industry. As it relates to art, design and architecture, a unique aspect of dealing with a pandemic is that non-essential workers cannot commute or congregate for health reasons. Even after national lockdowns around the world are lifted, I can foresee inevitable delays in the completion of design projects due to production back-logs. I am also concerned for the well-being of small businesses who are an integral part of the design world, during a long economic freeze.
ET-Insights: It is the need of the hour to re-imagine emergency shelters. How are Indian architects contributing to this?
Ambika: All large scale public spaces such as parks, stadiums, recreation centres etc. should be reimagined for both indoor and outdoor use, be available within each community and self-sustain the public it serves depending on the need. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure (MEP) needs to be incorporated so that it may rapidly transform a respective space to service a new demand or function during an emergency of any kind.
Photographer (Beach House Project): Andrew Bradley