Also known as the 'City of Joy', in Kolkata, SURFACES REPORTER (SR) successfully organised the 13th edition of 'The Talk of Town' in asociation with Amulya Mica. The event was a huge success with almost all the notable names from the architecture and design fraternity of Kolkata registering their presence. While the first panel discussion was on 'Architecture and Culture', the second was on 'Design Shifts Post Pandemic - East Region'. With a participation of more than 100 guests, the event was the first Offline event by SURFACES REPORTER after the pandemic. Here we will talk about some of the salient points discussed during the second talk where eminent names including Rupande Shah, (Principal - Rupande Shah & Associates), Anirban Bhaduri, (Principal Architect and Founding partner of Innate), Amber Chandgothia, (Principal - Amber Creations), Ayan Sen, (Principal - Ayan Sen Architects Urban Designers & Planners), Pooja Bihani, (Founder - Space & Design), PK Palit, (Head-Projects, Amulya Mica) voiced their opinions. Here are the excerpts of the same. To view the entire video, log onto www.surfacesreporter.com
The Shift in mindset after Pandemic
Ar Anirban Bhaduri: A change that we have felt in the past few months is that elderly people or the seniors among us, have started feeling more comfortable in their own dwelling houses. Rather than living in a shared space or condominium, they prefer their own spaces. Social distancing has taken people apart from each other. No one is comfortable about sharing an elevator or staircases in an apartment. But after the pandemic is over, there will be multiple changes in the scenario. Many people are trying to choose personal houses over living in an apartment.
Scope of Work From Home Culture in Architecture and Design
Rupande Shah: With the pandemic, the architects have well adjusted to the work from home scenario. Work from home is not always a great option for architects. They need to be physically present to understand how the project is adding up.
Our job seldom involves single person. It is a collaborative project most of the time. Usually, it is a collaborative project that requires constant team efforts. Physical presence of all the members is always beneficial for the project itself. It will be difficult for some of them to work in a space without being present. A screen does not always help to get the project done. - Rupande Shah Principal, Rupande Shah & Associates, Kolkata
Ventilation for the kitchen and bathroom is extremely important. I have noticed that there are multiple apartments with flaws like less ventilation. Many people are misled into buying these spaces. Proper ventilation, a terrace or verandas should be a compulsion in some buildings. This way the people living in the building get a proper amount of sunlight and air for their good health. - Amber Chandgothia Principal, Amber Creations, Kolkata
Scope for interior design
Pooja Bihani: Architects are space planners. And pandemic is all about maintaining a safe distance. The problem can be solved with the right ideas.
Designing Interactive Public Spaces Post Pandemic
Pooja Bihani: We love our homes. It gives us a sense of personal space. At the urban level, people who can afford, have been going for larger homes. Based on the number of people you have in your family, there should be an equal number of rooms present. When it comes to public spaces, there has been a lot of awareness towards the per square feet idea. Many people are still skeptical about the designs of multiple spaces like clubs, hotels and restaurants. But open spaces are becoming more popular now than it was before.
New Finishes and technologies for better hygiene
P.K Palit: In the pre pandemic designs, there were not much open spaces. However, as the Pandemic ravaged our lives, their is a clear shift towards open spaces. In offices and other areas, there is always an increased need for pollution and bacteria free air. Here is the need for good quality laminates which are antibacterial and promotes hygiene by inhibiting the growth of any sort of microbial life. There are a lot of changes in terms of technology when it comes to products.
Changes in by-laws to eMphasisE on a healthy environment
Amber Chandgothia: A lot of importance has been put in the case of health and fitness. Ventilation for the kitchen and bathroom is extremely important. There are multiple apartments with flaws like less ventilation. Many people are misled into buying these spaces. Proper ventilation, a terrace or verandas should be a compulsion in some buildings. This way, people living in the building will get a proper amount of sunlight and air for their good health. A residential building has a sunlight penetration ratio. Based on the space, the necessary changes should be made.
When it comes to public spaces, there has been a lot of awareness towards the per square feet idea. Many people are still skeptical about the designs of multiple spaces like clubs, hotels and restaurants. But open spaces are becoming more popular now, than before. - Pooja Bihani Founder, Spaces & Design, Kolkata
High density building designs, a conflict to the notion of a healthy environment
Ayan Sen: If you see some cities like Tokyo and New York, high rise buildings are very popular. And going high is the best option. A combination of different parameters can help to build a ‘healthy’ building with the right sunlight, artificial ventilation and shaft ratios, followed by the bylaws.
Changes in Tier II and III cities
Ayan Sen: Very little change has been happening in the Tier II & III cities. Large crowds are still gathering without wearing masks even though COVID is still very much present. There is a consciousness among every industry about the evolving nature of the virus. People are slightly more concerned when it comes to healthcare. This has led to multiple changes and market demands being created due to post pandemic changes. And the government has started to make proactive changes around the city.
If you see some cities like Tokyo and New York, high rise buildings are very popular. And going high is the best option. A combination of different parameters can help to build a ‘healthy’ building.- Ayan Sen Principal, Ayan Sen Architects Urban Designers & Planners Kolkata
Social distancing has taken people apart from each other. Many elderly people are uncomfortable about sharing an elevator or staircases in an apartment. Everyone is taking extra care to stay safe. But after the pandemic is over, there will be multiple changes in the scenario. Many people are looking for personal houses over Anirban Bhaduri living in an apartment. - Anirban Bhaduri Architect & Founding Partner, INNATE, Kolkata
Key Design Shifts
- Many people do not prefer sharing spaces. This leads to an increased need for private spaces. Measures are being taken in order to make the community feel safe and inclusive. v Architects often find it difficult to work on projects without being physically present. Hands on experience always makes it easier to improve a project.
- Multiple changes are required at the urban level as people are still skeptical about using open public spaces like parks, clubs, etc.
- With an increased need for hygienic spaces, laminates are a popular finishing material used in interior design. It keeps the environment safe by using their antibacterial features.
- Proper ventilation and a good sunlight-space ratio should be maintained. Dark spaces are always prone to bacterial growth and less sunlight can cause multiple health related problems.
- A solution to the ever-growing need for space is to ‘go high’. Vertical buildings provide us with the right amount of sunlight, ventilation and the much needed space
In the present scenario, the architecture and design industry is all about making designs to survive. The industries are looking for ways to constructively respond to the pandemic. Design and innovations are constantly getting morphed to meet the requirements of the people. The goal is to build a safer community where people can feel comfortable in their own space and stay healthy in order to fight the pandemic.
In the offices and other areas, there is always an increased need for pollution and bacteria free air. Here is where the use of laminates comes along. There are antibacterial laminates and plywood that prevents the growth of bacteria. There are a lot of changes in terms of technology when it comes to products.- P. K. Palit Head-Projects, Amulya Mica