Interviewing the young Architect Shone Saju

Young Turks Dated:  July 2, 2014
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Architect: Shone Saju

Meet the young and enthusiastic Architect from Bangalore Ar Shone Saju of Living Edge Architects & Designers. Shone and Dinesh Shanmugam's firm believes in innovation and their creative designs have made the firm one of the most renowned ones in Bangalore. Read on to get insights on his inspiration, beliefs and challenges undertaken by him to become a specialized in his field.

When did you pass out and what are the creative heads like? 

After graduating in the year 2008 and a brief stint of experience of two years, we - Dinesh Shanmugam and Shone Saju Varghese started our firm together after being hired as the architects for the Prayer Hall project. Our firm ‘Living Edge Architects & Designers’ fondly known as LEAD, has since then notably grown with a wide array of projects spanning 3 southern states of India.  We both are vivid travellers and sport enthusiastic which keeps us fit and going.

When did you first start your practice and what kind of projects have you been doing?

We started our practice in the year 2010, with a very ambitious project – The Prayer hall project, in Bangalore. Now we have been lucky to have a full platter of mixed use projects ranging from Hospitality to Institutions, Apartments to Residential villas, Commercial to Interiors and Industrial projects.

Tell us something about your approach to your projects.

Our comprehensive skill set and ability to encompass the functionality of a facility with contemporary styling and brand characterization is what gives us at ‘LEAD’, a collaborative drive to partner with our client. This exercise coupled with optimized design standards, design style and design adaptation, scale, visualization and material allocation are the values which drive us to be client centric and deliver to their special requirements.

What defines your style?

Our work is characterized by clean lines; by an approach to creatively integrate exterior and spaces; by our clear understanding of, and responsiveness to our clients' requirements. 

Which kind of projects do you enjoy the most?

We enjoy working on any project that usually challenges the conceived notions of a typical approach; has a good scope for creatively exploring forms and spaces, with a good team of equally passionate client and contractors to achieve a result which would have explored the horizons of designs and pushed the thought boundaries of all involved.

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Tell us something about your most favourite project.

All projects we did have been equally memorable and precious to us. Every project has raised our adrenaline senses and also helped us strengthen our knowledge pool.

Never the less, the one of the kind Christian ‘Prayer Hall project’ in Bangalore, which we started our career with, will always hold a special space in our heart. This form-based contemporary building is arrived from framing the Holy cross, which is the culmination of the prayer hall in the form of series of portals / frames. The form manipulates daylight in an interesting way. The frames (or) portals are realized with the existence of the daylight.  The facades of the building are intentionally designed with the white theme to represent purity of the building. Structural glazing emphasizes the forms with its reflective sharp contrast to the plain white walls.

The form of the building makes it a landmark building and the challenges to convert the design theme into a reality at the start of our career stretched our thought process beyond boundaries that were left unexplored until then. 

Who/what inspires you and your works?

We take inspiration from everything and everyone. It ranges from the site profile, the design intent, the client’s brief, or even to the basic shapes and forms we regularly see around us in nature.

Do you feel architects and designers should be concerned about environmental sustainability?

Yes, of course. We as designers, have commitment not just to a client’s requirement, but also to the community, and our future generation. What we sow today is what our kids will reap tomorrow.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Initially, as we started out young, it was a challenge to develop in our clients, a sense of confidence that we can deliver a great output, even with little experience. It took us time to break the mould. Luckily for us, there were a few equally motivated and passionate young clients who had shown confidence in us and are now, very happy with the results we delivered.

What drives you?

We are usually driven by the passion for what we do, the client’s happiness, the pleasure of team work and the joy of creating an environment friendly, thoughtfully crafted liveable space.

Your personal favourites when you sit for sketching designs!!

Our initial concepts and directions are an outcome of healthy debates, discussions and strategic planning. We don’t limit ourselves to a set favourite or design type.

Any words of wisdom for start ups..

Every idea has a potential to be developed into a great design. So follow one’s instincts and strive for uniqueness without being bogged down by some preconceived idea or fear.

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