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Architects Ranit Maiti and Subhrajit G. MitraBy Madhumita Chakravarti
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Today we feature, young architects Ranit and Subhrajit from Kolkata who are making waves throughout the country for their exceptional design skills. Subhrajit.G.Mitra and Ranit Maiti completed their Bachelor degree in architecture (2006) and Masters degree in Urban Design (2008) from Jadavpur University. They founded their architecture consultancy firm Square Consultancy Services in September 2008. Since then, they have won numerous awards and accolades including IIID, IA&B young designer, AICA. Ranit Maiti is also a visiting faculty of the Department of architecture, Jadavpur University. Subhrajit G. Mitra is currently the secretary of the Jadavpur University Alumni Association of Architecture Department (JUAAAD).
Tell us something about the people behind the architects.
We both graduated with B. Arch from Jadavpur University, completed our Masters in urban design with the same and started our firm together in 2008. Years of friendship and professional practice have mostly ironed out any major differences between us, so much so, that we feel sometimes we can use a third opinion sometime. Of course personally we differ as individuals but to run a partnership firm successfully we needed to have similar value system and that's what matters.
What's your source of Inspiration?
Building shelter is a very deep rooted instinct of humanity. As such it is more than usual to get inspiration from anything and everything a human mind can conceive. In the early days when we were drafted in the course our professor told us to read literature, watch films, visit exhibitions, appreciate art and music other than merely studying architecture because it is important to nurture a creative mind. Inspirations will flow only if one is receptive to the richness of human life and culture.
Could you elaborate on your design philosophy?
The difference between creativity and design is; the latter serves a purpose. Always. We can think of usflying in air like a bird, that's a creative mind. When we build an aeroplane to fly, that becomes a design. So while we want to be creative and innovative we want to ensure it serves a purpose; functional, structural or even aesthetic.
What Defines Your Style?
We have been working on this for a while. We realize that a design style actually emerges after you do your projects rather than as a preset parameter. We take projects on face value, taking into account their ground realities and challenges and then work bottom up. And after all these years, having done many apparently unrelated projects, from vernacular to eclectic we are sure some intelligent mind will be able to identify the patterns and idiosyncrasies associated with a "Square design". For us, we live by the style our project demands (as per our understanding ) and we are very happy for now.
Tell Us Something about your Most Favorite Project?
It is difficult to earmark any one in particular. Every project has its own story, much like film making and involves lots of creativity, discussions, management and executive decisions. In the process you encounter lots of stuff which you like about. Of
Who/What Inspires you and your Works?
People. Precisely. Any architecture is ultimately designed for the people. So understanding the culture and life styles of various user groups helps you to design better.
Genre of Projects you Undertake?
We do hotels and restaurants a lot. We have done interesting work for schools and offices as well. We did some show flats for residential complexes and those were fun. Commercial and hospitality projects are basically what we will be concentrating in the next few years.
What has been your Biggest Challenge so Far?
We would say, the design of ballygunje cultural association's Durga Puja Pavilion. This is that kind of project that brings you in connection to thousands of people, different tastes, different sensitivity, all at one place. From the elite intellectuals of the urban society to the simplest of villager who travels miles to see the pavilion, defining an overarching concept was not easy.
What Drives your Design Process?
For us, design process is actually an optimization of various parameters you may call design constraints which actually guide you to arrive at your desired solution. So you have to constantly toggle between a top down and a bottom up iterative approach. Often it is also important to ask the right question.
Which kind of Projects do you Enjoy the Most?
We love doing hospitality projects. We like to think ourselves as designers of built environment and these projects offers us with a dash of creativity and pragmatism. Most of these especially resort types, combine architecture, interior and landscape as wholly knitted. That's our thing.
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